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You know what’ll wake me up more than coffee? Figuring out how to spend a lot less on daily caffeination. Starbucks Rewards has become a no-brainer part of my coffee-buying ritual.

And whether you’re an occasional Starbucks drinker or a daily diehard, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be earning free coffee every time you visit the mermaid.

Think you already know everything you need to know about Starbucks Rewards? We’ve gone all the way into the depths of the program to show you some surprising tips and tricks to save money and earn points like never before.

We’ll show you how to earn points on your Starbucks gift cards, how many points you’ll need for your favorite latte, and what your birthday reward will be.

Do you love free Starbucks? We’ve got lots more to say about how to save at the mermaid.


What is Starbucks Rewards?

Starbucks Rewards is the loyalty program of Starbucks that lets you earn points when you make purchases — called “Stars” — that you use to earn free coffee, treats, and even merchandise. You earn these Stars at different rates (depending on how you pay), and you spend them on free coffee, treats, and even merchandise.

It’s one of the best rewards programs that you can sign up for.


How do you sign up for Starbucks Rewards?

An iPhone on a table next to a Starbucks cup, displaying an order for a Grande Dark Roast Coffee on the Starbucks app.

Download the free Starbucks app or visit starbucks.com/rewards to sign up for Starbucks Rewards. (But even on their website, Starbucks says that the “best experience” is via the app.)

Here’s what they’ll ask for:

  • First and last name
  • Email address (which becomes your login)
  • Password
  • Starbucks card number (if you have one; it’s not required)


How do I earn free coffee & food with Starbucks Rewards?

A person holding a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte next to a Starbucks rewards sign.

Once you have a Starbucks Rewards account, you’ll want to have your app ready every time you go to Starbucks. When the cashier scans your unique barcode (which you can find via the “Scan” section of the app), you earn Stars. Here’s how many Stars you earn:

  • two Stars for every $1 spent when you add a Starbucks gift card to your Rewards account and use it to pay. You use the “Scan & pay” option in the app.
  • one Star for every $1 spent when you choose “Scan only” in the app.

NOTE: Your Starbucks Stars expire six months after the calendar month you earned them. So if you earn your Stars in mid-September, they’ll expire on the first of April. Make sure to use your Stars before you lose them.


What can you get for free with Starbucks Rewards?

There are several tiers of rewards you can get by cashing in your Starbucks Stars. Here’s how many Stars you’ll need to get your free Starbucks:

  • 25 Stars ($25 spent): You can add an extra shot of espresso (regularly $0.70), dairy substitute (regularly $0.50), or add an extra dash of your favorite syrup (regularly $0.80)
  • 50 Stars ($50 spent): brewed hot coffee (regularly $2.95), bakery item (regularly $2.25 – $3.75), or hot tea (regularly $3.25)
  • 150 Stars ($150 spent): handcrafted drink (regularly $5.25), hot breakfast (regularly $5.45), or parfait (regularly $3.45)
  • 200 Stars ($200 spent): sandwich (regularly $7.25) or protein box (regularly $6.75)
  • 400 Stars ($400 spent): select merchandise (regularly $17.99) or at-home coffee (regularly $13.95)



Which reward will get me the most value?

A person's hand picking up an iced Starbucks drink from a table inside Starbucks.

The best tier of Starbucks Reward is the 50-Star tier since it’s the most value out of the options available. And you’ll hit that 50-Star tier fast if you’re getting two Stars for every dollar spent using a prepaid card.

Here’s how each tier stacks up, considering that you’re getting two Stars per $1 spent:

  • 25 Stars: Spend $12.50, get up to an $0.80 maximum freebie (6.4% back)
  • 50 Stars: Spend $25, get up to a $3.75 maximum freebie (15% back)
  • 150 Stars: Spend $75, get up to an $5.45 maximum freebie (7.3% back)
  • 200 Stars: Spend $100, get up to a $7.25 maximum freebie (7.3% back)
  • 400 Stars: Spend $200, get up to a $17.99 maximum freebie (4.5% back)

TIP: Even if you get a $3 freebie in the 50-Star tier, you’re still getting 12% back — better than the best-case scenario in all the other tiers.


What is the Starbucks birthday reward?

The Starbucks birthday reward is a free handcrafted drink (worth $5.95), bottled beverage (worth $4.95), or food item (worth $7.25) on your birthday. It’s one of the best Starbucks Rewards perks.

This is one of the most popular birthday freebies out there, and to be sure you get it, make sure to enter your birthday when you sign up for Starbucks Rewards.


Are there any other ways to earn Stars?

Spring Starbucks cups at Target

A Delta-Starbucks partnership lets you link your Starbucks Rewards account to your Delta SkyMiles loyalty program. You’ll be able to create your own Double Points Day to earn two Stars for every $1 spent on days you fly with Delta. (And if it’s already a Double Points Day, you’ll get Triple Points!)

When you bring your own clean, reusable cup to Starbucks, you’ll earn 25 extra Stars added to your Starbucks account when you scan the barcode. That’s the same number of points you’d get for spending $12.50! Plus, you’ll get $0.10 off your cup of coffee.

TIP: It’s rare, but you can earn Stars by playing games through the app. In the past, they’ve done seasonal games, in-app challenges, and sweepstakes where you can earn bonus Stars. One of their most popular games, the Starbucks for Life sweepstakes, will allow you to earn Stars and play games all December long.


Can you get free refills with the Starbucks Rewards program?

starbucks drink with tea bags being held

When you order a brewed coffee (hot, iced, or cold brew) or tea (hot or iced), you’ll be able to get free refills on your drink when you show your Starbucks Rewards information to the cashier during the same store visit.

You won’t be able to get this deal if you leave the store.

TIP: There are several other Starbucks promotions that you have access to with the Starbucks Rewards program. To keep up with all the Starbucks promotions (like Double Star Day), you should check out our list of Starbucks coupons.


The Starbucks Rewards program is changing on Sept. 13, 2022.

The Starbucks Rewards program is going to change on Starbucks Investors Day (Sept. 13) by unveiling a “web3” initiative, which includes Starbucks-themed NFTs. Information about the changes to the rewards program haven’t been announced yet, so keep an eye out on our Starbucks deals to be updated on all the information when it comes out.

Not sure about NFTs? Here’s what you need to know about cryptocurrency.

NOTE: As of March 31, 2022, you can’t get Starbucks Rewards points from grocery store purchases.



How You Can Get Free Coffee With Starbucks Rewards