Arguably, the most generous coffee chain rewards program is set to devalue starting April 16, 2019.  Starbucks Rewards program is marketing these changes as ‘more choice and flexibility’, but for all intents and purposes its a devaluation. In the current system, only Gold members were eligible to redeem food and drinks for 125 stars. In the new system however, current green and new members will be able to redeem Stars for Rewards right away. About the only good news here.

Starbucks Rewards Program – What’s Changing?

  • Current ‘Green’ and new members will be able to redeem Stars for Rewards right away (currently a Gold level-only benefit)
  • You will no longer be able to buy the “most expensive item” on the food/drink menu for 125 stars
  • Starting April 16, 2019, Starbucks will introduce a new ‘redemption chart’; While a simple coffee or bakery item will now cost only 50 stars, the coveted sandwiches and lunch boxes will now be 200 stars!
Starbucks Rewards Program

Source: Starbucks

You can read about all the changes in the ‘Coming Soon’ section here.

Starbucks Rewards Program – What remains the same?

  • Collect 2 stars per $1, when you pay with registered gift card or the app
  • Get ahead with bonus stars, games, and in app offers
  • Get twice the number of stars on Double Star Day

Take Away

Cant say I am surprised. The Starbucks Rewards program has been generous for long enough and most redemptions (if not all) were on the highest ticket items at the store. Why would you use 125 stars on a $2 coffee when you could get a $10 sandwich for the same. The changes make the smaller redemption items more appealing now. However, if you are a Starbucks regular, the handcrafted drinks (20% increase), sandwiches and protein boxes (60% increase) are set to become more expensive  – a big devaluation.

While the new program does offer limited flexibility at the lower end, the sweet spot is now sour. Real Sour. Oh well, we have a few more weeks to empty our Star accounts for all the salads and sandwiches.