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Yahoo Finance reports that "Starbucks is updating its reward program, making it tougher for customers to score freebies with 'stars,' or points, in 2023 … Effective February 13, reward members will need 100 stars, up from 50, to get a free hot or iced coffee, tea, bakery item, packaged snack or a plastic to-go cup. Previously, iced coffee or tea was not included in this level.

"The next tier is 200 stars, formerly 150, to score a handcrafted beverage like a latte, Frappuccino, or any hot breakfast item. To round out the updates, 300-star customers can get a packaged salad, lunch sandwich, or protein box. The 300-star tier will also include packaged coffee (a bag of whole beans to make at home), which was previously 400 stars."

It is, the story says, "the first structural change for members since 2019."  The company said in a statement that "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."

KC's View:

It usually isn't a good look when retailers change the terms of frequent shopper programs so that it is harder for best customers to earn rewards.  "Ensure sustainability of the program" is code for improving the bottom line … the question is, at what cost?