New Starbucks Gold Card
New Starbucks Gold Card

The hot Starbucks topic of the moment is the new Starbucks loyalty/Gold Card program, and so here I am joining in the conversation.  Previously, I’ve already posted about this at Starbucks Gossip, but here’s another round of conversation on the new Gold Card.  And I’d love to hear from others what you-all think about it? In short, the new program rewards customers with beverages after earning a certain base level of stars, and then free beverages every 15 stars. One star is earned with one transaction. This means that a customer purchasing a tall Latte, an oatmeal, and a Naked orange juice will be best served by splitting this into three transactions, thus earning 3 stars.  If that same customer buys the Latte, oatmeal, and juice on one receipt only, he or she has only earned one star.

My take on the new program is that is structured as a beverage rewards program that will benefit the casual to fairly frequent espresso beverage customer who often purchases a latte with a small item. This is a large group of customers: They get a latte and a pastry, and now if they split it into two transactions, they’ve got two stars.  Consequently, many folks will love this new program.

This new program is NOT  a great benefit for the highly frequent customer who purchases a wide variety of items. Personally, I purchase an absurd amount of whole bean coffee each month.  This is because there are two avid coffee drinkers in my home, as well as I use whole bean coffee as “prizes” often when I run twitter contests looking for comments on this blog.  Many of the beans I purchase do NOT come in one-pound sizes, and can only be purchased in one-half size flavor lock bags, thus are not eligible for any standard current registered card reward. For example, if you go back and look at my blog on the Clover coffee experience, you’ll see that Guatemala Antigua Medina, and Aged Sumatra are only available in one half-pound sizes. This means that the customer who spends $12.00 on a half pound of Aged Sumatra is still earning just “one star” exactly the same as the person who is buying one cookie. (Yes, Aged Sumatra retails at $12.00 for a half pound at Starbucks).  Another example of a bean that cannot be purchased in a whole pound size is Pike Place Special Reserve – which makes a great twitter contest reward since it is a coffee unique to Seattle.

I confess that now and then I buy other things at Starbucks too. I bought both Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band remastered Beatles CDs at Starbucks. I buy a new tumbler now and then. Again, I lose the ten percent discount and I’m still earning just one single star.  Furthermore, I’m not totally sure I want to be rewarded with the same reward over and over again: a million beverages. I could soon be swimming in a sea of free beverages.

Having said all that, I still think that lots of people will love this new program, but it’s just not designed for customers like me. Sigh.

What do you readers think?

[And for further conversation on this, has had a number of threads on the topic, such as this one here.]