On Feb. 13th, Starbucks changed its famed “star” system so that items cost more stars than they did previously.
Starbucks Star system is a loyalty program in which customers can accrue “stars” from purchases that allow them to get free items over time.
“It now takes 100 stars to qualify for a hot coffee or tea, twice the number needed previously,” explains CNET author Dan Avery. “You’ll have to rack up 200 stars to get a latte or Frappuccino, up from 150, and the ‘cost’ of a sandwich has increased from 200 stars to 300.”
While the move may seem minor, it’s caused a significant fallout from those who have spent their dollars accruing stars with the hopes of cashing them out for free goods.
This can be seen on TikTok, where a user recently went viral expressing their dismay at the new prices.
And capitalism continues to fail us!!!♬ original sound – user6934054176375
In a video with over 702,000 views as of Friday, TikTok user @user453902357 writes, “Today I walked into Starbucks and was told I needed 100 stars for a croissant instead of 50. It changed today. We live in a dystopian society.”
While the seriousness of the TikToker’s text is up for debate, users took to the comments section to express their frustration about the new prices.
“200 for a drink now,” a user said. “why is there star inflation it’s not even a real currency.”
“But if inflation makes the drink more expensive and you have to buy stuff to get points,” a second explained. “isnt the inflation already applied to the points?”
“Me going to use my 174 stars on my coffee this morning and it only covering my croissant was heartbreaking,” recalled another.
“Me saving the 150 free drink I earned last week for a ‘bad day,’” a further TikToker added.
Some expressed worry that this change was not adequately conveyed to customers, leading to potential negative interactions between shoppers and baristas.
“Rip to all my barista babes who are gonna get yelled at even though we can’t control this,” a commenter wrote.
“No joke the new spring training has a module on how to deal with customer complaints about the new star system,” claimed a second.
“I work at starbucks and I’ve already been yelled at 7 times because of this and it started yesterday,” alleged a third.
A few commenters are ready to swear off the chain for good.
“I literally give up on starbucks,” stated a user. “I can’t anymore.”
“I’ve been a loyal Starbucks customer for 10+ years and I’m done with them unless I have a gift card,” said an additional TikToker. “I make espresso drinks at home.”
We’ve reached out to Starbucks via email and @user453902357 via TikTok comment.