Starbucks, Amazon Customers in for Unhappy Changes

Starbucks changes loyalty program, Amazon changes free shipping
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2016 7:10 PM CST
Starbucks, Amazon Customers in for Unhappy Changes
In this Jan. 11, 2016, photo, a man sits inside a Starbucks in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

(Newser) – Both Starbucks and Amazon are in the news for recent changes—and not necessarily good ones:

  • Starbucks is changing its rewards program in a fashion that hurts people who don't spend much per visit. Right now, loyalty program members earn a free food item or beverage after earning 12 stars, and one star is earned per transaction (so you can buy a $2 coffee each time and only spend about $24 to earn a freebie), the AP reports. But come April, members will need 125 stars to earn a free item and will earn two stars for every dollar spent (which means, no matter what, members will have to spend $62.50 to get a freebie). CNNMoney and the New York Daily News are rounding up reactions from unhappy customers: "@Starbucks crowing 'you'll earn stars faster!'" reads one tweet, "but you'll need more than 10x the stars to get a freebie. That's inflation, not incentive." Read Starbucks' take on the change here.

  • Meanwhile, anyone not a member of Amazon Prime will now have to spend $49 in order to get free shipping on Amazon, the AP reports. Previously, the threshold for free shipping was $35 for non-Prime members. As Mashable notes, however, you can still get free shipping on certain items if you order at least $25 worth of eligible books, which must be fulfilled and shipped by Amazon; in that case, other products sold by Amazon and select third-party sellers would also ship free. The outrage doesn't seem to be as intense for this move, though Time notes that Redditors complained, which is how the quiet change got noticed. And Jason Del Rey notes on Re/code, "Amazon's shipping costs spiked last year as the company pushed faster delivery times for its Prime membership customers. Now it looks as though non-Prime members will foot some of the bill."
(Read more Starbucks stories.)

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