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Starbucks is offering a new way for you to get free stuff.
Starting on April 16, Starbucks Rewards loyalty program is getting a makeover, allowing members to earn Stars – aka rewards points – sooner, and use those points to buy more items than before.
“We know that with loyalty programs, people like to have different options for redeeming,” said Matt Ryan, chief marketing officer at Starbucks. Under the new points earning structure, “depending on what you want, in as little as two or three, visits you can have it.”
Starbucks reworked its Rewards structure to include tiers. Now if you spend $13, on your next visit, you can get an extra espresso shot or dairy substitute free of charge. The updated program also now lets you use points to buy packaged coffee and select merchandise for the first time.
In addition to the redesigned program, Starbucks credit and debit cardholders will be able to accrue points forever with no expiration date.
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Ryan said that cardholders tend to be “the ones who have thousands of Stars in their accounts.” He said that “they want to be able to do is use them in big chunks.” So under the suite of new enhancements, they’ll be able to do that.
Starbucks is also doing away with the elite “Gold” status that you get once you’ve spent $150 or earned 300 points. Under the changes, there’s just one level and customers can begin redeeming Stars immediately after they are earned.
Don’t fret, though. Starbucks says that all gold-level members will keep their Star balances; the points will roll over. Members at the “Welcome” level (under 300 points) will see their balance reset, and they will be immediately eligible to earn Stars toward Rewards.
The coffee chain’s rewards program is widely used. Ryan said that the program makes up about 40 percent of the company’s transactions in the U.S. and it has grown 26 percent in the last two years.
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As of December 2018, there are 16 million active members.
“All the metrics have been ticking up. When we make things better for the customer, it’s better for our business,” Ryan said.
The new Starbucks Rewards structure:
- 25 Stars: Extra espresso shot, dairy substitute or additional flavor
- 50 Stars: Brewed hot coffee, hot tea or select bakery Items
- 150 Stars: Handcrafted drink, hot breakfast or yogurt parfaits
- 200 Stars: Lunch sandwich, protein box or salad
- 400 Stars: Select merchandise or packaged coffee
In April 2016, Starbucks Rewards ditched its one-star-per-transaction model in favor of the revenue-based loyalty program that’s free to join.
To participate, you need to have the Starbucks app on your phone or register at a Starbucks location. Once you’re signed up, you earn two stars for every dollar you spend.
Other perks include a free birthday reward, the ability to order ahead (aka mobile ordering), free in-store refills, access to member events and the ability to pay via the app.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Dalvin Brown on Twitter @Dalvin_Brown
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