Today I received an email from a contact person at Starbucks, stating that the previous glitch in their registers - which prevented customers from receiving a free tall beverage with whole bean purchase - has been fixed. I have no idea how Starbucks worked so quickly. I assume that Starbucks had been already alerted by partners that there was a problem, and so likely a fix had been in progress already. To summarize, Starbucks customers paying for whole bean purchases using a registered card at the "green" level (or higher) automatically receive a free tall beverage of their choice. The reward is available with both one pound whole bean coffee or half-pound Reserve coffee offerings.
Thank you Starbucks for responding so quickly. I hope that now everyone is getting their free tall beverage with purchase of whole bean! :)