Changes to Starbucks' Reward Program Anger Lactose-Intolerant Customers

The perks look great, but not to those who need soy milk in their coffee beverages

When Starbucks first made the announcement of its revamped Rewards program, even our own executive editor rejoiced at the benefits: more (digital rewards), more often. But one group of Rewards customers is not too pleased with Starbucks for changing its policy on soy in beverages.

Before, Rewards customers could get soy milk (and syrups) added in for free in their drinks. No more: Business Insider shares that it will no longer be on the house once the new Rewards program kicks in. No one's raising a fuss about the syrups, but the extra charge for soy milk is angering the lactose-intolerant crowd. Many people have already denounced their support for Starbucks, saying they won't be coughing up an extra $0.60 for soy milk.

 Said one Consumerist reader, "Starbucks has been oh so kind to offer soy milk free of charge for those who have gold card status and spend a significant amount of moolah each year at their retail locations... We are SHOCKED that this is ending." 

And yes, there is a petition to get Starbucks to change its tune. The petition on states that the "coffee cop" is denying consumers a healthier, environmentally friendly cow's milk alternative. (Soy milk does have its perks.) But will it be enough to change the Rewards policies? 

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SirMark's picture

One need only read any number of the hundreds of comments regarding syrup at MSI, to know that people are certainly kicking up a fuss over the change eliminating syrup as a 'free' reward.

As a long time Starbucks customer I welcome the change in the rewards program. What Starbucks has needed for so long is a rewards program that is simple to understand, and easy to implement. The 'old' rewards program was very confusing as to what was, and what was not included. Even Starbucks own presently posted rules at their website were not considered to be completely accurate, and entirely representative of the rewards program! Did you receive a free hand crafted tall beverage when you purchased a half pound of premium RESERVE coffee (or even two half pound packs combined?), or only with one single purchase of a whole pound package of whole beans? Without soy, and syrup being offered in the new reward program, much of the confusion over what exactly a 'syrup' is, have been eliminated. Mocha was always a point of contention for many customers who presumed it to be a 'syrup'. MOCHA was always considered by Starbucks to be a sauce,and not a syrup! Though WHITE CHOCOLATE MOCHA sauce, was clearly labeled on the bottle produced for, and labeled by Starbucks as a "SYRUP'- talk about confusing! Not even Starbucks could get their terminology straight. (pet peeve- corporate incompetence front and centre)

Now with the reduction of stars needed for a free reward from fifteen to twelve for a free 'item'- including food, not just a hand crafted beverage, a greater degree of fairness has come about. While wholly my opinion, I like the NEW rewards program!

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