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Leaked memo shows big changes are coming to Starbucks Rewards

Published Dec 28th, 2022 1:56PM EST
Starbucks logo on a store.
Image: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

If you visit Starbucks regularly, chances are good that you’re a Starbucks Rewards member. The program lets members build up points (or “stars”) with every purchase which they can redeem for free drinks, food, and merchandise. Unfortunately, many of those rewards are going to cost twice as many stars next year when Starbucks changes its program.

According to a memo seen by Business Insider, free hot coffee, tea, and baked goods will cost 100 stars as of February 13th, 2023. That is double the current price of 50 stars. Iced coffee and iced tea — which currently cost 150 stars — will also be available for 100 stars. Some packaged snacks, ham and swiss croissants, and plastic to-go cups will cost 100 stars as well. Depending on what you usually order, this could be a good move or a bad one.

Meanwhile, handcrafted drinks (which include espressos, cappuccinos, and seasonal drinks) and hot breakfast items will now require 200 stars (up from 150). If you want a sandwich, a salad, or a protein box, you’ll need to spend 300 stars (up from 200). You’ll also be able to redeem 300 stars for packaged coffee for the first time.

Finally, merchandise like signature cups and accessories can still be redeemed for 400 stars. You can also still customize your drink for 25 stars.

While the value of certain items will be changing, the method of acquiring stars will not. The memo states that Starbucks Rewards members will continue to receive one star for every $1 they spend, or two stars per $1 using a pre-loaded digital or physical Starbucks card.

The memo says that the changes were necessary to “ensure the health of the program and meet the evolving needs of our customers.” If you visit Starbucks frequently, it’s clearly still worth being a member of the program for the occasional free drink or baked good. It just might take a touch longer to qualify for your favorite freebie in 2023.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.