Starbucks Is Changing Its Rewards Program — Here's What You Need to Know

You might want to redeem your current Stars now.

Starbucks coffee sign hanging outside a shop
Photo: JohnFScott/Getty Images

We really don't like being the bearer of bad news, but, if you're a Starbucks frequenter, you're not going to like what the coffee chain recently announced. Beginning in mid-February, Starbucks' fan-favorite rewards program is changing — and it will be harder to get free coffee.

In December, Starbucks emailed its rewards members to let them know its Terms of Use would be changing in 2023. If you, like most people who receive these messages, didn't click on the link, then you wouldn't have seen that Starbucks is increasing the Stars needed to redeem free drinks.

How Starbucks' Rewards Are Changing

Starting on February 13, you will need 50 to 100 more Stars to redeem free brewed hot coffee, tea, handcrafted beverages, bakery items, breakfast items, and lunch items. The new Star redemptions are as follows:

  • 100 Stars (previously 50 Stars) can be redeemed for a free hot brewed coffee, hot steeped tea, iced brewed coffee, ice brewed tea, a bakery item (like a cake pop or cookie), a packaged snack (like popcorn), a cold plastic to-go cup, or a hot plastic to-go cup.
  • 200 Stars (previously 150 Stars) can be redeemed for a free handcrafted beverage (like a latte or Frappuccino) or a hot breakfast item (like a sandwich).
  • 300 Stars (previously 200 Stars) can be redeemed for a packaged salad, lunch sandwich, protein box, or packaged coffee item (like coffee grounds).

The 25-Star and 400-Star redemption tiers will not change. You can still use 25 Stars for free beverage modifiers and 400 Stars for free merchandise (up to $20).

Despite the fact that most of the redemption values increased, it isn't all bad news. With this new redemption system, iced coffee, iced tea, and at-home coffee products are actually valued less than they were in the old system. Currently, you need 150 Stars to get a free iced coffee or iced tea and 400 Stars to redeem free at-home coffee products. We know it's not a huge win, but it's still a win.

And the other good news is, the Star increase doesn't take effect until February 13, so you can still redeem your Stars at their current value. That means if you've been saving up to get your favorite Starbucks coffee as a Venti with an extra shot of espresso, you should do it now!

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