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Starbucks Rewards Program Changes Coming Soon (Redeem Rewards Faster)

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The Starbucks Rewards program is changing!

Ready to use your Starbucks rewards even faster? Starbucks will soon be rolling out their NEW rewards system and you will no longer be required to reach Gold Level before you qualify to redeem!

Currently, Starbucks Rewards Members start at Green level and earn 2 stars per $1 spent. After earning 300 stars in 12 months to qualify for Gold Level, members would still need to earn an additional 125 stars to redeem a reward. That’s a whopping 425 stars before ever getting your first reward.

starbucks rewards

With the new rewards system, Starbucks Rewards Members will still earn 2 stars for every $1 spent, however you will now be able to redeem your points at different levels for various items! While this does lower the amount needed to redeem for a plain coffee, you will now need MORE stars for handcrafted beverages.

  • Redeem 25 Stars – Add an extra shot, flavor, or soy milk to your drink for free (up to $1 off beverage price)
  • Redeem 50 Stars – Get any size hot brewed coffee, hot tea, or bakery item for free
  • Redeem 150 Stars – Get any handcrafted beverage or breakfast item for free
  • Redeem 200 Stars – Get a lunch sandwich, salad or protein box for free
  • Redeem 400 Stars – Get packaged coffee or a single merchandise item for free (up to $20 value)

All other Starbucks Rewards items like free in-store brewed coffee or tea refills, and birthday freebies will still be available as well!

Note that there is not a set launch date for the new Rewards System, but it is projected for Spring 2019.

Are you excited for these changes?
Join The Discussion

Comments 64

  1. J

    I like the 400 star level! Can be fairly easy to reach if playing games or do star dashes!

  2. Tia in FL

    Not excited. Wasn’t there always some sort of promo to get gold w/o the purchases? I didn’t know the green to gold was still a thing.

    • Rebecca

      Yeah, same here.

  3. Charlotte

    Not excited about the change. I always redeem 125 stars for a coffee so just takes longer to get one now. Not really a good news for people like me.

    • ecroston

      But a plain coffee will only be 50 stars now… or 150 for something fancy. Only 25 more stars than it is right now OR 75 stars cheaper for a regular coffee.

      I’m excited! That 400 star level is really cool and 50 stars for a free coffee or bakery item is great. I usually use my stars for $7 lattes or protein boxes so I’ll just be more cognizant now. It’s easy to earn additional stars with the app offers, email offers, surveys, and games. I feel like every time I go to Sbux, I get an email the next day to take a super quick survey for 10 stars; it adds up!

  4. Rebecca

    Is anyone really at the green level? No, not excited. So 150 stars instead of 125 for free drink of your choice. I don’t care about the other levels.

    • Marie

      Same. 🙁

    • AilineAZ


    • Danielle

      I am in the green level. 🙁

  5. Holly Jones

    As someone who can’t really drink a lot of the sugary fancy drinks, I’m excited about the new changes because I’ll now be able to redeem my stars for things I do use (sugar-free flavored shots, almond milk, regular coffee). I’ve typically been paying for my own coffees and redeeming stars for friends or family to have the fun drinks.

    I’ve actually accidentally had stars expire before because I didn’t want to “waste” 125 stars on the beverages I drink.

    • Rebecca

      If the sugar-free syrups are what you mean, there’s no upcharge for those anyway.

      • S. Chalmers

        They always charge me to add SF Syrup 😞

      • Patty

        There is. I think it’s 50 cents or 75 cents.

      • Holly

        Yes, sorry, sugar-free syrups (Cinnamon Dolce, specifically), and I’m always charged $0.50 to add them.

      • Daniela

        They charge extra for all flavors, unless you are getting a cinnamon dolce latte but the up charge is blended in the price.

      • Rebecca

        Hmm, I add the SF vanilla to my iced matcha & cold brew iced coffee for no charge. I use the app so I see the charge for everything I add(shots, milk etc). Unless they’ve changed it in literally the last couple days, maybe it varies by location? Very weird. I know if I add a sauce(like caramel), I do get charged for that.

        • Rebecca

          Played around with the app, curious lol. Added drinks to my cart with and without syrups added to compare…I get no extra charge for any of the syrups for iced matcha, iced coffee or cold brew(which is all I drink). Out of curiosity, tried a frappacino & it did add 50¢(no matter how many pumps or syrups I added). Sauce adds 60¢. So may depend on drink and maybe also location? Not sure what you guys are drinking.

          • Holly Jones

            My typical drink is a Venti hot blonde roast coffee, add 3 pumps sugar free cinnamon dolce syrup, 2 pumps sugar free vanilla syrup, stevia, and half and half.

            The sugar free cinnamon dolce costs $0.50, but everything else (including the vanilla syrup) is included in the price of the coffee. I’ve always assumed that the “first” flavor of syrup costs $0.50, which is why the vanilla is free.

            Just tested in the app by taking out the cinnamon dolce syrup and, yep, same price. $0.50 for the vanilla syrup.

        • Tracee

          If you are gold level it should not charge for sf.

          • Holly

            I’ve been gold for about six years. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  6. Jen

    There wouldn’t be a change unless it ultimately benefitted them… my free drink is 25 more stars away 🙁 I don’t think it’ll impact my frequency that much though. Still just a treat here and there.

  7. Gigi

    Excited about the 400 star level but not the fact that it’ll take 25 additional stars to get a free beverage (I never drink regular coffee).

  8. Steph

    Love this! Their bakery items are a sweet treat for me and will only be 50 points – Score!

  9. fuzzymitten

    You only have the day of your birthday to redeem the birthday reward now.

    • Jennifer McCarthy

      I feel like it’s been that way for a while. For my birthday last year (in July), I only had the day of to redeem.

    • Susie

      One day for your birthday drink has been for a couple years and I have sadly forgotten to use it since they changed to the 1 day use. I hope they change it back to a week.

    • jlg

      They’ve been saying that for awhile now (months if not years), but I’m almost certain that it is good 2-4 days…once it is loaded to your card & you can see it in the app, the expiration date is a couple days after your bday.

      • jess

        Up until a couple years ago it was good for a week plus. Then they changed it to 3ish days. As of March 2018, it was changed to day of only. I just had my birthday in February and it was day of only.

  10. Jessie

    Love the 400 level and the 50 stars for a regular brewed coffee. I’m happy with this change.

  11. Sara

    I called customer service after reading this post. The rep talked to a supervisor when I asked if the 7 rewards I have already earned will be recalculated when these changes go into effect. The rep said that every account would be reset, meaning stars would be taken away even if they hadn’t expired. She also said it was subject to change.

    If that is true, it is just wrong. I did what I needed to do to earn the stars, so they shouldn’t be taken away. Smoothie King recently devalued their program by 50 – 75%, but they didn’t take accumulated points away. No rewards program that I can think of has zeroed out accounts when the program was revamped.

    • Lisa

      So make sure you use your rewards before they change it!

      • Sara

        Thry haven’t given a specific date, so I don’t know how long I have to use them. Also, I shouldn’t have to use them now. I should be able to use the rewards I already earned by their original expiration dates.
        Companies shouldn’t take already earned points and rewards away when changing their reward programs.

        • Holly

          I just saw on another reputable site that the changes are set to go live April 16th.

          • Laura

            It’s on their website and in your inbox in the app – April 16th

            No – they aren’t taking your stars away – just resetting the rewards. So if you have a reward in your acct – it will show as 0 – so you can choose how to redeem your stars

            This is a great change! No more needing to get to gold status

    • Rebecca

      That makes zero sense, you still earn points at the same rate so why would they take any away? Hopefully that’s not the case.

      • Holly Jones

        Whoa, no, that makes zero sense and I would be HIGHLY surprised if that’s the case, especially as they just finished the hopscotch promotion, which gave people a lot of stars.

        Plus there’s the ongoing promotion to sign up for the Chase Starbucks Card. I doubt they would revoke those people’s stars due to a program change (because it’s a LOT of stars).

        They’ve never revoked stars in the past when they’ve changed the program, and the last round of changes were far more significant than this.

    • C

      Existing stars will remain on your account when the program is launched. If you currently have 2000 stars, you’ll have 2000 stars when the new program launches, but be able to use them for different items.

      • Sara

        The problem I have with this is the app currently shows I have 7 rewards. Once the changes go into effect, the app will presumably show I have 5 rewards + 125 stars. It should still show 7 rewards because I earned them under the current rules. The problem is that the rewards aren’t separate from the stars. You don’t redeem a reward credit. You redeem stars. So I did what I needed to do to earn 7 “rewards”, and now two of them will be taken away.

        I was planning on using the 1st reward this month, 2nd in April, 3rd and 4th in May, 5th in July, 6th before a concert in New Orleans in August, and 7th at Disney World in September. Now I have two options: give myself diabetes by using all 7 rewards in the next week or so(if I’m lucky) or lose 20% of the value of 750 stars. I shouldn’t have to make that choice.

        I don’t drink any form of coffee. I only get their Crème Frappuccinos. I got other non-coffee items for the hopscotch game, but I would never redeem for a scone or hot chocolate. That would be a poor use of 125 stars.

        • K

          Well a scone would be 50 stars. So the 875 (125 x 7) stars you have could be applied to 17 bakery items. Is there anything in the pastry case that you enjoy? Any of the morning loaves, croissants or cookies?

          • Sara

            A coffee cake slice is $3.23 after tax and $0.0646 per star. A venti Strawberry Crème Frappuccino with stuff added to it is $9.19 after tax and $0.613 per star. While the Frappuccino is worth slightly less per star, it is bigger than a slice of coffee cake. It is $0.70 roundtrip on the bus to get to my preferred Starbucks, so bakery items could cost $11.90 in bus fare vs $4.90 in bus fare for Frappuccinos. I also don’t want 17 slices of coffee cake.

            • Sara


              I desperately need an edit button.

        • Holly

          If you go in the app, where it shows your rewards at the top (for example, mine has 58/125 to earn the next reward, then it says 7 rewards):

          Click details.

          At the bottom you will also see your total star balance. For example, mine says 933.0. Presumably this balance, not “7 rewards,” will carry over when the program changes.

          Your “stars” are still there, they’re just giving you a conversion estimate of your reward progress.

  12. Another Shelly

    I love this. I only drink brewed coffee and it has always seemed wasteful to redeem 125 stars on a brewed coffee. That means I’ll get 2 and a half coffees for my 125 stars now. Awesome.

  13. Peaches

    I gave up on Starbucks when they discontinued the SF peppermint flavoring that I was able to purchase by the bottle. I don’t drink coffee and even if I did there are no Starbucks shops within my usual range of travel throughout the week. I find I now prefer my dark cocoa straight from my keurig. Those stars were addictive though and the tug to collect them was hard to resist!

  14. E

    Nope, not excited. They reduced the number of stars for packaged coffee from 10 to 5 when they switched to receipts only submission. And now adding another 25 stars to the amount needed for a frappe is not cool. I currently have two rewards— guess I need to use them up!

  15. Jamie46178

    Yay! This is great for those times when you don’t have 125 points and your points are expiring soon : just redeem 50 so you don’t lose your points! I do like their handcrafted espresso drinks, however I know they aren’t good for me, and I do like their drip coffee too, so this makes the decision easy for me : I’d rather have 3 drip coffees for 150 points than one handcrafted drink for 150.

    • Dana


    • Susie

      I agree because I have lost many points by them expiring!

  16. Melissa Rice

    How can I become a rewards member?

    • Liza (Hip Sidekick)

      Hi Melissa! Just follow any of the links in the post and click “Join Now” to sign up! Hope that helps!

  17. Patty

    We joke in our house that after 300 points you get a free water. 👏👏 for a company that makes so much money they are very stingy with rewarding repeat customers.

    • jlg

      Yes in fact I created a separate account under my boyfriend’s name, & we rarely use it…he gets BOGO specials emailed to him regularly. I use my acct to buy $15+ worth of drinks DAILY & never get BOGO specials. If you aren’t buying from them, they jump through hoops trying to get you back in there. Guess they don’t have a need to keep loyal customers…they know they already have us hooked LOL.

  18. Ashley

    How many stars would be needed to redeem something from the ‘snacks & sweets’ section? I always use 125 pts to redeem beef jerky in that section, which is $6.95

    • Kim

      I actually like the new reward program as I usually get a blonde roast or pike. However, not that if you redeem rewards at a non free-standing Starbucks eg ones inside Target, a cup of plain coffee is -150 stars. I emailed CS and told me that these stores are excluded. To their credit, they reimbursed my stars but what the heck?

  19. Eve

    This is not good for me. I always use my rewards on salads or paninis. With their new rewards program, it’s going to take 200 stars instead of the current 125. I currently have 16 rewards on my app, I am going to try to use all my rewards before the new program kicks in, but that would a lot of salads.

  20. Debbie in PA

    eh…truth be told, my points often expire before I use them.. What I would like to see is allowing us to get our rewards at non-company stores, like at Barnes and Noble or the locations in grocery stores. The Starbucks stores used to be a nice oasis to meet friends, but that hasn’t been the case for a while at least around here. So if I pick up Starbucks it’s usually in a non-company store location, where I can currently earn points but cannot use them. It’s fairly obvious that they are doing this to save $$…how much does a cup of plain coffee cost in product and manhours versus a panini? I wouldn’t mind the changes if they allowed you to use points at all Starbucks locations AND your points did not expire.

  21. Linda

    Sick and tired of all the changes. They should have left the Existing Gold Members on their original rewards program rewarding them for being faithful customers and giving them better incentives. I’ve been gold status since 2009 and I’m done with Starbucks. You dont appreciate your long standing customers and give us the same crappy rewards program as someone who just became a member. No thanks I’m switching to Dunkin Doughnuts Coffee. Better tasting and my grande iced coffee is only $2 compared to Starbucks at $5.50. Ridiculous and then You keep changing the rewards program. Out of here!!!

  22. Deeanna

    I wonder whether the sous vide egg bites are considered a bakery item?

    If so, that’a great deal.

    • Holly

      Egg bites are considered a breakfast item (150 stars under the new plan).

  23. AA

    Is this why I have not received any games and challenges to get more bonus stars in a while? I think the last one I received via email was in December and I am still subscribed?

  24. GB

    Not happy I usually use 125 points for protein boxes , salads, now upping the cost to 150. Previously earned points should still be honored until those same points expire. Also, too many drinks loaded with sugar and I dont like artificial sweeteners. Not healthy.

  25. Holly

    I just saw on another reputable site that the changes are set to go live April 16th.

  26. Tammy D

    The thing that bugs me about Starbucks rewards program is that the stars you earn can expire. If I’ve earned them, I should be able to use them as I wish without a deadline.

  27. Matt

    So are extra shots/upgrades still free when you redeem a free drink? Or do you have to spend 150 stars now, lets say for a Venti Mocha, and then have to use 25 points per shot to add espresso or change it to almond milk?

    I’m a little mixed in terms of feelings as most people appear to be. If it is just 150 stars for a free espresso with any customization, then for the majority of my drinks, it just cost me an extra 25 points. so with the credit card, instead of a free drink after $42 in purchases, it is free after $50. Not the end of the world and nice that if instead of an $8 espresso i just want a $3 coffee, i can get that for only 50 stars. It would have been nice for them to lump ice coffee in there.

    So how does this work? If i stay at Starbucks I should be able to get a free refill of regular or iced, doesn’t matter what I originally purchased (never tried free refill on a free drink before). So if you can get a refill on a free one, what is stopping me from getting a free hot brewed coffee, dumping it, then asking for a free refill of iced coffee?

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