People Are Not Happy About Starbucks’ New Rewards Program

2 minute read

Starbucks‘ new rewards program has launched, and some customers are not happy about it.

The Seattle-based firm’s new plan rewards customers for the total number of dollars they spend at the chain, rather than the number of drinks they buy. That means it benefits Starbucks shoppers who opt for fancier, more expensive drinks over cheaper offerings, like drip coffee. The move apes similar steps taken by many airlines, which have been changing their frequent flier programs to reward dollars spent over miles traveled in a bid to attract higher-spending business travelers over casual flyers.

Starbucks’ change was met with skepticism from some shoppers when it was first announced in February.

Today’s frustrations, however, have more to do with the rollout of the new rewards program. Some shoppers say they’re missing previously earned rewards after updating their Starbucks app, a necessary step before using the new rewards program.

A Starbucks spokesperson says problems like these are temporary issues related to the update:

. . . We started making big (and exciting) changes to our new Starbucks Rewards program and mobile app user experience yesterday. Because of the phased approach, these changes have created slower app functionality, and as a result some customers are seeing a delay in the technology where their account information and Stars are not populating within the mobile app. However, we expect this will be resolved soon and we’re keeping track of everything in the meantime so once a customer’s account transfers to the new system, all of their transactions will be accounted for and Stars and Rewards will be visible and allocated appropriately. Customers should be sure to check their phone throughout the day and customers who have apps set to auto-update don’t need to do a thing – customers without this function enabled should update their app when available.

The firm is also taking a step to placate miffed customers by offering “Gold” status to anyone who makes a purchase over the next several weeks, which translates into free drinks and other benefits.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at