At the same time Starbucks is getting rid of its gold card, which cost $25 a year and was used by Starbucks' most loyal customers to get 10 percent discounts, the company is discontinuing its Duetto Visa card too. The Visa program began in 2003 with Bank One -- now part of JPMorgan Chase (like...

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At the same time Starbucks is getting rid of its gold card, which cost $25 a year and was used by Starbucks’ most loyal customers to get 10 percent discounts, the company is discontinuing its Duetto Visa card too. The Visa program began in 2003 with Bank One — now part of JPMorgan Chase (like WaMu is).

Starbucks, Chase and Canadian card issuer RBC have “decided not to renew the credit card partnership,” said Starbucks spokesman Alan Hilowitz. The stored value that customers earned on their cards will be sent to them in the form of a Starbucks card.

Some cardholders are unhappy about losing another chance to earn rewards at their favorite coffee shop chain. “I had even put the kids’ tuition on the Duetto card to get the ‘Starbucks bucks’ rewards that were redeemable in stores,” a reader told The Consumerist.

His reaction is mild compared to the flames coming from people losing their gold card discount and rewards. They do not dig the new, one-size-fits-all Starbucks card, which at its highest level offers a free drink after every 15 purchases. A single purchase includes everything bought at one time, even if it’s three drinks.

Geoff Saunders of Queen Anne e-mailed to say that his gold card expires in a few weeks. “After that, I expect that the independent stores will get the majority of my business. The independents, as you know, all offer a 10-drink punch card, but Starbucks will offer a free drink after 15 visits. In this economy, that doesn’t play well,” he wrote.

He also doesn’t like Starbucks’ new method. It requires that purchases be made with stored value on the Starbucks cards, which some see as a no-interest loan to the company. And once the 15 transactions have occurred, Starbucks mails customers a coupon. “Snail mailing a piece of cardboard is hardly environmentally sensitive, and in this tech savvy-town it seems antiquated,” Saunders wrote.

He points to several signs of customer revolt, including the web site Starbucks Revolt and Facebook pages called “New Starbucks Gold Card Sucks!”, “Boycott Starbucks Gold Card”, and “New Gold Card – No 10%”.

Similar sentiments appear at My Starbucks Idea, a site run by the coffee company to garner ideas from customers.