Starbucks Just Revamped Its Rewards Program: Here’s What That Means for You

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Starbucks is undergoing some major changes. The coffee giant announced on Tuesday, March 19, that it’s making a series of tweaks to its widely used rewards program, which debuted in 2009 and has since accrued more than 16 million active members. The new rules are set to go into effect on April 16.

By the middle of next month, members will be able to earn and redeem Stars for Rewards immediately after joining the program, meaning free items will be easier to obtain. Participants will also continue to earn two Stars for every $1 spent when using a registered Starbucks Card for eligible purchases at Starbucks stores.

“Since introducing Starbucks Rewards ten years ago, we’ve experienced tremendous growth and continued to evolve the program to meet the changing needs and purchase patterns of our customers,” Matthew Ryan, Starbucks’ chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “These new updates put choice in the hands of our customers and a personal touch they can only get from Starbucks.”

Other program updates going into effect on April 16 include a new, tiered rewards structure that will replace the current single option at participating Starbucks locations. This means customers will now have more ways than ever to use their Stars toward free items. For example, 25 Stars can be used to redeem an extra espresso shot, dairy substitute or additional flavor, while 50 Stars gets you a brewed hot coffee, hot tea or select bakery items.

As with many other rewards programs, the more points (or in this case, Stars) you accrue, the sweeter the freebies get. While 200 Stars can be exchanged for a lunch sandwich, protein box or salad, free of charge, waiting until you have 400 Stars gives you access to select merchandise or packaged coffee, at no cost.

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