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October 30, 2009


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wow..let's make everything even more confusing and harder to explain then it already is.


Hope this is an unsubstantiated rumor.

I would not be a happy camper for not being rewarded for my many years of SBUX habit.

I could accept starting at the Gold (signature card) level (which should become permanent) and receiving further benefits with reasonable future purchase requirements.


Heck, I followed the instructions given at the store to receive my free birthday drink with my registered (non-gold) Starbucks Card and never got anything of the sort. I hope they follow through on these various tiers of rewards.


Can we talk about the holiday drinks? I have seen a few comments that the holiday trio will start next Tuesday (November 3rd) along with the red cups. Is this true? I can't wait! Holiday time at Starbucks is my favorite.

Coffeehouse Revolutionary

Well, I finally did it--found another job, gave Bux my notice and I'm done in a few days. Found a nice cushy gig in an espresso bar on a closed corporate campus (one plus: no more crazies walking in off the street), one that pays better, has better benefits, and won't force me to acts of inhuman cruelty to get time off with my family for the holidays. Oh, and a guaranteed 40-hour week, with NO nights OR weekends. AND it's Union.

To all of you who've been thinking of getting out--keep trying. I can't tell you what a sense of relief I felt when the shock wore off and I realized that I was free -- free from Howard's self-serving new-age b******t, free from the VIA crazy train, and free from having to choke down the lies and outright stupidity pumped out every day.

Oh yeah, and I won't have to stand there trying to convince Gold-Carders that getting a "free drink at 15 stars" ISN'T a sucky deal when they used to get 10% off ALL purchases.


Ugh, this is madness, I too am glad I quit, they are driving all their loyal customers away and to try and explain this to them. Guess what corporate, customers don't care about tiers of rewards, they want their discount, their drink and be on their way. I can see some cost saving measure in this...again. Trim the bottom line! This company is slowly going under...I sense it.


It's true. I got a pamplet at work today. It doesn't tell u how many stars you earn at a time though.


No more 10%?? Screw that, I'm done. Just got a french press and some Lavazza coffee from Italy. Bye Starbucks!

Burned Bean

omfg. this roll out is like trying to fix a clogged toilet with more toilet paper...

Devon Edwards

They are removing the 10% discount? That was the primary reason why I got the card in the first place. Having that allows me to want to go to Starbucks as often as I do. I am not keeping my gold membership when that goes into effect, and they may just lose me as a regular.


Wow. This is just gonna be more complicated...And the "Rewards card" is just a regular Starbucks card right? I'm tired of Starbucks trying to be unique, when all they're doing is making it worse.

Tired of this VIA pressure, tired of having to meet sales goals and having to deal with partners that call in "sick". Of course, most of the time I end up covering because I don't want the rest of the people that are scheduled to be screwed over.

Shadow Barista


On a bright note, recently I heard that Starbucks is changing the recognition program. According to what I heard, they are offering pins for partners anniversaries 1- 5 years of service.

Also I heard that they are setting up a site where you can redeem online beans for all kinds of things like Starbucks stuff, Coffeegear, tickets and general merchandise like electronics and books. So instead of getting a watch or a grinder I could go to a baseball game. Pretty cool! What do you think?


So no 10% and no decent coffee in the afternoon -- just and offer to charge you *more* for something that you didn't want in the first place (americano). And I should consider Starbucks my third place because???

Not feeling the love.


No 10%, how are they going to phase this out for people who BOUGHT the card to get 10% off?

Genghis Koon

WTF? I just bought 2 other people gift Gold Cards BECAUSE of the 10%. I hope this is just a rumor.

long gone

why does it have to be so complicated? what happened to the good old punch card or stamp?
reminds me of the "guess your weight" scene in "the jerk"


Knowing the formula to calculate stars will determine if this is worth it. The 10% off really was a valuable asset for me.


Bait and switch...if there's one thing people should realize about the Siren now is that what they say can't be taken hook, line, and sinker.


*You still get your 10% off for one year from purchase.

*New program has no fees.

*It appears you receive one star every time you use the card regardless of purchase amount.

me myself and I

People get what people ask for. Even after the introduction of the gold card with the 10% off feature people kept asking for their punch card that would give them every tenth drink off. Well, here it is. Kind of. It is now just every fifteenth drink with a star system instead of just a simple 10 % off. But it is exactly what people were asking for.

I personally don't like it, since it kind of looks like the card benefits were too successful and they are cutting back on it now. It is never good for a company to cut an already given benefit. They will loose quite a few of customers over it. But with their new huge advertisement dollars they might be able to find a few new customers that weren't aware of the benefits so far. Bottom line is, if a program is too complicated you won't get as many participants anymore. The best and easiest move would have been to merge the two cards. You could have earned the "gold" status by spending a certain amount or just by buying it. Oh well, why easy if there is a complicated way to do it.

Cubical Drone

It's official, I rather kill myself then come into work on Monday... Thanks Starbucks

livin' la VIA loca

If this is correct: *It appears you receive one star every time you use the card regardless of purchase amount.

And there is no "fine print disclaimers"- just wait for longer lines as regulars start having baristas ring up each item in order separately (drink, then pastry, then newspaper, etc.) to earn more free drinks faster.

Any cap on the # of free drinks per year?
And will this be automatically calculated at register or sent by free drink discount postcard card in mail?

Pls don't tell me I'm going to have angry customers who think they are "due" for their free drink and I should give it to them even if the system denies it- or if they unknowingly use their free drink for a drip brew not a quad venti $$$$$....

Mrs. Tillinghamshackles

People who already have gold cards will have the 10% honored for the rest of their paid year.

At least people will still save some money with getting a free drink every 15 transactions...

But still an annoying change. They should have just allowed regular rewards customers to stay the same and then extended all rewards benefits to gold card members...


This card also has the added benefits at a higher tier of free syrups and milk upgrades as well as the 10% discount. They've combined benefits of having a registered Starbucks card with the new one. Read up a little more before making a knee jerk negative reaction.

davidek mahavishnu

You'd think they would simplify the cards by allowing free refills on the gold card, instead of having to carry 2 cards; one for the 10% and one for the refills.

davidek mahavishnu

Oh yeah, ref my and others comments from last few weeks: The Via Farting issue is continuing. The local SB manager told me that six people have complained about ViaFarting.
At least I'm not the only one!


Anyone going to respond about the holiday drinks???


What the heck? One star for EVERY purchase? This new program is ripe for abuse. There really should be some minimum purchase requirement. Better yet, shouldn't there be some sophisticated program that rewards you in proportion to dollars spent.?

It is essentially a punch card. Free drink every 15 stars? That is a punch card.


I have the same fear as livin la via loca. Customers are going to want every item rung up seperate. We had people do that with the treat receipt promo. It could be very irritating during a rush to customers and partners.

Central/Acacia Regular

Hey Blimpo...

According to the press release my 10% discount ends on Dec 31st. I have bought approx. 70 lbs of beans for the office this year at around $12/lb...so that is $840 or $84 of eliminated discounts just on beans.

With a Gold Card I could swipe that card then use my company credit card to purchase...now I will have to use a Starbucks card to purchase, which would mix my business/personal purchases (not good)

As for personal drinks, I would say I get four Iced Venti Lattes a week @ $3.70 (Los Angeles) which is (52 x 4 x $3.70) $769.60. The 10% discount is $76.96. It is unclear if this 1 free for 15 purchased is *ANY* drink, which would be a 7% discount (assuming you ordered the same thing you normally get)....or a free tall drink?


"Green Level: After using the registered card five times, customers qualify for the following benefits: Free brewed refills, free flavor syrups and soy, a free tall drink of choice with purchase of one pound of whole bean coffee, up to two continuous hours of free Wi-Fi daily and special offers."

THIS IS CRAZY!!! Customers have to use their registered card FIVE TIMES to get what they already get now for just registering the card.

And what about the customer who wants to use the WIFI NOW?!? They can't just purchase a gift card and register it and jump on for a couple of hours any more.

WoW! And this is better? For who?

I'm really not going to like being on the front lines for this one!



@Laclashly "Customers are going to want every item rung up separate."

YIKES! I hadn't thought of that.

OK so he comes in (it's the morning rush of course) and wants to use the "FREE" WIFI. "Yes sir, if you'll just purchase this Starbucks gift card and let me ring you for 5 short coffees -- One at at time..." Will he be able to get online and register the card and get his two "FREE" hours then?

WooHoo! I can hardly wait for this one!


You guys are funny. Really read the details to the program. If you usually use the 10% off on Gold card, now you get your 15th free AND you get free internet AND you get free beverage with 1# coffee AND etc....

They are combined! Depending on your spending habits you can same more or less. It will not appeal to everyone, but it will to most. This is what customers asked for, a combined program. Now Gold Card users get free beverages and 'green' still get all thier old discounts. There is no charge for the gold level and you only have to use ONE card. No longer carrying the gold card and the starbucks card. Or the "discounts cannot be combined" screen when using a gold card.

Oh, and by the way, it is 5 transactions (or stars) within a YEAR to get green level. Most of us are there that much in two days!

As for wifi...we have never been free. I have this conversation every day "we do not have free wifi.." with the response "you used to..." Actually, no. Maybe in some past test in a test market...


I'll give away the stars for free? And what does it keep from a person from say, splitting up their transaction. Like lets say, they decide to do their beverage and pastry separate? And then do a refill, for free mind you separate? Thats THREE transactions and then you get do that every day for a week and get your free drink. Hmmmmmmm!

GlenFeliz Regular

Actually, they should make you buy a stick of VIA for every hour of WiFi access...


wow. this does sound incredibly complicated. good thing i got out. i can't tell you how many customers got starbucks cards just to register them and use the wifi. but they'd also buy something. and yes, as a customer now, if it meant a free drink sooner, i would ask the barista to ring up my coffee and my pastry separately.

wow. way to sku transactions/traffic #s and put a burden on your baristas. they should've just added the sbux rewards benefits TO the gold card so they didn't have to carry 2 and called it done.


all current registered card (gold and gift) members will automatically be placed in the appropriate level of this new program. just an FYI


As a customer, I like the sound of the new benefits program. I already visit Starbucks enough to qualify for the new Gold Level, so eventually I'll get those benefits without paying extra or changing my habits. (Mind you, I would never inconvenience a barista by making him ring multiple items as separate transactions.) And I'm betting that the revised Starbucks card website will allow users to track their purchase history to see when they're eligible for a free drink. I do, however, see the possibility of hiccups at the beginning...


The company hasn't released any details on the new program yet, so I don't think it's worth even speculating about. All we've been told is the Gold Card is being eliminated. Why is this a bad thing? Why should you have to pay $25 for benefits when EVERYONE can have the benefits simply by registering the card.

You have to start over? Buy 5 drinks? First of all, is that confirmed? Second of all, isn't that relatively the same as paying another $25 for your Gold Card, which is what you'd be paying if they renewed the program!

So we're eliminating the buy-in factor and introducing a program that rewards you the more you use it. Wow, that really blows huh?? All the benefits and discounts introduced the past year and still it's nothing but whining. I know! Let's turn ourselves into a non-profit and give everything away for free! But you know what? Some of our customers would STILL find something to complain about.

It takes money to make money. It's a simple rule of business. The product and the partners who serve it COST MONEY. The more shit we give away for free the less money we have to pay for product and labor. Store Managers just got completely rear-ended with little to no pay raise this year. Why? Because the company feels it's more important to roll out card benefits and pairings and $2.95 instant coffee to give the customer a better deal. For the past year the company has put the customers first so my apologies, it annoys the hell out of me to still hear the constant stream of whining.


Asher--want to know why? Because as a daily customer, I bought in for the $25 bucks because I was rewarded for being there every day. For a lot of us, whatever sort of meal deal/improper ringing of Via doesn't save me any money, The gold card benefits was a way to reach out to a lot of the loyal customers and reward them.

Want to talk about the cost of business-maybe Starbucks should pay more attention to the fraud I keep reading about here (in regards to Via sales) and less time penalizing those of us that are in multiple times a day.

Glad to see now I'm going to be rewarded by my savings at the store cut more than in half. Just makes me think twice in the new year and cut back what I do get--and I'm sure I'm not the only one.


My pay increase wasnt effected by any of the above. It was in line with last years and the year before that.


I'm just a (pretty much former) customer, but it's so ironic that Starbucks positions itself as a "classy" company but comes up with all kinds of complications, fine print, and bureaucracy in everything they do.

This program sounds like what happens when lobbyists, politicians, and business leaders get together and come up with a contrived solution to some problem that doesn't exist, no?

I'm chuckling myself, but my sister works at Starbucks and I feel bad for what she'll have to go through with this.


Im glad im not stressing about it. Call customer service with your complaints!


Haha...not going that route again. I had a customer service issue about a year and a half ago and I didn't feel respected/valued at all by Starbucks customer service. My remedy? I cut back from about $100/month to $10/month on purchases from Starbucks. I'm so happy in retrospect they didn't give me the time of day in terms of customer service, since I've saved so much.


do you have to use the gold card/starbucks card to get the benefits? I don't keep money on my gold card...

Starbucksgossip webmaster

Asher - the company *has* released info on this. It's linked twice here.


The main problem I see is that people will no longer be able to get their two hours of internet right away when they register a new card. I think that will turn away a lot of people who would have registered their card under the current program. However, that could turn out to be better for baristas, since now we won't have to explain to as many people how to get the internet, and even walk some of them through it. It gets especially old for me, dealing with a largely non-native english speaking customer base at my store.


Pls don't tell me I'm going to have angry customers who think they are "due" for their free drink and I should give it to them even if the system denies it- or if they unknowingly use their free drink for a drip brew not a quad venti $$$$$....
-Livin la via loca

I would guess that there might be a count of how many drinks to go printed on receipts. If it's not something they've thought of, it should be easy enough to add post-launch after enough people complain.

Rae Whitlock

People seem to be forgetting that the Gold Card 10% discount works on more than just drinks. Probably just what Starbucks wants.

Gold Card customers are getting the shaft.

Coffeehouse Revolutionary

They've closed 1000 stores. They've cut labor to the bone--absolute bare minimum. They magically produced sandwiches that were good for 2 days in the cold case instead of just one. They even let Whole Bean supplies dry up this summer to artificially show "low inventory" on the balance sheets.
Apparently the only way they can keep the stock price moving is to cut the savings they so generously offered their most loyal customers just a year ago.
Seriously, if there's anyone out there that still actually believes Starbucks remotely resembles the company they used to claim to be, then I've got a bridge in New York City I'd like to sell you. Cheap.
FInd a nice local Indie shop. Spend your money in a neighborhood establishment and invest in your community one Latte at a time.

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