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Got the following emails about the changes (noted above) to the Starbucks rewards program...

MNB user Mike Jackson wrote:

As a long time Starbucks fan I also am thrilled I won’t have to carry around the postcard for the free beverage.  It’s also nice they dropped the threshold from 15 to 12 for a free drink.

Now if they would just change from tracking purchases to drinks for the free drink credit I would be a very happy camper.  I seem to always buy multiple drinks and get the same credit as someone who buys a single drink.  You can spend $5.00 and get a credit for a free drink; if you treat the office and spend $50 dollars you get the same one credit for a free drink.  Sure, you can beat the system by having them ring up each drink separately but who wants to do that; the loyalty program is nice but it still needs work to align the rewards with their most profitable customers.

And, we got the following email from another reader, Michael Schillo:

Not sure you know, but you get a “point” for every transaction and if you ask a barista, they will ring you separately. 

Example, I stopped this morning with a pal and was also getting a drink for a co-worker. 3 drinks ordered.  3 tabs.  3 Gold Stars.   ¼ of a free drink.

Agreed - Starbucks should set it up so you get a star for every drink ordered, even if they are all on the same receipt.

It is all part of setting up a consumer-friendly rewards program.

On this subject, by the way, MNB user Howard M. Schneider wrote:

Emphatically agree except for one nuance. While a successful loyalty program must be driven by shoppers’ priorities and not the marketer’s, programs must be built to meet BOTH shoppers’ wants, needs and expectations, AND the marketer’s need for a cost-effective, measurable program that truly motivates customers to consistently act as desired.

No argument. I'm just saying that if the process does not serve the consumer, then the program is pointless.

Not everyone agrees with my position on the changes, as MNB user John J. Toner wrote:

I’m a much bigger fan of the monthly postcard I get in the mail – it made me feel special and like I was winner (I don’t get enough mail anymore obviously). 
And I was a big fan of the free cup of coffee when buy bi-weekly bag of coffee for the house…

And MNB user Bill Hogan wrote:

So Starbucks is moving away from their gold embossed post card for free drink delivery.  What will be lost is that smile I get when I go to the mailbox and see my golden ticket (I always save it for a Quad Cappuccino).

The real opportunity is to give choices to shoppers for reward delivery.  Mobile will be central to reward engagement but wise retailers will give delivery options to shoppers.  I am sad that my two favorite features of the program are going away…the free tall drink and free syrup.  Both were “gift with purchase” benefits.  This will give me less incentive to by my beans at Starbucks and more incentive to try different roasters.  A combination of soft and hard benefits make for the strongest reward platforms.

Point taken.

And another MNB user chimed in:

I had to laugh at your point..".postcards are old world even if they serve the bottom line."

What you apparently didn't want to point out (I'm curious as to why)  is that the elimination of the "freebies" and inevitable  "augmented" future price hikes will more than offset the higher subsidization of Starbucks baseline sales  (i.e.. meaning the redemption of electronic discounts that would NOT have occurred had postcard coupon usage been maintained).  Net/net the discount is essentially eliminated and becomes a "smoke and mirrors" marketing tactic.

"Bottom line,  us "old worlders" will be pay more but we'll know it.  You on the other hand,  will get your " new world discount" but actually pay at a higher level and still be happy because it's convenient.  You're apparently a smart guy,  think it through a bit more and don't throw the old world under the bus unless true productivity is being created or minimally  maintained.

Maybe I'm not as smart as you think I am, or as you think I think I am...

On another subject, MNB user Lucretia Nesbitt wrote:

Just because the government doesn’t seem to have an appetite for regulating ads on games and mobile devices doesn’t mean that food companies should be using this medium as a way to target young children.  As a parent to a 3.5 year old who uses my iPhone better than I do some days, any app or game targeted at her that had ads like this would be immediately removed, whether I paid for it or not.  I would be angry enough over this tactic to stop buying that company's other products as well.  I may be the minority, but I strongly believe our children do not need to have ads that “trigger demand and cinch brand loyalty” at such a young age, particularly when they are still learning about what is a healthy choice and what isn’t.  It smacks of greed and a complete disregard for the health of our children.

I wrote yesterday that Apple's stock closed Tuesday at $701.91, and as the Times notes, Apple, as the world's most valuable company, "is now worth nearly $656 billion - about six times its value in June 2007, when it released the first iPhone."

Got a bunch of emails from MNB users along the same lines...

"I wish I had bought it when Lt. Dan did. LOL


My hand is raised wishing I’d bought Apple stock when Lt. Dan bought into it for Forrest Gump!!


Lieutenant Dan got me invested in some kind of fruit company. So then I got a call from him, saying we don't have to worry about money no more. And I said, that's good! One less thing.
I wish I would have invested when Forrest Gump did.  His initial investment of $100K would be worth over $7B today.

Here's what I think when you all send me emails with movie references...

KC's View: