Starbucks iOS App Puts Loyalty First With New Rewards Features

samcraig

macrumors P6
Jun 22, 2009
16,610
35,411
USA
Coffee snobs always bash Starbucks, but to me it tastes better than the majority of "artisanal, organic independent roast coffee" you see around. Why? Because it's burnt and smoky and strong, and some people actually prefer that. It's also the same price or cheaper if you just buy drip coffee. I rarely buy lattes.
ANd on the flip side - I like dark roast - but not the burnt taste. To each their own. And I'm not even talking about "foo foo" coffee places like you're referencing.
 

v0lume4

macrumors 68000
Jul 28, 2012
1,779
3,455
I stopped caring about Starbucks rewards years ago when they took away the benefit that actually saved me money.

I don't buy Starbucks often, but the drink that I used to get regularly costed like $4.50 with no rewards (I got half & half milk and a second flavored syrup). Being a rewards member, I got that same drink for $3.50 because milk and syrup upgrades were free. That's a dollar off of a $4.50 coffee!

Anyway. Now that's gone. And I don't visit often enough, so I really don't get any rewards.
 

dwaltwhit

macrumors 6502
Oct 25, 2013
481
597
Tennessee
I like the way sears does their rewards. 2% back in points on every purchase, redeem any time. Special promotions means higher % of points earned. For starbucks, the % might need to be higher, say 5-10 cents on the dollar, but I think its a win win rather than a Herculean feat.
 

orbital~debris

macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2004
830
897
England, UK, Europe
Although the baristas told people to do that in my local. It was annoying though, to be behind someone making three separate transactions to get extra stars.



Don't believe we ever got this, or the free birthday drink, in the UK.
We definitely got the free app/book/song of the week in the UK. They were offered using a code printed on a card rather than in-app. Not sure if they're still available.
 

CaTOAGU

macrumors 6502a
Jul 15, 2008
692
684
Manchester, UK
Company changes "loyalty" program, reduces value of said program to the customer. What a complete shock! None the less it's disappointing and that it's wrapped in language that makes out it's the opposite is as if not more disappointing.
 

stevemiller

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2008
1,709
1,139
Starbucks is putting my health first!

My daily regular coffees would add up to any free drink, so of course I'd be tempted to get the expensive sugary one. Now that will happen far less frequently.

Also, since I broke my ankle, I just make my coffee at home, so the ritual has already been broken.
 

psac

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2009
733
447
I was surprised to see that chart. A Grande latte has 2 shots of expresso. I wonder if they factored that in. I suspect they did not.
They did, it addressed that in text. Small and Tall have 1 shot, Grande and Venti have two shots. It's true, it's a standard misconception that cappuccino/latte drinks have more caffeine than brewed coffee, probably because people still think in the size of an espresso shot, but in reality it's so watered down with milk, that you're not getting much caffeine at all. Brewed coffee does give you more caffeine, and it's not just starbucks.

Putting the facts aside, I still feel like it's hitting me harder (or maybe it's just quicker?) when I have a latte. It may just be a partial placebo effect.
 
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cylack

macrumors regular
Feb 21, 2006
156
124
McAllen, TX
I’ve found that everytime a company modifies its rewards program, its always worse for the majority of its customers. A few customers will benefit and the company highlights this. This change doesn’t help me at all. All I get from there is a simple tall Americano. Now, Starbucks has lost my loyalty and has given me an incentive to try out different coffee shops. The only reason I ever bought coffee from Starbucks was because it was near work. It is pretty average coffee. When I’m at home and on the weekends I far prefer my homemade coffee using my AeroPress.
 

duervo

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2011
2,307
1,032
I get it. Starbucks is a company, and their sole reason for existence is to make money. I can work around the new changes without it affecting my life that much.

However, what kind of annoys me about this change is that I had 11/12 stars before they did it. They doubled those stars so that I now have 22 stars. But now, instead of having to just buy one more Venti coffee, like I usually did, I have to spend $52.00 to get the remaining 103 stars needed for the free coffee I would have gotten tomorrow. You know what that's called? Sour grapes. It will take me a very, very long time to get the sour taste out of my mouth. Until then, my Starbucks days are over.

They should have done something different to handle existing star balances. What they did do basically rendered currently accumulated stars completely worthless. Something like this would have been better, and probably gone a long way to restoring customer good will about this change:

1. Current star balance greater than 8 stars? Convert to free item, reset balance to 0, and start new program.

2. Current star balance greater than 4 stars, and less than 8? Convert existing star balance to half required number of stars needed to get a reward (63 stars.)

3. Current star balance less than 4 stars? Double it, no free item.
 
Last edited:

MrGuder

macrumors 68030
Nov 30, 2012
2,685
1,643
The new program is a joke, for people like me that only go once or twice a week to get a frap or latte it makes no sense. I always liked tracking getting to 12 stars but now it will take much much longer. Now every time I think about going then I think of the new app I will probably not stop and just make my coffee at home.

I bet you 12 stars they re haul this program again before years out. They are going to lose a lot of business.
 

CaTOAGU

macrumors 6502a
Jul 15, 2008
692
684
Manchester, UK
The new program is a joke, for people like me that only go once or twice a week to get a frap or latte it makes no sense. I always liked tracking getting to 12 stars but now it will take much much longer. Now every time I think about going then I think of the new app I will probably not stop and just make my coffee at home.

I bet you 12 stars they re haul this program again before years out. They are going to lose a lot of business.
I agree, it's less of a rewards program and more like a poke in the eye.
 

RichTF

macrumors regular
Nov 11, 2007
199
460
London, UK
Apple doesn't let any developers use the nfc inside the iPhone.
Yeah, it's not so much the direct hardware control that I'm thinking of, more the ability to link my ApplePay-generated "credit card" numbers to my Starbucks account somehow. So every time I use my AppleWatch/iPhone to pay, it would get counted as a Starbucks rewards transaction.

That's technically possible, but I suspect it'd be blocked by Apple's privacy rules at the moment. I'm hoping they find a way to support it when they introduce better integration between ApplePay and company loyalty schemes, which is something that keeps getting rumoured…
 
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bbfc

macrumors 68040
Oct 22, 2011
3,128
678
Newcastle, England.
I spend a small fortune in Starbucks and usually buy more than a coffee, so sometimes I put them through separately to get the extra star.

Thankfully this change hasn't happened in the UK yet and according to a reply on Twitter they have no immediate plans to introduce it. I like the new app though.
 
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jclardy

macrumors 68040
Oct 6, 2008
3,398
1,947
Depends how much they've reduced the promo by, I suppose. If they've doubled the requirement under the guise of changing they way it's done, that could be seines being a bit underhand and devious.

The reward system doesn't seem to have changed in the UK (yet) I still need 15 stars for a freebie.

The move from 'per purchase' to 'proportion of spend' would seem to be a good one though depending on how it's been implemented
Basically the people that are mad are the ones that buy a $1.60 tall coffee and then 12 times later they get a $9 trenta triple shot frap.

The new program means you have to spend $5.20 per visit to get a free drink every 12 visits. The problem with the old program was that if someone went and bought 10 drinks for their coworkers that gave you 1 star. Now that person would get the equivalent of 4-5 stars for that order, depending on what the drinks were.
 
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macfacts

macrumors 68040
Oct 7, 2012
3,511
4,135
Cybertron
Yeah, it's not so much the direct hardware control that I'm thinking of, more the ability to link my ApplePay-generated "credit card" numbers to my Starbucks account somehow. So every time I use my AppleWatch/iPhone to pay, it would get counted as a Starbucks rewards transaction...
Apple doesn't share customer info with stores, how would Starbucks know who to reward?
 

iDuel

macrumors 6502a
Jul 20, 2011
771
94
Greece/USA
Really disappointed by this move. Hopefully Starbucks compensates by offering more bonus star days.

I also agree with an earlier poster when they predicted that Starbucks will adjust the program again by years end.
 

RLRabb

macrumors member
Jan 26, 2011
50
34
I get it. Starbucks is a company, and their sole reason for existence is to make money. I can work around the new changes without it affecting my life that much.

However, what kind of annoys me about this change is that I had 11/12 stars before they did it. They doubled those stars so that I now have 22 stars. But now, instead of having to just buy one more Venti coffee, like I usually did, I have to spend $52.00 to get the remaining 103 stars needed for the free coffee I would have gotten tomorrow. You know what that's called? Sour grapes. It will take me a very, very long time to get the sour taste out of my mouth. Until then, my Starbucks days are over.

They should have done something different to handle existing star balances. What they did do basically rendered currently accumulated stars completely worthless. Something like this would have been better, and probably gone a long way to restoring customer good will about this change:

1. Current star balance greater than 8 stars? Convert to free item, reset balance to 0, and start new program.

2. Current star balance greater than 4 stars, and less than 8? Convert existing star balance to half required number of stars needed to get a reward (63 stars.)

3. Current star balance less than 4 stars? Double it, no free item.
They screwed up your transition over to the new system. You are supposed get 11 stars for each carryover star from the old system, which should have resulted in you now having 121 stars in your account. I went from 10 carryover stars to 110 stars. You should contact them.
 
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duervo

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2011
2,307
1,032
Another nugget that's seemingly overlooked here:

Collected points expire after 6 months. So, better make sure you get to 125 stars to get a freebie within 6 months or else you lose them.

So, there is a minimum amount of business they want from you that's greater than what's implied here. It equates to needing to spend $62.50 at least every 6 months in order for the rewards program to be of any benefit.

Considering I only ever got Venti Pike's all the time, including as my freebie (their food items are crap), once a week or once every two weeks, it's plain to see that this rewards program is not intended for customers like me.