Starbucks customers revolt over reward card changes

12 January 2012

starbucks-logo There’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?

TOPICS:   Social Media


  • Alexis
    To be fair, it's all a bonus. I don't expect free pasties when I go to Greggs.
  • me
    its only coffee.
  • coffee l.
    and, as coffee goes, its not that great
  • f
    i lol'd @ the lion
  • Sicknote
    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.
  • The B.
    As coffee goes, it's pretty near the bottom. Literally.
  • Mad H.
    "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?
  • DragonChris
    What offers are there for latte drinkers? o.O
  • Mike H.
    But they haven't realised they're being ripped off in the first place? Numpties.
  • Dick
    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.
  • Joe
    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).
  • Johnson
    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
  • Paul C.
    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....
  • David G.
    Please can I have an " I am an ungrateful whiny Twat!" T-Shirt - I so deserve and want one!
  • Sawyer
    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.
  • Nick T.
    Given Costa, glorious Caffe Nero and all the better independents, is there any reason at all to go to Starbucks? No, there isn't.
  • Brian's U.
    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.
  • Nick T.
    I didn't mean to imply they were. My sentence probably needed another comma in it or something. I'm not really that bothered.
  • dan
    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.
  • Frank P.
    @ dan. Cheap fuck.
  • steinbuck
    Starbucks - for people who hate coffee.
  • kevin
    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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