If you’re a member of the Starbucks Rewards program who depends on the store’s coffee to wake you up every morning, it’s always nice to know that every visit is taking you one step closer to a free drink. Unfortunately, with the changes that the company announced this week, you’re going to have to start spending more to qualify.
For quite some time, customers have needed to collect 30 stars (one per visit) to achieve “gold” status for the year. Gold members could then collect a free drink or food item after 12 more stars, which could mean at least two free items a month.
With the new points system, customers will have to collect 300 stars to qualify for gold status and 125 stars to get a free item after that. And rather than awarding stars for visits, Starbucks will instead give customers 2 stars for every dollar they spend.
If your trips to Starbucks traditionally cost over $5, this shouldn’t have much of an effect on you, but those who want nothing more than a $2 cup of coffee are going to be severely penalized.
CNNMoney estimates that customers will have to spend around $150 to reach gold status for the year and then $63 after that for every free item. A spokeswoman for Starbucks told CNNMoney that it is aware of the strong reaction that has quickly ripped through the internet and is “always listening to customer feedback.”