Mayfield: Inflation has hit the Starbucks rewards system

Feb 13, 2023, 9:13 AM | Updated: 1:19 pm
A Starbucks customer uses the Starbucks iPhone app to pay for a coffee at a store in Los Angeles. (Photo by Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
(Photo by Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Check your horoscope; your stars are aligned. Don’t wait. Do it today.

By stars, I mean your Starbucks points. By aligned, I mean you’ve been saving them for a splurge, and by don’t wait, do it today. I mean, don’t wait, do it today.

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Spend them today or this weekend. Why? Because Monday, Starbucks is changing its entire rewards program, and things that right now are 50 points will be 100 points. Things that are 150 points will be 200 points, and so on and so forth.

So if you hold on to those points, the ones that you have right now, you’re going to lose a lot of their value at the dawn of next week.

Well, this isn’t sitting well with a lot of Starbucks customers. The company is simply shrugging and blaming inflation while trying to juice its bottom line.

‘Look, the airlines did it,’ they say, ‘with frequent flyer miles, hotels too, with their points.’

What’s my recourse, you might ask?

Well, first, you should quit Starbucks entirely.

Instead, get your caffeine and your snacks from a small, locally-owned shop down the street from where you live. Maybe they pay a livable wage and offer health care, all kinds of good things.

They even still have those paper punch cards for free drinks. Or, if Starbucks is just too convenient, starting Monday, you could be super smart about what you buy when you collect those points at Starbucks.

Iced coffee and iced tea, for example, they’re actually going down from 150 points to 100 points, and packaged coffee is going down as well. 400 points are what you have to pay today, but by next week, it’ll be 300 points.

Even some select merchandise in the store is dropping from 200 to 100 points. Buy only those things, and your stars will actually be worth more than today.

You still earn the same amount in the same way, it just won’t be as easy as it used to be to get something for free. But if you read the fine print of that email, Starbucks just said all of us, and you count your points accordingly. You can still make them align just for you.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Mayfield: Inflation has hit the Starbucks rewards system