Starbucks Reward Program Increases

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The Starbucks Rewards Program is set for significant changes in 2023, impacting how customers earn and redeem their beloved Star Rewards. These updates mark the most substantial adjustments since the introduction of the Star Rewards system in 2019, emphasizing Starbucks’s commitment to evolving its rewards program to better serve its members. With the partnership between Starbucks and Delta SkyMiles wrapping up a successful year in 2022, members who have enjoyed earning bonuses through this collaboration should note how the Starbucks changes to the reward program will affect their strategy for redeeming rewards moving forward.

Starbucks Increases its Star Rewards Tiers

Starbucks is changing its rewards program to make getting free drinks and merchandise more challenging. It’s raising the number of stars required for select rewards and shuffling a few of its perks into new levels.

When it comes to redeeming rewards, Starbucks introduces new options and clarifications:

  • 25 Stars: Can be redeemed for beverage modifiers like an added espresso shot or a dairy alternative, enhancing the customization options for your drinks.
  • Redemption Exclusions: Rewards cannot be redeemed for alcoholic beverages or multi-serve items, ensuring a focused reward experience tailored to individual enjoyment.

Each of the Starbucks reward tier levels will increase to the following:

  • 25 Stars: Members can now redeem for one of several beverage modifiers, including an extra shot of espresso, various syrup or sauce additions (like caramel syrup), or a choice of dairy alternative options (such as soy, almond, oat, or coconut milk). This tier is exclusively for enhancing your base beverage, offering a personalized touch to your favorite Starbucks drink.
  • 100 Stars: Elevate your Starbucks experience by redeeming for items like hot brewed coffee or tea, iced brewed coffee or tea, a bakery treat (think cake pops or cookies), or a savory packaged snack. Additionally, this tier allows for the redemption of a Cold Siren Logo Plastic To-Go Cup (24 oz) or a Siren Logo Plastic Hot Cup (16 oz), catering to those who appreciate Starbucks beverages on the go. Noteworthy exclusions include Clover brewed coffee, Starbucks Reserve coffee, and reusable cups outside of the specified.
  • 200 Stars: This tier offers a significant expansion of choices, including any handcrafted beverage from the standard menu, such as a latte or Frappuccino blended beverage, or a hot breakfast item like a breakfast sandwich or oatmeal. The inclusion of maximum toppings for hot breakfast items adds an extra layer of customization to your meal.
  • 300 Stars: For those looking for more substantial food options or to take a piece of Starbucks home, 300 Stars can be redeemed for a packaged salad or lunch sandwich, a protein box, or a packaged coffee item (like whole bean coffee). The availability of packaged coffee may vary, providing an incentive to explore different store offerings.
  • 400 Stars: The pinnacle of the Starbucks Rewards program, this tier allows for the redemption of select merchandise items valued up to $20. Whether you’re eyeing a special mug or other Starbucks merchandise, this tier celebrates the loyalty of Starbucks’s most devoted customers, offering tangible rewards for their commitment.

The new reward tiers will go into effect starting February 13, 2023. These represent the first significant changes to the Starbucks Rewards program since 2019 when it first introduced the Star rewards tiers.

Starbucks Member Benefits

The updates to the Starbucks Rewards program don’t affect the entire program. Loyal Starbucks visitors can count on a few of their favorite reward perks to stay the same. These program features are unchanged in the Starbucks rewards updates:

  • Get a free drink on your birthday
  • Double Star Days – earn 2x stars on select days
  • Free refills on hot or iced coffee or tea
  • Level 25 (customize your drink) and 400 Starbucks Rewards (Select Starbucks merchandise or prepackaged coffee) tiers
  • Starbucks Stars expire in six months (Stars do not expire for Chase Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Credit Card users.

Maximize Your Starbucks Rewards Stars With Delta

Starbucks customers will need to spend much more at Starbucks before getting their usual free drinks and other rewards. While you’re spending more to cash in on the rewards, why not earn some miles and points toward your next trip at the same time!

Starbucks partners have programs to reward its members as they earn towards the new Star Rewards levels. For example, its partnership with Delta Airlines offers one Delta SkyMiles for every dollar spent at Starbucks. Also, a partnership with Chase rewards stars every time you use it for qualifying purchases–the rewards card is currently unavailable for new users, although current cardholders can include authorized users to maximize star earnings.

Starbucks continues its trend of early-year major news announcements, following its February 2022 news of raising prices for the year and now raising the minimum stars it takes to start earning rewards. And since the new tier increases don’t begin until February 13, 2023, now is the best time to redeem for rewards.

When do Starbucks Star Rewards expire?

Starbucks Star Rewards expire 6 months after the month in which they were earned. This means that the Stars you collect towards rewards in the Starbucks Rewards Program will have a validity period, and it's important to redeem them before they expire to make the most of your membership benefits. Starbucks applies the oldest Stars towards any rewards you redeem, regardless of the tier.

For example, if you earn 10 Stars on June 16 and another 15 Stars on June 24, the Stars earned on June 16 will be used first when you redeem Stars for a Reward. You can view the Stars that are expiring soon in the Rewards section when logged into your account or through the Starbucks app.

Please note that there was a specific policy for Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card holders, where their Stars did not expire as long as their Starbucks Rewards Visa Card account was open. However, the Starbucks® Rewards Visa® program ended on July 20, 2023. Members with a Starbucks Rewards Visa Card associated with their account as of that date maintained their no-expiration status for Stars earned through January 2024, with those Stars expiring on August 1, 2024. For more detailed information or any updates to these policies, it's recommended to refer to the official Starbucks website.

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