Brace yourself, coffee lovers — changes to the Starbucks Rewards program have arrived on Feb. 13, 2023. And straight up, it’s gonna cost more of your rewards points — called Stars — to get freebies. Although Starbucks fans aren’t happy about this change, it has been expected, since Starbucks prices have gone up too. And to lessen the sting, Starbucks has added some new items to redeem through the program.
We’ve done the research for you and have all the information you need to make the most of these changes and even some tips and tricks to maximize your rewards and get the most value out of the program.
So don’t worry; you can still enjoy your favorite Starbucks treats without breaking the bank. We have all the information you need to know if you’re looking for all the ways to get free Starbucks.
Most Starbucks Rewards tiers increased by 50 to 100 ‘Stars.’
With the exception of the lowest tier (25 Stars) and the highest tier (400 Stars) of the Starbucks Rewards program, every other level has increased by 50 or 100 Stars.
You’ll still earn one Star per $1 spent or two Stars per $1 spent using a preloaded Starbucks card registered with your rewards account.
Here are the reward tiers as of Feb. 13, 2023:
- 25 Stars (unchanged): You can add an extra shot of espresso (regularly $0.70), dairy substitute (regularly $0.50), or add an extra dash of your favorite syrup (regularly $0.80)
- 100 Stars (previously 50 Stars): Brewed tea (regularly $3.25), coffee (regularly $2.95), or bakery item (regularly $2.25 – $3.75)
- 200 Stars (previously 150 Stars): Handcrafted drinks (regularly $5.25) or hot breakfast items (regularly $5.45)
- 300 Stars (previously 200 Stars): sandwich (regularly $7.25) or protein box (regularly $6.75)
- 400 Stars (unchanged): select merchandise (regularly $17.99) or at-home coffee (regularly $13.95)
TIP: You can always get a discount at Starbucks when you purchase a discounted Starbucks gift card.
The higher reward thresholds are outpacing Starbucks price increases.
Customers have seen Starbucks price increases over the past couple of years, meanwhile the Starbucks Rewards program has stayed the same.
When Starbucks raised prices, it gave customers a faster track toward freebies. Since you earn two Stars for every $1, spending more dollars in store means more Stars and more freebies.
While it might look like Starbucks is just trying to have their rewards program match their price increases, that’s not true. Most items on the Starbucks menu have seen price increases of 10% – 25%. But the new rewards thresholds are 33% – 100% higher than they had been. So they’re more than making up for the extra points you’ll earn from their price increases.
New items are added to the Starbucks Rewards program.
With the increase in the Starbucks Rewards price tiers, Starbucks also added a few items that you can earn. Depending on your preferred Starbucks order, this might make the changes worth it for you. Here are all the items added to the rewards program:
- 100 Stars ($50 spent): Iced coffee (reg. $4.45), iced tea (reg. $3.45), ham & cheese croissant (reg. $4.45), packaged snack (reg. $2.35), Siren Plastic To-Go Cup (reg. $3), or Siren Plastic Hot Cup (reg. $2)
- 300 Stars ($150 spent): Packaged coffee (reg. $13.95)
TIP: When you use a reusable cup at Starbucks, you’ll be able to get a $0.10 discount and 25 Stars added to your account.
You’ll get the most out of your Starbucks Rewards account with the 300 ‘Star’ tier.
When you use your Starbucks Rewards account for packaged coffee, you’ll get a 4.7% cash-back value. Other rewards will get you from 2.7% to 4.5% cash back when you spend your Stars on the highest-priced item. It’s a far cry from the 15% maximum value of the past.
Here’s the breakdown of the highest-priced item on each rewards tier:
- 25 Stars: 4% cash back in rewards
- 100 Stars: 4.5% cash back in rewards
- 200 Stars: 2.7% cash back in rewards
- 300 Stars: 4.7% cash back in rewards
- 400 Stars: 4.5% cash back in rewards
Is the Starbucks Rewards account still worth it?
If you need to get a Starbucks fix, the Starbucks Rewards program will always be worth it. All the existing rewards, such as the free birthday drink, are still going to be available (unlike the Dunkin’ Rewards program which got rid of their birthday reward).
However, you’ll have to spend a lot more money to get your free drinks or Starbucks merchandise, so you won’t be getting rewards as often as you had in the past. If you wanted to get a Starbucks latte or specialty drink, you’ll need to earn 33% more Stars than you had in the past.