Rewards programs requiring you to spend more in 2023

A customer is offered a loyalty card in a small business local coffee and cake shop.

CHICAGO (NewsNation) — Some of the nation’s largest companies have used rewards programs for years in order to create brand loyalty and repeat customers, but now some of the most popular rewards programs are requiring consumers to spend more money.

In the third quarter of 2020, more than 27 million people were a part of the Starbucks Rewards program, making it one of the most used rewards programs in the world. The company said in 2021, rewards members accounted for more than half of all the company’s revenue. 

However, changes in the program will make harder for it coffee lovers get their free cup of java this year.

Starting Feb. 13, these Starbucks rewards are going to cost more stars:

  • 100 Stars (previously 50): Coffee, brewed tea, coffee, or bakery item
  • 200 Stars (previously 150 Stars): Handcrafted drinks or hot breakfast items
  • 300 Stars (previously 200 Stars): Sandwich or protein box

Meanwhile, it’s not just coffee houses changing things up, airlines are also taking advantage of the post-pandemic boom in flying and upping the number of miles needed to hit certain reward levels.

Beginning in March, American Airlines will require 40,000 loyalty points to earn Gold Stats, the lowest tier of the airline’s frequent flier program. It’s also getting rid of two reward categories that travelers have used to redeem miles for tickets.

Delta Airlines changed its SkyMiles loyalty program for the first time since 2015, increasing the thresholds needed to get into the Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion status by about 33 percent.

There are no changes to Delta’s Medallion Qualification Miles or Medallion Qualification Segments.

A free entree reward at Chipotle, which can be redeemed for a burrito, bowl, salad or taco order, now costs 1,625 points in the Chipotle app. Customers get 10 points for every $1 they spend, so they will now be eligible for a free entree after spending $162.50. Previously, an entree could be redeemed for 1,400 points.

Chipotle is the only company that has announced why it’s changing its rewards program. The company said it needed to change its reward thresholds to get a free burrito due to inflation.


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