Starbucks Card Rewards Comes To Ireland / UK (Unfortunately)

5 Jan

Today Starbucks UK and Ireland have launched the Starbucks Card Rewards program over here. There is already a storm brewing on the internet about what is changing and it seems for the worst. Twitter and Starbucks Facebook pages are full of angry users passionate to show Starbucks how they will be effected. Starbucks seems to “think” they know what users will spend or what they are willing to do instead of listening to them. If you are a Starbucks drinker that has a daily cup of coffee or even two, you will see this new scheme as not much different and to be honest (and funny) the only people defending the new program are ‘heavy’ coffee drinkers or Baristas that are in store all day every day. But sadly, for drinkers that don’t have a lot of coffee or can’t get to a Starbucks regularly, you will be hit HARD by these new rewards. So much has been taken away from the original card rewards, here is what Starbucks is offering with the new rewards, thanks to Patrick Mooney for finding this image yesterday –



Now here is a copy of what Starbucks offered BEFORE today –

With Starbucks Card Rewards, you’ll automatically get free extras every time you pay with your registered Starbucks Card. This means you can add extra shots of coffee, flavoured syrups and soya milk, all for free! You’ll also get free Wi-Fi whenever you’re in our stores.
Free extras every day
Paying for your drink with a registered Starbucks Card means you’ll enjoy free extras every day. We know there’s lots of different combinations, and our expert baristas are here to help you find your perfect coffee.
Free extras include select syrups, extra shots of coffee, soya milk and whipped cream.  This is your chance to try something delicious.
80c off fresh filter coffee
Paying for your fresh filter coffee with a registered Starbucks Card means you’ll get 80c off the price of your coffee.
Free Wi-Fi instore
Get free Wi-Fi whilst your sipping your latte! With your registered Starbucks Card, you’ll receive free Wi-Fi service every day. To find out the closest store near you with Wi-Fi take a look here.
Free tall drink when you buy a 250g bag of coffee
Get a free tall drink every time you buy a 250g bag of coffee in your local Starbucks. Not sure what coffee to drink at home? Just speak to your local coffee master instore (they are the ones in the black aprons).

Now, as you can see, there is so much cut for the average user. Firstly a free tall drink with a purchase of whole bean coffee or a 12 pack of VIA has totally been taken away. There is now no 80c off fresh filter coffee any more either, basically doubling the cost of a fresh filter coffee for customers with Starbucks cards. As you can see from the table above having a basic Starbucks card now entitles you to have nothing in Starbucks eyes, before this point you can see that simply by paying for your drink with your Starbucks card you got extra shots, syrups, soya milk or whipped cream for nothing. This is all gone! But I think what really annoys me the most is that Starbucks America only asks customers to get 30 Stars a year to become ‘Gold Level’, Starbucks UK and Ireland are clearly not happy with that amount and have upped the number to a massive 50 Stars.

(For those of you that are not familiar with Rewards 1 Star = 1 drink OR a single transaction or multiple items. That means you have to buy 50 drinks or have 50 single transactions to become a gold level member.)

The ONLY thing that registered users now get (who haven’t already been upgraded) is a free tall drink for every 15 Stars. That is it, that is all they get, one single thing (news and offers doesn’t mean anything, lets face it). You must now get 50 Stars to get all the other rewards that were free up until now. This is from Starbucks website outlining the new rewards system –

Use your card once, get your first reward. And membership is free. Sweet!
Free drink every 15 Stars
We want to give you more of what you love. Use your Card 15 times and the next one’s on us.
News and offers
We’ll make sure you’re among the first to hear about any new products or special offers.
Collect 50 Stars within a year, and you’re Gold. Once you go Gold, keep your Gold benefits for another year by earning another 50 Stars.
At the Gold level, you get the Green level reward of a free tall beverage every 15 visits and special updates, plus:
Free extra shot(s)
Get an even bigger boost. Have an extra shot – or more than one – for free.
Free select syrups
Put a little extra flavour in your drink. Add select syrups for free.
Complimentary flavour choices include Caramel syrup, Vanilla syrup (regular or sugar free), Hazelnut syrup (regular or sugar free), Almond syrup, Irish Cream syrup, Peppermint syrup, extra shot of espresso, choice or soy milk and whipped cream.  A combination of complimentary choices is also acceptable, for example an order of an extra shot vanilla latte would mean that the extra shot and vanilla syrup are for free when you pay with your registered Starbucks Card. Offer valid at participating UK and Ireland stores and is subject to change.
Use soy milk instead
Not in the mood for dairy? Swap in soy milk at no extra charge.
Free whipped cream
Top any drink with a free fluffy cloud of sweetened whipped cream.

As I said, for heavy users 50 transactions or drinks might not seem a huge amount but for loyal users that can only go once or even less a week it will take a year to get to gold level. If you miss one week that means you must go twice the next week, this is simply screwing over occasional Starbucks visitors that would like the same rewards they got for nothing only yesterday. They must now pay full price for extra shots, syrups, cream and so on until they hit 50 transactions forcing them to spend far more in stores each visit than they would have had to before. As of today Starbucks have made everyone with a registered card Gold Level as a thank you, but I really do think this is simply a smoke screen to cover up the fact that you will be stripped your free extras if you don’t buy 50 items from stores in the next 12 months. This is hardly an improvement and if you think so you obviously have Starbucks tinted glasses on! (Or you work for them and can’t say anything against it for fear of loosing your job).


Finally here is just a TINY snapshot of what users are saying online – they are really not happy, but some valid points!

Sorry SBUX but after being a loyal customer for 10 years, I am for the first time looking at my options. The new loyalty card deal just is not fair in today’s climate, especially when other competitors are giving more not to mention SBux giving better offers to the US!
Problem is Starbucks UK and Ireland management. Kris Engskov is making his mark. This is all about cost savings and not loyalty. What would Darcy say?
Your New Starbucks rewards system is not very good for people who drink filter coffee (the easiest to produce too, time to serve etc factored in). You have taken the rewards off your filter drinkers. I used to save 80c everytime I got a filter coffee (which I do every morning) But now what you are saying to us is that for every €39 euro I speand (two weeks worth of coffee) I get a free 1.50 coffee. You actually had the best rewards scheme of any food and beverage company I used but now. Its actually going to become one of the worst.
Cant believe there is no more filter coffee offer. That was the reason I got my card!
dear Starbucks Epic fail. Lots of disappointed customers.
Now would be a good time to reconsider
will be getting his morning fix of filter from McDonalds Drive Through from now on…well done Starbucks :o)
If I’m spending £25 on lunch for children & drinks, would I be better splitting the transaction (to the annoyance of the other customers) and paying for each panini, frap, coffee, cookie etc separately? Why should I earn the same amount of stars as a single coffee?
Very disappointing in so many ways, the short notice of the changes is quite unbelievable and to remove two of the most favoured benefits in my workplace (filter coffee discount and free drink with beans) after ‘customer feedback’ seems misguided at best.
Sorry Starbucks. Another one here who thinks the new rewards scheme is suckety suck suck sucky! I want the cheap filter coffee back! I’m getting double points at Costa at the mo’, so I guess I’ll be going there instead!!

I for one will be charging everything I buy separately to maximize the number of transactions I have, buying drinks and Coffee Beans individually for 2 or 3 stars per visit, I would really urge every Starbucks goer in UK and Ireland to do the same. If Starbucks Baristas have issues with this maybe they should talk to management about the situation and maybe we can get the Stars changed down to 30 to match the US rewards system.

If any information or item here is incorrect or you have more info on the program that I have not included, please leave a comment and I can update as time goes on.


6 Responses to “Starbucks Card Rewards Comes To Ireland / UK (Unfortunately)”

  1. Ttrockwood February 10, 2018 at 07:31 #

    I am in the US, have been a loyal Starbucks customer for years and years. After the new card rewards were updated here basically exactly nothing except wifi is free, upcharges for non dairy milk, any syrups, additional shots etc. The stars to get a free drink are the same. No discount on filter coffee, never has been.
    And yeah, no reason to be loyal since i am in nyc and there are plenty of other options- all of whom have a buy 9 drinks get the 10th free lotalty card.

  2. 1 cup coffee maker January 31, 2012 at 23:24 #

    It’s in reality a great and useful piece of info. I am happy that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Ciarán January 5, 2012 at 22:35 #

    The US rewards scheme is amazing compared to ours !!!! Do we get free birthday drinks ? And they basically have our old benefits too

  4. Ciarán January 5, 2012 at 17:41 #

    Lets hope they’ll listen !

  5. Ciarán January 5, 2012 at 14:33 #

    I cant get to starbucks that often the nearest is one hour away so i get to go once every 2 months – I’m as loyal as I can be . Usually always buy bag of coffee with my card and always got free tall frappucino – Thats gone :(. I am a gold card holder but will i be downgraded next year because no way will i be able to buy 50 drinks ! Was think about starting to go to Costa and did today- Vanilla latte was pretty bad and more expensive than sbux and the stores just don’t feel the same ! Hopefully the backlash will make them change their minds…..

    • StarbucksMarkDavid January 5, 2012 at 15:23 #

      Hi Ciarán,

      Thanks for the comment! I really feel sorry for customers like this, even I don’t go to Starbucks each week so I think I’ll really struggle to hit 50 by the end of the year. I think Starbucks are really screwing over passionate customers of their brand especially in Ireland, as there are only stores in Dublin, so customers living in say Cork or Galway have to travel across the country to get a Starbucks coffee. Now they are basically being told they will have to buy 50 items or pay more. What a lovely reward system Starbucks think they have! It’s ridiculous. I hope something changes over time when people actually realize after they got to gold level today, it more than likely be taken from them next year and they can say bye bye to all the extras. So lets hope they will indeed change their minds on the matter..

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