Why Some Starbucks Rewards Accounts Have A Negative Balance

Starbucks fans are already not too happy with the recent changes to its rewards program, and some became even more frustrated when a recently leaked discount left them in "star debt."

Twitter user @bohrmagnezone posted two images of his Starbucks Rewards account after using the aforementioned discount, showcasing a balance of -33 and -23 stars. "Starbucks accidentally gave me enough stars for a free drink but they caught the error and now they're making me work off my star debt #%&$@!l? just big and greedy," read the caption.

In a reply to Tasting Table's request for comment, Starbucks sent the following statement, "On Saturday April 22, a QR code for bonus Stars given to attendees at an in-person event spread online, going beyond the intended audience. The Stars redeemed through this code have been removed from ineligible accounts. We apologize for the inconvenience."

Starbucks rewards members covet their stars

Even though it's clear that the discount was only intended for a select group of people, many Starbucks fans saw taking away the stars as yet another greedy move. A few members of the Twitterverse referenced Starbucks' recent decision to change its rewards program. In February, Starbucks increased the number of Stars required to claim a regular hot coffee, tea, bakery item, or packaged snack from 50 points to 100 points. At the same time, the Seattle-based chain announced additional changes to its reward program terms and conditions redemption rules including an increase from 150 to 200 stars for specialty beverages including latte and Frappuccino, and from 200 to 300 for a packaged sandwich.

It's safe to say that Starbucks fans are serious about their stars, so taking them back after the discount leaked is ruffling some feathers, even if it's the fiscally responsible thing to do. Starbucks made over $8 billion in revenue last year, so many feel a few free drinks is a drop in the bucket and worth the expense to keep rewards members happy.