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Changes to the Starbucks reward card
Starbucks Reward Card
Member Name: europe-chick
Starbucks Reward Card
Advantages: Gold Level benefits are worthwhile
Disadvantages: not as good as it used to be, you need to frequent Starbucks a lot to make it worthwhile
I've had a Starbucks reward card for quite a few years now, and I have always felt that it was well worth having, you got various freebies and benefits, and the card didn't cost you anything, you just needed to load it up instore or online and then you were good to go.
The way that the Starbucks reward card works however has now changed, unfortunately I don't think that it has changed for the better.
I'll just quickly go over the old benefits first so that you can see the differences.
Once you had registered your reward card online, everyone previously got the same following benefits; your balance was protected if you lost your card, a free tall drink of your choice every time you purchased a bag of ground coffee or a 12 pack of Via, free wi-fi in the coffee shop, free refills on a tall filter coffee, free extras in your drink - these included extra espresso shots, whipped cream, flavoured syrup, and milk choices - you could have any combination of any of the free extras in each drink.
Now however it is a completely different reward system, and perhaps a little complicated, so bear with me.....
You now earn 1 star every time you pay with your registered Starbucks reward card at a participating Starbucks. As you collect stars, you move up to bigger and better benefits.
There are two levels of benefits - green level benefits, and gold level benefits.
The reward card is still free. You just need to load it up either instore or online to then enable you to be able to pay for your purchase using your card.
Green level - everyone starts off here with their new reward card.
Green level benefits are; a free tall drink of your choice every 15 stars.
That is it, nothing else! This seems a bit skinny to me, other coffee shops eg Cafe Nero give you every 10th drink free. Starbucks is now every 16th!
Gold Level - collect 50 stars within a year, and you get to Gold Level. To keep your Gold Level status you then have to continue to collect 50 stars each year, otherwise you will drop back down to Green Level the following year.
Gold Level benefits are; you get the Green Level reward of a free tall drink of your choice every 15 stars, plus: free extra espresso shots, free flavoured syrups, free milk choices, free whipped cream. You can still have any combination of any of the free extras in each drink.
So basically you have to be Gold Level now to get most of the benefits that Starbucks gave to everybody before under the old reward card system. That is on average one trip per week to Starbucks, that seems quite excessive to me.
The two benefits that have been taken away completely are the free tall drink when you purchased a bag of ground coffee or a 12 pack of Via, and the free tall filter coffee refills. The free wi-fi doesn't really apply anymore anyway as Starbucks coffee shops now have free wi-fi for all customers anyway. The benefit that has stayed for both levels is the protected balance should you lose your card, so long as your card is registered online.
One thing that Starbucks have done upon the launch of the new rewards scheme however was to give all current members with a registered reward card before 4th January automatic Gold Level status, but with zero stars. To then keep the Gold Level benefits you then have to collect 50 stars within 12 months of the launch day - 5th January 2012. Otherwise you will drop back down to Green level on the 5th January 2013.
As I do have the Gold Level status untill next January I will continue to load and use my Starbucks card, I'm actually not sure that I make 50 visits per year, so I suspect that next year I will drop down to Green Level. The only benefit at Green Level doesn't really seem worth while loading and using my card for, I mean come on, every 16th drink free - and only a tall drink at that, even if you've bought 15 venti drinks to get it!
Summary: not as good as it used to be, you need to frequent Starbucks a lot to make it worthwhile
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