Coffee inflation: Starbucks Rewards announces upcoming changes to its redemption rates

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Whether you’re a coffee addict or a seasonal sipper, chances are you’re swiping your credit card (or, hopefully, scanning your digital gift card) at Starbucks pretty regularly.

The ability to stack credit card rewards and Starbucks Rewards Stars on each purchase can help ease the pain of the premium prices that likely accompany your beloved coffee concoctions.

But starting Feb. 13, 2023, it will take more caffeine than ever to earn a free drink and pastry at Starbucks. To the dismay of Star redeemers everywhere, Starbucks Rewards has announced changes to its redemption rates.

Specifically, here are the new requirements:

  • 100 Stars: Redeem for any size brewed coffee or tea (hot or iced), a bakery item, a packaged snack, a 24-ounce cold Siren logo plastic to-go cup or a 16-ounce Siren logo plastic hot cup.
  • 200 Stars: Any handcrafted beverage or hot breakfast item.
  • 300 Stars: Any lunch sandwich, salad, protein box or packaged coffee item (such as whole bean coffee).

For reference, here are the old requirements in effect until Feb 13:

  • 25 Stars: Drink modifications (such as an extra shot)
  • 50 Stars: Any size hot coffee, tea or a bakery item
  • 150 Stars: Handcrafted beverages (including iced coffee), oatmeal or a breakfast sandwich
  • 200 Stars: Lunch sandwiches, salads or protein boxes
  • 400 Stars: Packaged coffee or a single merchandise item up to $20

These new redemption rates aren’t great if you prefer to redeem your Stars for bakery items, most beverage options, lunch sandwiches, etc. But it’s not all bad news if you like to DIY your morning brew and redeem stars for packaged coffee, as that item will cost 100 fewer Stars with these changes. Additionally, iced coffee drinkers who were punished for their love of ice with the 150 Star category last go around may catch a break this time as it appears that drink’s award price drops from 150 to 100 Stars.

If you don’t like these coming changes, and most likely won’t, you can redeem your stash of Stars at the current rates before Feb. 13, 2023. But, some coffee drinkers may prefer to keep their Stars for a boost once the changes go into effect. Just make sure you use your Stars within six months of earning them to ensure they don’t expire.

Regardless of your redemption strategy, ensure you’re getting maximum value from your Starbucks purchases. You’ll earn 2 Stars per dollar by paying with either a physical or digital Starbucks gift card, so load your account with the best credit card to make your Starbucks purchase and then mobile order or pay the app with your Starbucks credit.

You’ll also want to ensure you’ve linked your Starbucks and Delta SkyMiles accounts. By doing so, you’ll earn at least one Delta mile per dollar spent on your eligible Starbucks purchases.

Even with this Starbucks Rewards change, you can still earn three different types of rewards with each caffeinated purchase. And we’ll drink to that.