The Chain Gang

Starbucks’s New Rewards Program Is Off to a Terrible Start

A dramatization of the rewards program in action.
A dramatization of the rewards program in action. Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks

Starbucks’s controversial new less-rewarding rewards program debuted today, and based on what customers are saying online, the word underwhelming is perhaps a too-nice description of it. The news that the coffee giant was tweaking the program to reward cardholders for total dollars spent instead of number of drinks ordered didn’t go over super well back in February. Almost nobody was psyched to learn it’d soon take $62.50 to get a free coffee, eliminating those days of gaming the system by ordering a dozen tall Pikes for less than half that amount and going for broke on that free 13th drink.Starbucks made no changes between then and the launch, but today’s anger hasn’t been directed at abstract concepts like “unfairness,” because people are apparently too busy having problems loading the app itself. Lots of customers are finding that their gold-card status has been wiped clean, while others are running into log-in issues and can’t even make purchases. As a result, today’s worst first-world job is officially running the official @starbucksgold Twitter account.


Starbucks’s New Rewards Program Off to Bad Start