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Starbucks announced in an email to customers yesterday that it is revamping its rewards program, with the big change being that frequent shoppers will no longer have to wait for postcards that they can use to redeem for a free drink. Now, those rewards will load automatically onto the Starbucks card or mobile application, and consumers can redeem them simply by telling the barista.

In addition, Starbucks said that customers can redeem their freebie for any food product as well as drinks, and will get freebies for every 12 purchases, rather than 15.

Two previous benefits that are going away - Starbucks no longer will offer syrups and soymilk on the house, and no longer will offer a free tall drink when customers buy a pound of coffee.
KC's View:

I've been arguing for the automatic reward loads for as long as I've been using the Starbucks card and mobile app ... it simple makes sense, from both a marketing and technology point of view. Postcards are old world. Auto uploads are 21st century and relevant. (By using postcards, Starbucks almost certainly cut down on the number that got redeemed, which was it good for its bottom line. But it annoyed customers. Not a good trade off, as far as I'm concerned.)

I'm glad Starbucks has seen the light.

And the lesson is important. If you create a rewards program that serves your needs, it defeats the point. Such programs need to be built for shoppers' priorities.