Tag Archives: Starbucks

The New, and Not Improved, Starbucks Rewards

My Starbucks Rewards operates on a fairly simple premise: go to the store and buy things 12 times, and earn a freebie (coffee, food, pastries, etc.).  The programme has changed a bit through the years – you used to be able to get free syrups in your drinks if you were a Gold member, but only got a freebie every 15 visits – but it’s always been about frequency of visits, not how much you spend.

Now that is changing.  The new Starbucks Rewards, according to an email sent out today, works as follows:

You’ll earn 2 Stars for every $1 you spend on coffee, food, drinks, mugs–and more. As a Gold member, once you earn 125 Stars, you’ll be able to redeem them for anything on the menu.*

Doing some quick math, you earn a free reward for every $62.50 spent at Starbucks.  Over 12 visits, that would average out to $5.21 per visit – which is far more than the average “handcrafted espresso beverage,” and, actually, more than almost any item on the menu excepting food items.

What does this mean for you?  If you typically go to Starbucks and order multiple items, you will earn freebies a bit faster.  For everyone else, it will take about 18 tall cappuccinos or mochas to earn a reward.

While this is being billed as a bonus for those who buy coffees for the whole office and now get extra stars for it, most customers will spend a lot more money to get the same rewards.


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Starbucks: Educating Employees

Starbucks just announced that it would help its baristas obtain college degrees: those who work for at least twenty hours a week for two years are eligible for tuition subsidies at Arizona State University (online), and those who work for more than two years would be eligible for tuition reimbursement. (Story.)

I’m going to exercise a lot of self-control and not snark about how the higher education bubble has resulted in a lot of baristas already having college degrees. Let’s focus on the meat of this: we’re going back in time to when it was normal for kids to work their way through college.  When college is cheap, it makes sense to spend time working to pay for it: the reduction in time spent studying is more than offset by the fact that you’re paying for all of it by working.  However, when college is expensive, it makes little sense to work full-time and pay only a tenth or a twentieth of the cost.

The next time I order a marble mocha macchiato, I know that some of the exorbitant cost will be helping one of the baristas to get a degree.  That’s really neat.

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Filed under Academia