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Starbucks Coffee storefront


Starbucks is changing their rewards program starting today.

Customers still earn stars, which can be redeemed for free drinks and treats, but earning those stars could cost you.

Since the new rewards rules, which were announced in February, are now officially kicking in, it's time to brush up on what to expect:

Starbucks Rewards


With the new rewards rules, customers in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico will earn two stars for each dollar spent instead of one star per visit.

What does that mean? Things are changing for what it takes to reach "gold" status and to earn those freebies.

It now takes 300 stars to reach gold level status at Starbucks, which means spending approximately $150 to get there.

If you're a gold member, you need 125 stars for a free Starbucks drink or food item.

At two stars per $1 spent, that means shelling out $62.50 to nab something for free.

So, if you're someone who usually goes in every morning for a black coffee that's $2, it's going to take you a lot longer to earn those free drinks.

Starbucks pumpkin spice latte


Still want to get something free every 12 or so trips? That means spending at least $5.20 per trip to get you to that 125 stars ($62.50.)

If you like making it rain venti frappuccinos and pastries all day, 'err day, then this isn't as big of a challenge for you.

How can we get you to approximately $63 at Starbucks?

Well, using this price list, that's at least:

  • 18 Grande Caffe Lattes ($3.65 each)
  • 34 Tall Brewed Coffees (1.85 each)
  • 22 Venti Iced Coffees ($2.95 each)
  • 15 Grande Mocha Frappuccinos ($4.45 each)
  • 23 Chocolate Croissants ($2.75 each)
  • 17 Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Breakfast Sandwiches ($3.75 each)
  • 12 Protein Bistro Boxes ($5.25 each)

Or how about this...

If every morning you order a Grande Coffee ($2.10) and a Bacon & Gouda Breakfast Sandwich ($3.75), that's $5.85 a day—which gets you to a freebie every dozen or so visits.

Ultimately, some customers who used to spend $24 to get to a reward in 12 visits, now have to spend $62.50 to get there.

Bigger Starbucks spenders will see more stars (and more rewards) in their future.

That's the way the croissant crumbles.