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Starbucks Perks Up Loyalty Program Change in Effort to Shorten Lines

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With more than 11 million participants, Starbucks boasts one of the largest customer loyalty programs in retailing. Still, some customers are trying to game the system, requiring the nation's No. 1 coffee retailer to overhaul its reward program.

Previously, Starbucks consumers got one "star" per visit regardless of how much they purchased (12 stars earned patrons a free drink). However, customers have been insisting baristas ring up one item at a time to drive up their points, triggering long lines at the counter.

Starting in April, customers will be given two stars for every $1 spent and a free reward will be given for every 125 starts earned. 

In announcing the change, Starbucks officials said fewer than one in six of its approximate 75 million monthly visitors are loyalty members. Nonetheless, those 11 million members still spend three times as much as nonmembers and visit Starbucks more frequently