There are Starbucks Card rewards all over the globe, but the perks vary from place to place. I do not profess to be a Starbucks card expert. I think I understand the U.S. rewards backwards and forwards, but I am far less adept at talking about the international versions. Both in an email from a curious reader, and in my twitter stream, the new UK Starbucks Rewards are a hot topic. As far as I know, these UK Starbucks Card perks launch tomorrow:
In an email, a reader wrote me that she has called the UK Customer Service, and was told that the new UK program is stars per transactions, and so in order to maximize stars, items must be rung up separately. I am amazed that Starbucks is expanding that model. It will frustrate many customers for obvious reasons that have previously been discussed on this blog. I also notice that UK customers can get a free add shot in their beverage. My understanding is that the UK market is very different in terms of what customers order. As I have heard (all of this is anecdotal, heard from many folks), UK customers tends to order a very high percentage of for-here ware beverages, and that they use very few syrups. The "flat white" which is almost an extremely traditional, very small latte, launched with success in the UK. For example, one partner who took a vacation to the UK in 2011, told me that he saw that the UK offers 'Irish Cream' as a syrup offering, but partners told him that it just sits, and almost no one orders it. In addition, the competition in the UK is different than the US, and I have heard that other coffee shops all offer two shots as standard in an 8 to 12 ounce drink. Smaller sizes are the norm.
The email reader who wrote me indicated that the free tall beverage with bean purchase has totally been withdrawn as a perk. Interestingly, in the UK there previously were a number of limitations on what can be ordered as a free tall beverage, and Frappuccinos were completely excluded. I also notice that it takes 50 stars to get to gold in the UK.
The whole thing is a bit fascinating to me. I am typing this out in a massive rush, so please excuse the many grammar mistakes and typos. I've done no proofreading! But I thought it would be interesting for my readers (who are mostly in the US) to see what's coming tomorrow (January 5, 2012) to the UK. I am still working on understanding that chart! LOL