Why I’m done with Starbucks

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]tarbucks, why you gotta play me like this? I thought we had something special. Now you’re throwing away what we had and are replacing it with something awful.

The general principles of your Rewards system remain the same — register a Starbucks card, spend money, get stars in return, and use stars to redeem free rewards. But your new system you’re rolling is ridiculous compared to your current one.

First, instead of three levels in the Rewards system (Welcome, Green, and Gold), the new system will only have two (Green and Gold). Instead of beginning in the Welcome level and progressing to the Green after attaining five Stars, everyone is automatically given Green status. To progress to Gold in the current system, it only takes 30 Stars. In the new system, it takes 300.

The way to earn Stars has changed, as well. Instead of earning one Star per transaction, the new system awards two Stars per dollar spent (or one Star per fifty-cents spent). To redeem these Stars for rewards, the 300-Star Gold level must first be achieved. After this, for every 125 stars collected, a person obtains one free reward.

Simply put, you’re fucking over me and tons of other tight-budget students with your new and “improved” Rewards system. Please tell me it’s just a dream, because I cannot jump from 30-star to a 300-star Gold status, along with all this other ‘rewards’ baggage.

Maybe this is where we part ways, my old friend.

Sure, you’re trying to soften the blow by offering monthly ‘double Stars’ days, but when you already send me email-offers for extra Stars in the current rewards system, I can’t help but feel cheated because a Star goes a lot farther right now than it will in April when you officially introduce your revised program.

How about this — after collecting 125 Stars, I get a share in your company.

One hundred twenty-five stars for a free drink? That’s a whopping $62.50 to get those stars! And you only get that free one once you’re a Gold-level customer, which requires 300 stars on top of that.

And I’m sure you’re thinking that I should just take my coffee business elsewhere. You’d be losing out on couple hundred bucks a year — a mere drop in the bucket for you. But multiply that $200 by every other student who can find more buying power at another coffee chain and maybe you’ll understand why this is such a crap deal for us and for you.

Don’t tell me it’s because you can’t afford to keep the system as is, Starbucks. Don’t lie to me on top of breaking us apart. If you can afford to pay Howard Schultz, your CEO, $149.8 million in 2013, I think you can afford any money you’d be ‘losing’ without your new program.

So how about this — with every purchase, I collect my Rewards Stars according to your ridiculous new ratios, and after collecting 125 I get a share in your company (valued at about $78 CDN at time of publication). That would make this a win in my book. Or, you know, instead of screwing yourself over by giving me more in stock than it would cost you to just keep things the way they are, you could just forget about this entire bad idea.

Think about it: all the reprinting costs, new marketing, and media strategies, the blowback from people like me who’ve crunched the numbers and decidedly deemed that this is whole ordeal is crap — you could avoid all of this. Personally, I believe spending less money for better return is always preferable. Especially when things like post-secondary education cost money.

It was good while it lasted, mi amore, but now you’ve lost me forever. Farewell, Starbucks.


  1. I hope you realize that the rewards program is a privilege and not a right. As a self-proclaimed “tight-budget student,” maybe you shouldn’t be spending your money at Starbucks in the first place instead of blaming the company for trying to take more of your money. Maybe if you had actually used your brain to look at the rewards program you would realize that this is being implemented to make the program more efficient, not to take more of your money. As a Starbucks employee you wouldn’t believe the amount of time spent on customers who ask for separate transactions to get those extra stars. Maybe instead of acting like you’re entitled to your rewards, you should learn how to brew your own coffee if money is really the underlying issue of why you’re complaining about this new program.

  2. Since I only drink venti size drinks. I pay on average 5 dollars. I would be spending the same amount of money. With the current system, even if I add other drinks that is one star and I would need to pay more to just get stars. Or piss of the barista and separate all orders. With the new system, I would get stars for the price of my purchase and not per purchase. So this new system helps with those who get more.

    With the current system, I would admit at times I bought the cheapest drink on the menu just to get stars. But I realize I was coming back later in the day just to get another drink. I looked at what it cost per drink by size and realize that I would spend a bit less if I got the larger (venti size).

    Yes its sad for those who live on a small budget. But this is now helping those who buy multiple drinks and food get the stars they deserve. If you can get the Starbucks Coffee Traveler once a month, you would reach your the 300 points in one year. And its only 12.95 plus tax and all. And a trick is have friends who also drink coffee to chip in, get enough cups. Split the cost to get it, you could earn points on your card. You pay less, get the points and be drinking coffee with friends. Wow! That is something,