Food inflation has caused popular retailers to jack up the prices of some of their most popular menu items, leaving longtime customers miffed that their favorite products are taking more cash out of their pockets.
Starbucks is no exception to these increased food costs. Mobile Cuisine documented the jumps in price for the Seattle-based coffee chain, providing up-to-date information for the franchise’s menu. They also stated that word on the street from baristas is that prices are going to jump even further.
The Krazy Koupon Lady blog also wrote that the price of Starbucks products and add-ons have gone up in 2023, and upset social media users said they’ve noticed the cost of beverages go up. One person on Twitter who published on May 29 said the cost of a flat white went up over the course of a single day.
It appears that these same price hikes are also being applied to Starbucks’ Star Rewards program, with customers getting less for their points than they did a few months earlier. Axios delineated that the “tier levels” of rewards items are shifting by 50 points—50-star rewards items will now cost 100 stars, 150-star items will now cost 200 stars, and 200-star items will now cost 300 stars.
TikToker Alexia (@_lexilex_) shared a way she could get the most bang for her buck when it comes to using Star rewards points. She says that ever since the chain upped the amount of Star Rewards points customers needed for beverages, toppings/customizations included, she’s had to get creative in crafting her beverage. So, instead of using said points on caramel topping, she decided to buy her own sauce to add to her drink.
In the video, Alexia squeezes a bottle of Ghirardelli premium caramel sauce over a Starbucks beverage. She writes in a text overlay of the video, “Pov: Starbucks raised their star rewards and some toppings by $.10.”
In May 2023, it was reported that Starbucks raised the prices of customizations made to its Refresher drinks, which seems to be a part of a greater cost increase strategy being implemented.
According to Grounds to Brew, extra caramel drizzle will run a customer about 60 cents. However, while Starbucks has not officially made an announcement on the price increase on toppings, baristas under one Reddit post claimed the coffee company raises its prices every new launch. Another Reddit post showed that adding a caramel drizzle would now cost the customer 70 cents.
Viewers who saw Alexia’s post complained that the Starbucks employees they’ve encountered are stingy when it comes to caramel topping.
“The one by my house be acting like standard caramel comes out their pay check,” a user wrote.
Someone else suggested that the best way to use Star Rewards is to use the 25 points for toppings or customizations as it ends up costing customers less.
“Just always use the 25 stars for customizations it adds up way more then waiting to earn a free drink,” they wrote.
One person who said they worked as a barista for Starbucks claimed they were impressed with Alexia’s ingenuity.
“As a barista this is smart,” they shared.
The Daily Dot reached out to Starbucks via email and Alexia via TikTok comment.