Starbucks “Enhances” Rewards Program

Uh oh. Today, I got an email from Starbucks about the rewards program. The headline, of course, is a positive one. More choices for rewards, starting April 16. And what could be bad about more choices?

More Rewards, Less Value

Starbucks rewards

New rewards, higher prices

The problem with these “enhancements” are that they are anything but. Because while you now have more choices, they will cost you more.

Starbucks has clearly been learning from the airlines. They’re moving from a flat redemption price of 125 for any reward, prices are now on a sliding scale. Extra shot? Sure, it should be about 25 points. But the best value had always been from the sandwiches, boxes and drinks. They’ve increased the price of breakfast sandwiches, oatmeals and drinks 20% to 150 stars, and boxes or lunch sandwiches are up 60% to 200 stars. Ouch.

Of course, a sliding scale makes sense. It should cost more for a more expensive product. But sadly, it also represents the continued devaluation of one of the most popular loyalty programs in the world.

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