The revamped system would make it harder for those who buy less-expensive items to get rewards, but easier for those who spend more per visit.

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Starbucks is changing how its customers accumulate rewards in its loyalty program, going from a system that rewards customers based on frequency of visits to one based on dollars spent.

In the current “My Starbucks Rewards” program, customers earn one “star” per visit, regardless of how much they spend.

Under the new program, which takes effect in April and is being renamed “Starbucks Rewards,” customers will earn two stars for every $1 spent.

The stars can be redeemed for anything on the menu in Starbucks stores.

The revamped system would make it harder for those who buy less-expensive items to get rewards, but easier for those who spend more per visit.

Starbucks’ loyalty program has been a driver of the company’s strong increase in comparable store sales. The 11 million members on average spend three times as much as nonmembers, company officials said.

But fewer than one in six of the 75 million customers who visit Starbucks in the U.S. each month are loyalty members, a rate far lower than in companies in other industries, Matthew Ryan, Starbucks’ chief strategy officer, said in a conference call with analysts Monday morning.

Ryan said he believes the change, which company executives said was the No. 1 requested change for the program, will motivate “more customers to join our loyalty program.”

Because customers will be earning more stars per transaction under the new program, Starbucks is also changing the number of stars needed to earn rewards.

It is also reducing the number of tiers of the program from the current three (welcome, green and gold) to two (green and gold).

Under the current system, customers need 30 stars to reach the gold level; gold members need 12 stars to get a reward.

Under the new program, customers need 300 stars to reach gold level; gold members need 125 stars to get a free reward. At the rate of two stars per dollar spent, that means it costs $62.50 to get the reward.

The change means that those who spend less per visit to Starbucks will now find it harder to get a reward.

For instance, if a gold-member customer typically spends $4 per visit to Starbucks, it takes 12 visits — or $48 — to get a reward under the current system.

But under the new system, which yields eight stars for each $4 spent, it would take a little more than 15 visits to get the 125 stars needed for a reward.

But for customers spending about $5.20 per visit currently, the new system will reward them at about the same rate. Obviously, those who spend more per visit will accumulate rewards even faster.

Company executives said they believe the new structure should drive up sales. “We believe customers, because they earn more, will spend more,” Chief Financial Officer Scott Maw said during the call.

Bonnie Herzog, a Wells Fargo analyst, said in a note Monday that the change should be good for Starbucks’ business. The new system should reduce the number of transactions but increase the amount of each transaction, as customers will “no longer be incentivized to ring up multiple purchases in separate transactions” but will instead spend more per visit “as rewards will be incrementally higher for those customers that spend more,” she wrote.

Starbucks did not announce any new partnerships for its loyalty program during the call.

The company has partneredwith Spotify, The New York Times and Lyft, offering Starbucks’ rewards-program members benefits with those companies and offering customers of those companies opportunities to earn Starbucks stars. Companies pay Starbucks to be allowed to offer the stars.

Ryan hinted at more announcements to come on that front, saying that because the value of each star is smaller now, they’re more useful at more places. “That opens up a lot of categories,” he said.