Starbucks To Gold Card Customers: Sorry, We're Not Paying For Your Lactose Intolerance Anymore

A soy-fueled storm is brewing in the Internets today, as we’ve heard from Consumerist readers who received an email update about changes to their Starbucks Gold Cards. Sure, Starbucks loyalists will now get a free drink or food item after every 12 purchases instead of 15, but if those card-carriers happen to be lactose intolerant or otherwise indisposed toward dairy, they’ll have to start paying for their soy, as well as syrups.

After touting which rewards are changing for the better, Starbucks adds in the email “Unfortunately, we will no longer offer syrups and soymilk on the house.”

As one soy drinker explains, this stinks. Consumerist reader Maya writes:

As someone who can’t stomach cows milk and has a hard time with digestion, soy milk has been a great alternative for my morning latte and Starbucks has been oh so kind to offer soy milk free of charge for those who have gold card status and spend a significant amount of moolah each year at their retail locations (we can’t even count Starbucks vendor stands or airport kiosks in this number). We are SHOCKED that this is ending.

Rader Dorian adds that the new benefits aren’t enough to make up for what’s been taken away:

One of the great benefits of having a Starbucks Card was NOT the free drink for every 15 or on ones BD, but the Free Soy and Syrup.
As of Oct. 16th, that is going away. Yeah, they are changing the free drink to every 12, but that is not going to do it.

I also got an annoyed message from one of my friends who is lactose-intolerant (and who I never cease to ask if she wants cheese on something because my brain refuses to remember that we don’t all constantly gorge on dairy):  “There goes my loyalty to Starbucks. Charging 60 cents for soymilk is just too much.”

There are plenty of comments over at Starbucks’ site for its rewards programs for those who’d like to make themselves heard on this issue, as well as more than a few enraged tweets directed toward @Starbucks. Join the soy fray — you never know, Starbucks could back down when faced with such fury.