Starbucks will require more stars for free items in February

Starbucks barista holds coffee at drive-thru window
Starbucks

It will soon cost you more to earn free items through Starbucks rewards program. The coffee chain is increasing the amount of stars — their version of points — you’ll need to earn things such as free coffee or bakery items.

Starbucks has announced that beginning Feb. 13, the number of stars you’ll need will increase for some items as much as twofold. For example, the current rewards program lets you get a free hot coffee, tea or baked good for 50 stars, but you’ll soon need 100 stars to get one of those items for free.

Other changes include going from 150 stars to 200 stars for free cold brews, lattes and all other handcrafted drinks, plus hot breakfast items. Lunch items like salads and salads are going up, too, from 200 stars to 300 stars.

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Some packaged snacks, croissants and to-go cups will also be available for 100 stars, while there’s a new option for using 300 stars — you can pick up up packaged coffee.

What will remain the same? For 25 stars, you’ll still be able to add an espresso shot, syrup or alternative milk to a drink, and 400 stars can still get you merchandise like cups.

Starbucks Rewards members earn 1 star for every $1 they spend, or 2 stars per every $1 paid from a pre-loaded card, so the way members earn stars will not be changing. That means, for example, right now you’ll need to spend $50 to get the 50 stars required for a free hot coffee, tea or baked good, but after the change, you’ll need to spend $100 for 100 stars.

There is some good news, however, if you like cold drinks. Iced coffee and iced tea will now be available for 100 stars, down from the current 150 stars, so if that’s how you like to spend your rewards, the change actually works in your favor.

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According to CNN, Starbucks informed rewards members about the change  via email and through the Starbucks app after Business Insider first reported the news, citing an internal memo.

“We occasionally need to make changes to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Starbucks Rewards program and to meet the changing needs of our members,” the company told Axios after Insider reported on the leaked memo.

If you’re wanting to use up some of the stars you currently have before the increase, Starbucks’ January menu is out now and features a new Pistachio Cream cold brew made with Starbucks cold brew that is sweetened with vanilla syrup. The drink is then topped with silky pistachio cream cold foam and salted brown buttery sprinkles.

Starbucks

By Kaitlin Gates, for Scripps News

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