Starbucks causes social media stir with changes to rewards program

Starbucks is facing backlash on social media this week, following an announcement on Monday that it is planning on making changes to its customer rewards program. The program, which currently rewards customers for frequent visits, will begin rewarding customers for the amount of money they’ve spent. Starbucks customers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico currently receive one star per visit, and receive a free reward for every 12 stars. Under the proposed changes, Starbucks will receive two stars for every dollar spent, and will require 125 stars for a free reward. Starbucks said that the new rewards program, which will go into effect in April, is a result of customers requesting to be rewarded for buying rounds of coffee. The single Starbucks coffee purchases felt the sting of the proposed changes, taking to Twitter to voice their concerns. Starbucks Senior Vice President Loyalty, Aimee Johnson, responded to the backlash on Starbucks blog on Thursday. “I realise announcing these changes without having the new program available to engage with can create some confusion and make it hard to understand how it will directly affect you,” said Johnson. “I can assure you that we carefully considered every aspect of how to evolve our loyalty program so that we could bring the most value to customers for how often they visit and what they purchase.” Johnson said that Starbucks is working on ways to help customers earn more rewards both within its stores and in its partnership with companies including Lyft and Spotify. She said the company welcomes the engagement and thanked customers for their feedback.

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