Finally, Starbucks creates simpler rewards card

Last Christmas, I got a Starbucks gift card for $50 from my boss (a nice gift but with a semi-intentional hint that caffeine may help me do a better job).

I used it up within a month but when a barista tried to lure me into getting the Starbucks Rewards Gold card, I wasn't even tempted. Paying a $25 annual fee upfront for the right to 10% discounts on coffees didn't seem like a deal when I didn't know if I'd have the money for the remaining 90% of the cost of my once-daily lattes.

Guess I'm not the only one who felt that way, and Starbucks got the hint. It recently announced it is consolidating its Starbucks Card and Gold Card reward programs into a free, easier-to-follow customer loyalty program called "My Starbucks Rewards" that launches Dec. 26.