I am excited to share the next evolution of our loyalty program. While both Starbucks Card Rewards and Starbucks Gold exceeded our expectations, we are always looking for ways to improve our programs and we received a lot of great feedback on what we could do differently. Launching on December 26, 2009, My Starbucks Rewards will combine many elements of both programs – with no membership fee! – into one simplified program.
On more than one occasion, I have been in line at my local Starbucks and saw one of our wonderful Gold members pull out a Gold card AND a registered Starbucks Card and ask which card would provide the better discount. I don’t blame them at all! Both programs were launched with good intent to provide value to our customers, but we quickly understood we could make the experience easier.
My Starbucks Rewards will have different levels that customers can earn their way into by collecting stars for each time they visit a participating store in the U.S. and pay with their registered Starbucks Card. The great news is that once you move up a level – you continue to get all of the benefits you received in the previous level. Many of these benefits will seem very familiar – free drink on your birthday, free flavored syrups and brewed refills. Others have changed. For example while the program won’t offer the 10% discount, once a customer reaches the Gold Level, they will be able to start earning free drinks based on the number of stars they collect. Since I know many of you are very frequent customers and have asked to be rewarded in a way that acknowledges this, I am hoping this is really good news!
A couple of other changes that were based directly on customer feedback include the ability to use any Card that is registered to your account (except Duetto®). This means if you got a snazzy customized card from your special someone, once registered, you can use that and receive all of the great benefits associated with whatever level you are in. That said, for members who reach the Gold Level, we will be sending them a personalized Starbucks Card – something we have wanted to do for a long time.
Additionally, while we continue to work on ensuring benefits can be redeemed at all stores, I can tell you that with the new program – at a minimum, you will earn a star every time you use your registered Card at a location in the U.S. that accepts the Starbucks Card.
Finally, current Gold members may be wondering what happens to them with this new program. Of course we will honor the full term of all memberships. In fact, as a special thank you to our dear early-joiners, memberships set to expire prior to the end of the year will be extended to January 5, 2010. Upon expiration, Gold Card members will automatically transition into the new Gold Level of MSR. Between now and 12.26.09, registered cardholders will automatically transition into the Green Level.
Well, despite the length of this blog, I’ve probably raised more questions than I’ve answered, which is why we have created a massive FAQ page at Starbucks.com/rewards. I will end by saying we really did try to fix many of the biggest concerns we heard from our customers. I hope you like it – please let us know what you think!
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