[Final Day To Redeem Rewards Before Devaluation] Starbucks Devaluing Their Rewards Program, Yet Again

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Update, 2/12/23: Today is the final day to redeem rewards before tomorrow’s devaluation. The Wall Street Journal cites DansDeals for calculating just how much Starbucks has devalued their rewards in the past 8 years.

Update, 12/28/22: Starbucks will be devaluing their rewards program yet again. Effective 2/13/23, you’ll need 100 stars for a hot or iced brewed coffee, a 100% increase from the current 50 stars. Handcrafted beverages like lattes will climb from 150 stars to 200 stars. Lunch items will go up from 200 to 300 stars.

That means the cost of a free latte has gone up from $12 in 2015, to $62.50 in 2016, to $75 in 2019, and now up to $100 in 2023.

How long will it be until Starbucks learns from their new partner, Delta, in just removing the award chart and letting you know the price only when you go to pay so that they no longer have to announce these devaluations in advance?

They can also copy Delta in announcing that their lounges are not a WeWork and customers shouldn’t make themselves comfortable for too long…

Originally posted on 3/20/19:

Starbucks used to have a fantastic rewards program. Green level members got free substitutions and additions like Soy Milk and Syrup. Gold level members got a free drink for every 12 stars and every purchase got a star, even if the purchase was just $1.

On 4/12/16 they took out a page out of airline mileage devaluation by moving from a frequent visitor star earning program to a revenue based star earning program. They started requiring 125 stars for a free drink, which in the new program meant that you would need to spend $62.50 for a free drink after you earned Gold status.

On 4/16/19 Starbucks will devalue yet again.

A free drink will go up from 125 to 150 stars, which means you’ll need to spend $75 to get a free handcrafted drink.

Starbucks is spinning this as an improvement as you can now also use 25 stars for each substitution and addition like Soy Milk and Syrup (which used to be free in the last version of the program), 50 stars for brewed hot coffee, 200 stars for a lunch item, or 400 stars for a bag of coffee or coffee cup.

Yes, if you spend $200 at Starbucks you’ll be rewarded with a cup.

Starbucks is also getting rid of elite tiers, though they have been giving those away for free in recent years. It’s downright puzzling why they wouldn’t want to create more meaningful elite tiers and benefits to generate more marginal spending from their most loyal customers.

Once again this just confirms that the three certainties in life are death, taxes, and reward program devaluations. Which is why I earn and burn and try to save points in bank programs rather than individual airlines and hotels.

HT: Yonah, via DDF

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49 Comments On "[Final Day To Redeem Rewards Before Devaluation] Starbucks Devaluing Their Rewards Program, Yet Again"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

CLE Rocks

Maybe coffee bean will start up a rewards program. Either way these places are such a rip off.


Coffee bean does have one


Spend $50 and get a free drink. They have 3 tiers. With the top 2, it’s spend $40 and get a free drink. Costco has their gift cards where you get $100 worth for $80.


Its is an improvement for those of us that likes plain regular coffee. Will be much easier to get my free cup.


I think I agree with Paron that this seems like an improvement for people like me that just get regular coffee and have no use for the more expensive drinks. This being said, if someone presents a good counter point to show this is not an improvement for those of us just drinking plain coffee, I am prepared to change my mind.


How is this an improvement for anyone?


If you really like plain coffee you wouldn’t agree to just be be ripped off by Starbucks…


Dan1 makes an interesting point. I try to minimize how “ripped off” I am getting by by buying Starbucks credit on discount through various offers such as when Amex is giving $15 back on $60 through use of 1 or more Amex points and other things like this. I have managed to average purchasing Starbucks credit at around a 25% discount through these methods. I then add onto this the effective rebate I am getting with their rewards program and at least I am not paying their retail prices for cups of coffee albeit still probably not the best deal. The other reason I unfortunately have to, “agree to be ripped off,” is because getting coffee at Starbucks at my work is THE standard networking opportunity. While I can understand people that might criticize this or say, “just don’t get anything”, this sometimes isn’t really a socially acceptable option and missing out on connecting with people over Starbuck coffee could carry other costs. Thanks for all this great insight and opinions, I have found it very helpful. And what a great website this is!


Will people with few 125 stars be grandfathered or will it take 150 for drink


It wasn’t clear, but it seems to me that you would keep the points, but not the rewards


Dan, did you really need to remind us of coffee on Taanis Esther?


Not a problem here. Stopped going to Starbucks after having real coffee from a local shop. Their coffee is GARBAGE. They cater to basic sheeple. Save your money folks.


Totally agree


Does the local coffee shop you found offer free refills for tea and coffee while I work there 11 hours a day?


If you buy a grande coffee for about $2.50, you get 5 stars. That means it only takes 10 purchases to get a coffee, which is an improvement.

If you buy a crafted drink for $5, you get 10 stars, so you now need 15 drinks to get a free one, instead of 12.5.

Overall, this change will benefit some purchasers.


Starbucks is such crap, always tastes burnt!


Time to switch to dunkin donuts!


Basics! Dunkin donuts is much better quality.


The brewed coffee one is great!


Bit of a bold move to make after marketing their credit card by saying you get 2500 starbucks stars, which equals 20 food or beverage items, after spending $500.


I’ve already started moving over to Coffee Bean. As I realize my cost per drink increase (Thank you Cold Brew) I find myself frequenting CB more often


My local news did a story on this yesterday, spinned as an improvement to the program.


The real upside is that the points do not expire.

So for someone like me they upgraded the program


Why are people still buying “coffee” from starbucks? I am so happy making real coffee(not chocolate coffee flavored) in my coffee maker at home.


Why are people still buying sandwiches, soup, fruit cups, bottled water from a vendor’s stand? Same reason, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong — I absolutely agree with you! I have my own espresso machine and use premium coffee and probably pay 10 cents per cup and the coffee is ten times better than the burnt Starbucks roast.


Meh. Actually, 50 stars for a coffee is not a bad deal comparatively. Regardless, it is a rewards program built to keep you coming back. They also use gamification to keep people coming on the regular to earn points.

Do yourself a favor.

Buy a DeLonghi espresso machine and learn how to pull a good shot. Your life will change.

A woke coffee drinker.


DeLonghi espresso machine + Lavazza coffee = 10-15 cents a cup! I love mine!


Do they still offer free refills? My local store honored that for their nitro brew ( one of the only things I actually enjoy at Starbucks)


Wouldn’t it make money sense to just download the McDonald’s app, and then for very 5 McAfe drinks – you receive one free.

Some McDonald’s have any size coffee for a $1.00, so for $5.00 plus tax, after purchasing 5 coffees, I get a free coffee or any McAfe drink including frappes, smoothies or lattes!

I get it. Not all McDonald’s have $1.00 any size coffee. In the same city where I live, the large coffee is $2.00.

From my view, the McDonald’s app has different deals and the buy 5 get 1 free McAfe.

To me – this is cheaper than Starbucks.



One issue I have with this is that the timing sucks – I usually save rewards to use at the airport flying for pesach – Airport prices are usually higher, and flying with the family, it’s the increase * 5! The deal changes the monday before Pesach.

As a longtime starbucks drinker, I try to take advantage of their bonus offers – for example, buying on double points day, finishing a challenge for bonus points, and/or playing one of their quarterly games all give you extra points. Even if these don’t go away, they’re devalued as well. (i.e. 75 bonus points is now 50% of a drink instead of 60%).

I also try to use my rewards in places where starbucks costs more – i.e. airports or highway rest stops


Can I redeem for 2 drinks at the same time?



Shaul Yaakov Morrison

I have 135 stars and took a screenshot showing me that I have 1 reward. Hopefully they will allow me to keep the banked reward and if they don’t, I will send it to customer service.

Moshe G

Not sure if this was a glitch or part of the new system, but this morning I bought a venti brewed coffee and added 2 shots (should cost $4.85), and I applied 50 stars to pay for the brewed coffee part, expecting to pay for the shots, but the whole thing was free.


There are a lot of hacks with brewed coffee or cafe misto where you get more than just a basic cup of coffee for 50 stars. For example, Starbucks wouldn’t let you use 50 stars for ICED Coffee. So you get a Grande Brewed coffee for 50 stars, and then a venti cup of ice – voila.


Starbucks bonus point offers are getting ridiculous with buying 5 premium drinks for 50 points n 5 days. I think it’s the new man n charge. I may buy one thing out of my usual but a frap, tea, latte, cold brew all for 50 stars n 4 days. I will just drink Starbucks at the house. Thanks but no thanks

Darrell Martinsen

This is a HUGE devaluation! I wonder if customers will veto with their wallets


Thankfully, I kicked my daily Starbucks habit a while ago. Now when I do go, I try to take advantage of offers and double-star days. (I.e if I buy a $5 drink on double star day is 20 stars). I also use the 50 points ordering hacks to get a brewed cafe misto with alternate milks and/or syrup for 50 points as well.

In general, I try to save my points for when I travel, as Starbucks tends to have a 20% premium in the airports.


Years ago they ‘upgraded’ the Starbucks in Riverdale NY with these hard wooden chairs.

I explained to the manager that these chairs are uncomfortable making it hard to stay in the store (to study, etc)

He replied “exactly the point”.

I think Delta is learning from Starbucks and not the reverse


Dan – free drinks @ 7-Eleven through year end!

Mordy Nissel

Where did u see this? Didn’t come up on the app for me…


I read the new terms that will be effective in February 2023 and it is indeed a big devaluation BUT:

1) the free refil remains in place
2) you will still get stars for bringing your own cup

The bad news is that customizations will cost 25 stars, if I understood correctly.

Considering the prices rising and the stars devaluation I may default to Matto (in NY, that is kosher) or Dunkin Donuts. Gregory’s has good coffee, but it’s expensive.


I saw that today. I am so disappointed in them. I don’t think I’ve been there since the last time they devalued, except for my birthday.


One correction – iced coffee is actually decreasing from 150 to 100. Will even be cheaper than the previous 125 price.


Snack seems to be going down from 150 to 100


I’ve emailed the CFO about this, and she replied! Rachel Ruggeri (rachel.ruggeri@starbucks.com). Perhaps if more people reach out they will reconsider this terrible direction/decision.

I told her “devaluing the rewards program is really a blow to your most frequent/loyal customers”