Any suggestion that this can help a customer or not slow them down is a crock. This really is nothing more than an attempt to hide that they are increasing the level for a bonus drink for their “loyal” customers.
Let’s say my wife and I go to Starbucks, she and I each get a drink at about $5 and I get a pumpkin bread at $2 and change. Currently that is 3 bonus stars if we get each item as a separate purchase. That is 25% of the way to a free drink. Under the new program, this would be 24 or 26 bonus stars which is only around 20% towards that free drink.
If Starbucks was really trying to be consistent while changing to a money-spent model, they would have set the bonus drink at 100 stars. They knew they couldn’t get away increasing the bonus threshold to 15 stars, so they took this path instead.
They have already changed their birthday treat policy. It’s only on the day of your birthday, not until the end of the month as it used to be. Of course, people don’t find that out until you go in on Friday or Saturday night after a mid-week birthday with your “somebody special” for a date.
Shame the loyalty doesn’t go both ways.