Friday, February 26, 2016

Starbucks Rewards

I've been a member of Starbucks rewards program for a short while, partly because I stop a the local store at the halfway point on my 6 mile roundtrip daily walk. It's in a local commercial area which fits into the routes I take for my walks, which varys from 6 to 8 miles.

At the Starbucks I guy a doppio con panna using my own 3 oz cup they gave me when I bought a pound of coffe about 2 years ago. The cup gives me a ten cent discount, which being free in the first place, has more than paid for itself.

Starbucks recently announced they're changing the rewards programs from giving a star forevery stop and/or purchase, up to 2 per day, and a free drink after 12 stars, to giving 2 stars for every dollar you spend no matter the stops or purchases, maybe because they didn't say if there was a daily maximum quota.

For me this means while now I earn a free drink every 12 days or stops (sometimes on trips to Seattle I'll stop at a second Starbucks), meaning two free drinks a month, after the change I'll only earn a free drink about every 5-6 weeks.

That's because a doppio con panna only costs just over $2 with tax, so it will take 32 purchases to get to the 125 star goal for a free drink, and at only 20-25 purchases a month (days I walk), that means more than a month between free drinks.

While I ocassionally purchase whole bean coffee, I have no interest to purchase more expensive drinks to get more stars. It's not worth it for me because there are cafes in the area which have better  mochas which are cheaper than Starbucks.

One of those local cafes is Metropolitan Market which has their own rewards program with the same buy 12 get one free drink offer. Their 12-oz mochas are better and cheaper than Starbucks. The University of Puget Sound student (also public) cafe offers my favorite 12-oz mocha, also cheaper.

And there are several Cutters Point, Tullys, and other cafes in the area with better mochas than Starbucks. While only some of those cafes offer rewards programs for regulars, I still prefer them to Starbucks for the mochas.

It's clear the change is more for business than customers. Coffee drinks are really cheap to make for the price, so the current rewards program isn't hurting Starbucks' bottom line, and clearly aimed to get more money from customers.

For me, though, it's not going to work. I'll continue to just buy my doppio con panna, and earn whatever stars they give. For other drinks I'll go to the other cafes with the better, and cheaper, mochas.

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