Is there anything we collectively dread more than airline loyalty programs going revenue based? These types of changes are bad news for most of us, and great news for some (super high revenue) flyers.
While not an airline loyalty program, I’m also a big fan of Starbucks. It’s not that I love their coffee as such, but rather that I like getting a consistent experience no matter where I go. I go to Starbucks on a near daily basis, and they have a pretty cool rewards and elite program, called My Starbucks Rewards.
Under the current program you earn one star for each “visit.” After earning 30 stars you get Gold status, and when you have Gold status you earn one free drink after every 12 stars.
There has always been a way to “maximize” the star system a bit, because of how stars are earned. You earn one star for every transaction. So if you buy three things in one transaction you’d get one star. If you broke it up into three transactions, you get three stars, though.
I’ve never maximized the star system, because I can’t bring myself to make the transactions more complicated for baristas. There’s usually a queue at Starbucks, and I don’t want to delay others due to my love of maximizing loyalty programs.
Well, My Starbucks Rewards will be going revenue based in April, meaning you’ll earn stars based on how much you spend rather than how many transactions you make.
Under the new My Starbucks Rewards program:
- You earn 2 stars per $1 spent (rather than one star per transaction)
- Gold status requires 300 stars (rather than 30 stars)
- You need 125 stars for a reward (rather than 12 stars)
In other words, you need to spend $150 to earn Gold status, and you need to spend $62.50 to get a reward.
When comparing the old and new program, this makes the “breakeven point” per transaction ~$5.21 for the purposes of earning a reward, or $5 for earning Gold status.
So if you usually order “fancy” drinks or multiple things, you’ll probably come out ahead under the new program. If you usually just order a coffee or split up transactions, you’ll probably come out behind under the new program. If you’re buying coffee for the whole office, you’ll love the new program.
It’s interesting to see My Starbucks Rewards go revenue based. While I don’t like airline loyalty programs to be revenue based, I personally view this as a huge positive for something like Starbucks. My typical Starbucks order is a cold brew and a spinach feta wrap, so I’ll come out ahead under the new program. And this isn’t exactly “high roller” behavior on my part.
For what it’s worth, the details of the new program haven’t yet been officially announced, but rather just communicated to some associates.
What do you make of My Starbucks Rewards going revenue based? Will you come out ahead?
(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)