Starbucks customers revolt over reward card changes

January 12th, 2012 22 Comments By Andy Dawson

starbucks logo Starbucks customers revolt over reward card changesThere’s no doubt, that social media is an important ‘tool’ for companies who want to have a closer relationship with consumers. Fortunately, it’s also a great way for said consumers to bite back against the companies when they do something that they’re not happy with.

That’s what’s happened over the past few days with Starbucks after the coffee-flogging giants attempted to change their loyalty scheme. Punters have gone into a caffeine-fuelled rage over some of the new rules, including the one that only gives them a reward point per transaction as opposed to per item purchased. This is believed to have led to points-hungry customers buying each individual item separately instead in order to gain maximum points, holding the queue up and making everyone sad.

Additionally, Starbucks card users no longer get 50p off filter coffee, an offer giving them a free drink with the purchase of a bag of Starbucks ground coffee has been removed and there’s some grumbling that the 50 stars necessary to retain “Gold membership” is too high, and more than the 30 stars required by US customers.

The Starbucks Facebook wall has been filled with criticisms from irate customers, with one threatening to shred their Starbucks reward card and another threatening to kill a lion every day until the changes are scrapped. We might have made that second one up.

A spokeswoman for Starbucks said: “We appreciate that a small number of customers on social media are being very vocal, in our stores we’re seeing a positive movement towards the My Rewards scheme and record traffic on our site for people registering cards and opting in to offers. by far, latte and cappuccino are our best sellers and only a small percentage of sales is filter coffee. The scheme looks at rewarding a lot more people than the previous niche offer.”

So is it all a fair use of social media or are Starbucks customers just being a pack of ungrateful, whiny twats?

Comments (22) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by Alexis January 12, 2012 at 11:24 am

    To be fair, it’s all a bonus. I don’t expect free pasties when I go to Greggs.

  2. Posted by me January 12, 2012 at 11:34 am

    its only coffee.

  3. Posted by coffee leaver January 12, 2012 at 11:43 am

    and, as coffee goes, its not that great

  4. i lol’d @ the lion

  5. Posted by Sicknote January 12, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Best coffee I’ve had is the £1.30 a cup from the greasy spoon eatery around the corner from my office – best of all is that I don’t get served by a resting actor or an overweight model or a walking tattoo exhibition.

  6. Posted by The Real Bob January 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    As coffee goes, it’s pretty near the bottom. Literally.

  7. Posted by Mad Don Heistfooker January 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    “So is it all a fair use of social media or are Starbucks customers just being a pack of ungrateful, whiny twats?”

    Can’t it be both?

  8. Posted by DragonChris January 12, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    What offers are there for latte drinkers? o.O

  9. Posted by Mike Hock January 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    But they haven’t realised they’re being ripped off in the first place? Numpties.

  10. Posted by Dick January 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Why don’t they allow only one transaction per person at each visit to the cashier, then it’s to the back of the queue. So if you want an overpriced latte with an overpriced flapjack and an overpriced piece of crap cake with an Italian name even though it was made in Slough and three lots of points, then you queue up three times.

  11. Posted by Joe January 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Probably because the person would refuse, create a fuss and start ranting about how hard done by they are.

    One of the many things Brits do well is sanctimoniously making a scene over the most trivial issue possible (with the rest standing patiently behind in the queue of course).

  12. Posted by Johnson January 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    A recent BBC report revealed that Starbucks coffee contains only 51mg of caffeine whereas a typical independent patisserie or coffee house will have over 350mg of caffeine. Loyalty cards or not, Starbucks not only tastes like rubbish but they are ripping off caffeine users

  13. Posted by Paul Coia January 12, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Yes, the coffee tastes like the crap, but just to point out that existing cardholders are already granted ‘GOLD’ star status.

    You’ve just got to neck 50 of their overpriced coffees between now and next year to maintain such a highly esteemed title….

  14. Posted by David Gregory January 12, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Please can I have an ” I am an ungrateful whiny Twat!” T-Shirt – I so deserve and want one!

  15. Posted by Sawyer January 12, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    As one of these Gold members, I feel a bit disappointed that the spokeswoman has dismissed me as part of the “small percentage”. Personally I don’t understand why everyone else seems to buy the heavily-sweetened stuff that costs £3-4 when the filter coffee is easily the only thing worth drinking. Depending on the barista, you even get a free refill on the filter… not sure whether that policy has remained intact or not.

    Shame they just added an extra £50 a year to my coffee bill and gave me all the incentive I need to quit the habit for good.

  16. Posted by Nick T January 12, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Given Costa, glorious Caffe Nero and all the better independents, is there any reason at all to go to Starbucks? No, there isn’t.

  17. Posted by Brian's Uncle January 13, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Why are you drinking starbucks in the first place? I find instant coffee a better brew than Starbucks.

    Costa isn’t independent, it’s owned by Whitbread.

  18. Posted by Nick T January 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I didn’t mean to imply they were. My sentence probably needed another comma in it or something. I’m not really that bothered.

  19. Posted by dan January 16, 2012 at 5:37 am

    To all you people complaining at the people complaining, how about this.
    I used to go there all the time.
    Tall filter coffee = £1.50 – on par or cheaper than all the independent coffee shops where I live.
    Tall filter coffee with a Starbucks card = £1 – hey this suddenly got a lot better. On par with Pret.
    Tall filter coffee with a Starbucks card and my own tumbler (25p off) = 75p – Okay, this is good.
    Oh, and did I mention you get a free refill?

    So that’s 75p for two coffees. That’s why I went to Starbucks.
    I’ll just have to make it at home now instead.

  20. Posted by Frank "Ponch" Poncherello January 17, 2012 at 12:34 am

    @ dan. Cheap fuck.

  21. Posted by steinbuck January 19, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Starbucks – for people who hate coffee.

  22. Posted by kevin February 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    I am a regular filter drinker in Canary Wharf (5 times a week) and enjoyed the 50p saving per drink.

    Starbucks, are you so seriously that hard up that you are trying to increase your bottom line by removing perks which brought customers through your doors??

    15 ‘Stars’ for a free drink?.. My wife and I usually buy drinks together. This ‘per transaction’ concept is a farce. Nandos have a similar policy, but at least you’re rewarded every 3 stamps. 15 is just ridiculous.

    How much did you pay your consultant to come up with this idea??!

    Sorry Starbucks, you have just lost me as your customer. I will now be buying coffee from Pret who sell their coffee for a flat price of £1.

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