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    Starbucks, Delta link rewards programs

    • Starbucks and Delta Air Lines have launched a partnership that allows customers to link their Delta SkyMiles and Starbucks Rewards accounts, the companies announced Wednesday.
    • Participating Starbucks customers will earn one mile for every dollar spent on Starbucks purchases, excluding money spent on tips, taxes and alcohol, while customers will earn double Stars on purchases at Starbucks on days they travel with Delta.
    • The partnership follows other shakeups to restaurant loyalty programs as industry-leading restaurant chains seek points of differentiation in a crowded market.

    The partnership, which began Wednesday, includes rewards for early adopters. Those who link their accounts between Oct. 12 and Dec. 31 will receive 500 miles in their Delta SkyMiles account, alongside 150 Starbucks Stars when they make a qualifying purchase.

    Starbucks began offering links with other loyalty programs earlier this year through its Reward Together program, according to the press release. The coffee company offers Canadian customers the opportunity to link their rewards profiles with an unspecified travel partner and unspecified financial institution. Delta is the first U.S.-based company to link its rewards program’s to Starbucks’ platform. Delta has pursued loyalty link ups with a variety of companies, from the car-sharing company Turo to Instacart.

    The partnership between the Starbucks and Delta improves the coffee chain’s value offering for customers, Ryan Butz, Starbucks VP of loyalty strategy and marketing, said in the press release. That strengthened value may help Starbucks retain or attract new customers to its loyalty program, which counts 27 million members as of July, whose orders comprise the bulk of the chain’s U.S. company-owned sales.

    That customer loyalty has helped the chain weather inflationary pressures. Recently, Starbucks announced it would extend its program to more licensed stores and launch a marketplace for NFTs symbolizing digital collectibles issued by the company. By expanding the reach of its program, giving diners more methods by which to earn stars and more benefits to redeem, Starbucks could remain competitive with rival chains seeking to revamp their loyalty programs. 

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