Starbucks faces backlash over My Rewards

Starbucks has been slammed by customers angry about losing out on benefits under the new loyalty scheme My Rewards.


Since launching the Starbucks My rewards programme last week (5 January) Starbucks Facebook page has been inundated with complaints calling it “disappointing ” and “badly thought out”. Many have threatened to defect to rivals such as Costa, Pret a Manger and Nero.

Regular customers have complained that Starbucks card users no longer receive 50p off filter coffee, that an offer giving a free drink with the purchase of a bag of Starbucks ground coffee has been revoked and that the 50 stars necessary to retain “Gold membership” is too high, and more than the 30 stars required by US customers.

The chain is also facing criticism that the scheme only rewards the number of transactions, rather than the value, which means that customers buying multiple drinks in one transaction only receive one loyalty star, rather than one star per drink.

Starbucks concedes that while it is removing these offers, it has chosen to do so because the majority of customers are latte and cappuccino drinkers and only a small minority of its customers chose filter coffee, adding that the new scheme has been designed to reward all customers irrespective of what drink they chose.

A spokeswoman for Starbucks says: “We appreciate that a small number of customers on social media are being very vocal, in our stores we’re seeing a positive movement towards the My Rewards scheme and record traffic on our site for people registering cards and opting in to offers. by far, latte and cappuccino are our best sellers and only a small percentage of sales is filter coffee. The scheme looks at rewarding a lot more people than the previous niche offer.”

She adds that Starbucks will take feedback on board but could not say whether the 50p off filter coffee deal would be reinstated at a later date.

Starbucks is also answering questions via social media and that its store staff are well briefed to talk to customers about the details.

When asked by Marketing Week about early criticisms on Facebook as the UK programme launched, Brian Waring, Starbucks vice president of marketing for the EMEA region, insisted that “no one will lose benefits” because existing registered users will automatically become Gold members.

Waring also highlighted that the scheme “subtly” differs from the US scheme by rewarding frequency of visits to Starbucks above additional products to customise drinks.

Read a Q&A with Brian Waring on the day of the launch of My Rewards.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here