Gift cards and app rewards to be usable again at campus Starbucks

Campus Starbucks brews up change in its payment system



Langara students must wait for a new payment system before they can use gift cards at the campus Starbucks or redeem and collect points for free food and drinks. 

Students ordering from the campus Starbucks are currently unable to earn and redeem Starbucks Stars, the reward currency earned only when paying with money loaded onto the Starbucks app — but not when paying with cash, credit or debit. 

Many students are upset they are missing out on opportunities to save money. 

The old payment system used to accept gift cards and allowed students to accumulate points. But the new payment system, installed in August, does not.  

The Problem

The root of the problem is that Starbucks and Chartwells — the company that manages the campus food vendors — don’t have compatible payment systems.  

According to Chartwells Langara general manager Len Svensson, Starbucks was expected to correct the problem in October but that was delayed due to technical issues. Svensson said the fix could involve implementing a dedicated PIN pad for Starbucks. 

“We’ve come up with some ideas that hopefully will work,” Svensson said. “And we’re hoping within the next three weeks to have something actually in place.” 

Svensson said with the new system, customers would be able to use gift cards, as well as use and collect points.  

Even though Langara Starbucks cannot accept gift card payments at this time, it is still selling them. Svensson said Chartwells is obligated to buy and sell Starbucks seasonal gift cards, mugs and other products.  

“We have a minimum order we have to purchase to make us compliant,” Svensson said.  

Some students are not happy

Langara criminology student Shayna Holmes said Starbucks is taking advantage of not having its payment system immediately updated. She said she had $50 worth of Starbucks on her phone that she is unable to use and must spend her own money instead. 

“They’re incentivized to leave it,” Holmes said. 

Langara fine arts student Naomi Damian is frustrated she cannot receive rewards, such as free drinks, because she is unable to redeem points at the on-campus Starbucks

“It can be really annoying because whenever I’m craving Starbucks, the closest one is the Langara one,” Damian said. 

Chartwells has also considered linking rewards programs to Boost, an app for preordering food on campus. However, a large fee would be required for Chartwells to pay for such programs, Svensson said.   

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