During Monday morning’s special conference call to announce changes to the Starbucks My Rewards loyalty program, Starbucks CFO Scott Maw talked about the confidence level that corporate leadership holds moving forward that was instilled by membership.
“Because it’s the No. 1 requested item, it gives us a level of confidence that this is the right change,” Maw explained on Monday. “We did an extensive amount of research and focus groups and surveys around different changes to the program. We’re pretty confident this is the right thing to do. A very small minority will be negatively impacted by this.”
Not long after Monday’s conference call, many upset Starbucks customers took to Twitter and voiced a plethora of disparaging remarks about the announced changes to the loyalty program.
Here is a sample of those remarks:
Dear @Starbucks: time to say, “good-bye.” Your new #StarbucksRewards program doesn’t work for me. It is you, not me
DISLIKE new #StarbucksRewards. Used to feel like a loyal consumer, now I’m reminded I am only a dollar sign
Old program: 12 visits for freebie. New program: 32 visits. So much for being a 22-year customer. Thanks
I will no longer be passing by other coffee shops in search of Starbucks. Time to give your competitors a try
Hey @Starbucks, your new #starbucksrewards is NOT about loyalty anymore, but gouging your loyal customers $62.50 for a free coffee
I’ve been a loyal customer for years. And this new star program is how you reward me?
Wow @Starbucks your new #StarbucksRewards isn't very rewarding. 20 visits v 12 to unlock freebies?
Time to give my @DunkinDonuts app a try
Have been a #StarbucksRewards gold member since 2011. Not impressed w/new changes. Not wise to punish your breadnbutter
Well @Starbucks you just removed the only reason this gold member chose you over competitors
Your biggest mistake was trying to tell ppl they requested the change. No one believes that at all. Lol
I may not be a mathematician, but I know when I’m being screwed. Thanks, but no thanks
“We’re screwing you b/c we know you’re too lazy to do math.” Before: $24/ reward. After: $62.50
Making me spend more to earn loyalty rewards will not make me spend more. Or earn any #loyalty
Hate the new Starbucks rewards program. Am a gold member. Will go much less
New reward program = awful, not looking out for the customer at all, questioning my loyalty greatly as of late
New rewards program doesn't seem consistent with Howard Schultz’ philosophy of taking care of the customer
Before Monday’s announcement, the My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program was based on number of visits. Now, it will be based on how much money customers spend.
Starting in April, in Starbucks throughout the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, the loyalty program will award stars based on the amount of money spent per customer.
Starbucks CFO Scott Maw said during the call that the main reason for the change to the loyalty program (from visit-based to spend-based) is because it was the No. 1-requested change customers wanted.
“We believe that customers, because they earn more, will spend more,” Maw explained on Monday. “It’s really that simple. And that will help with comps. We’ve increased our investment in 1-to-1 marketing and personalization to understand our customers better. That is associated with this program and is an important part of what these changes mean for us.”
Here are some of the key changes planned for the My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program:
Now: 1 Star per visit; April: 2 Stars per $1 spent
Now: 30 Stars to Gold level; April: 300 Stars to Gold level
Now: 12 Stars for a free reward (Gold); April: 125 Stars for a free reward (Gold)
Now: Three levels (Welcome, Green, Gold); April: Green, Gold (plus monthly Double Star Days)
In mid-April, any customer at the Green or Welcome levels will be moved to the Gold Level. Gold members will be given another year of gold membership.

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