Coffee: By the Numbers

Starbucks just sweetened the pot on its loyalty rewards program. Here’s how.

Starbucks has announced several enhancements coming soon to its Starbucks Rewards loyalty program that will make it easier for the program’s 16 million members to collect “stars,” or loyalty  points, and score free food and beverages.

Starting April 16, all Starbucks loyalty program members will be able to earn and redeem “Stars” for rewards immediately after joining the program, which means means members can earn enough Stars to redeem a reward in as few as two or three visits. And members will have more ways to use their star-points toward free items.

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The move comes as Starbucks has been targeted by several other national chains, including McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, that are seeking to take away some of its coffee business. Earlier this week, Burger King called out Starbucks’ prices in a news release when it introduced a special $5-a-month BK Cafe coffee subscription offer. “For the price of a large cappuccino from Starbucks, you can have a BK Café brewed coffee every day for a month,” Burger King officials wrote.

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The Starbucks Rewards program, introduced in 2009, has grown more than 25 percent over the past two years, and Starbucks Rewards transactions accounted for 40 percent of money spent in company-operated stores in the U.S. in the same time frame, Starbucks officials said in a release

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 Members will continue to earn 2 Stars for every $1 spent when using a registered Starbucks Card for eligible purchases at Starbucks stores. Effective April 16, Starbucks will offer a new, tiered rewards structure, offering customers more ways to use their Stars toward free items.

For 25 Stars, customers can get an Extra Espresso Shot, Dairy Substitute or Additional Flavor; for 50 Stars, they can score a Brewed Hot Coffee, Hot Tea or select Bakery Items.

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For 150 Stars, diners can order a Handcrafted Drink, Hot Breakfast or Yogurt Parfait for free, while 200 Stars will earn a Lunch Sandwich, Protein Box or Salad.

And for Chase Credit- or Debit-card holders, Stars earned by Starbucks Rewards Visa Credit and Prepaid members will no longer expire, Starbucks officials said.

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A Starbucks release said the program enhancements “build on existing program benefits that will remain available to all members. In addition to earning 2 Stars for every $1 spent in Starbucks stores, members enjoy free brewed hot coffee and tea refills, a free birthday treat and exclusive personalized offers, along with dozens of additional opportunities to earn Bonus Stars through monthly Double Star Days and more.”

Starbucks had been in rapid expansion mode across Dayton’s suburbs through early 2018, although the pace of growth has slowed in the last year.

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A new Starbucks opened in February 2018 at 860 W. Central Ave. (Ohio 73) just east of the I-75 interchange in Springboro. That Springboro opening followed by a few weeks the opening of one of the largest Starbucks shops in the Miami Valley, at 919 Lyons Road at Miamisburg-Centerville Road (Ohio 725) in Washington Twp. The 3,400-square-foot structure previously housed a KeyBank branch.

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Prior to that, the nation’s largest retail coffee chain opened locations across from The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek, near Meijer in Englewood, and on East Dayton-Yellow Springs Road in Fairborn.