BY RUBEN A. MUJICA
This April something is brewing as Starbucks is changing their popular loyalty program. According to Starbuck’s, gold stars will no longer be accrued by how many times a gold member visits a Starbucks. Instead, the accruement process will depend on how much money a customer spends. This has sparked much controversy across the internet.
In the current system to become a gold member, a customer needs thirty visits to receive special privileges such as free rewards, free refills, and unique deals. Many gold members use their iPhone or Android apps to count the 12 stars they need to attain for their free drink.
One of the changes to come on the new loyalty program is that every dollar spent is worth two stars, but you can only become a gold member after you have acquired 300 stars ($150). In comparison, in the current program, a customer can become a gold member after spending only $58.50. For gold members to receive a free reward, customers need to acquire 125 stars ($62.50).
Although the new program has better incentives for those who spend more money, many customers feel that they have to spend more now to receive the same benefits. The changes are causing much controversy to the brand, and many members are unsatisfied with the changes.
It is clear that Starbucks is heading in a new direction. What is to be seen is if this will be the only change or perhaps the first in a series of many changes. What consumers need to realize is that Starbucks is not the place to go for cheap coffee as there are countless places for that. Consumers need to realize Starbucks sells the experience of using their coffee shops. Even with the changes, the consumers who spend more will get the better end of the deal like in most businesses. In essence, if you want cheap coffee do not go to Starbucks.