You'll Need to Spend More to Get Your Free Drink at Starbucks Soon

And some customers aren't happy about it. 

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Photo by Tina Rupp

On Monday, Starbucks announced some big changes to their rewards program: Beginning in April, customers will no longer receive one star for each visit. Instead, they'll earn two stars for every dollar spent on coffee, food, drinks, merchandise, and more.

The company's loyalty status will also get a makeover. Currently Starbucks offers welcome, green, and gold levels. In April, Starbucks will eliminate the welcome level, and change how patrons can achieve gold status—the highest level of loyalty. Customers are currently bumped to gold when they earn 30 stars (or 30 Starbucks visits). When the rewards program changes, customers will have to earn 300 stars (or about $150 in qualified purchases) to reach gold status.

Once customers reach gold status, they are currently eligible for a free food or beverage product after 12 stars (or 12 visits to Starbucks). When the new program goes into effect, visitors will have to earn 125 stars (or about $63 dollars in qualified purchases) before they get free goods.

Though Starbucks says the new program is in response to customer request, the change tends to favor those who often spend more per visit—people who buy food in addition to coffee or purchase multiple beverages at a time. Unfortunately, people who just want their morning cuppa will have to spend more over the course of a year to earn their free drink.