I used to always think Starbucks was so expensive, but then I looked into their rewards program. Here are two ways to start saving:

  • Get the app! This is available on both Android and iPhone devices.
  • Register your gift cards!

Starbucks Rewards is linked to their gift cards. To start, load your Starbucks gift card with at least $5 and go to their website to register your card. Once the card is registered, you’re ready to start earning stars! There are 3 levels of membership:

  • Welcome: (0-4 stars) Free food or drink on your birthday  is your reward and is linked to your card. You simply hand the card to the barista and say, "I'd like to use my birthday reward." You get any size drink or food you want for free!
  • Green Level: (5-29 stars) Your rewards include everything offered on the Welcome level, plus free refills on tea and coffee while you’re inside the store! Every 15 stars you earn, you get a free reward!
  • Gold Level: (30 stars within 12 months) With Gold level, you receive both Welcome and Green level rewards, and more! Every 12 stars earned, you receive a "Lucky Dozen" reward for any free drink or food item. You also receive a personalized, sparkly, gold gift card with your name on it in the mail. Keep and reload this card to maintain gold status!

What are stars?

Stars are the points you earn towards free rewards. Each swipe of your card earns you a star. Each code on bagged coffee also earns you a star. Once you earn 15 stars at Green level or 12 stars at Gold level, you can get any sized drink or food item you want for free! The free reward does not come off automatically—you have to inform the barista that you’d like to use your free reward and your total will ring up $0.

Is this a credit card?

No! This program is simply you reloading your gift card with cash or card. From there, you use that balance to pay for items. Start off your transaction by saying, "I'd like to start by putting money on my card and then paying with that balance." You can reload your card in any amount from $5-$500. Most baristas know the rewards program well and will try and make your transaction the most beneficial for you.

Can I register more than one gift card?

Yes! You can register multiple gift cards to one account. Simply transfer them all to one balance or register them for friends and family then earn rewards. You can also transfer between accounts to consolidate balances.

Why should I download the app?

You can easily access your account through the Starbucks phone app. You’re able to pay with your phone in case you misplace your physical card. Hit "tap to pay" and the barista will scan your phone! You can also track your stars to see how many stars you need until your next reward.

Should I check the app frequently?

Yes! Periodically, you’ll receive offers that specifically match what you buy. Examples are: $1 off any baked goods item, 50% off tea, buy-one-get-one espresso and free tall drink. You’ll see these offers in the rewards section of the app.

Should I separate my transactions to earn more stars?

Of course! You earn one star per card swipe. If you get two drinks, ask to pay for them separately to earn more stars.

What are bonus stars?

Bonus stars are periodic offers you receive for certain item purchases. For example, "Earn 2 bonus stars with any baked goods purchase." You’d earn 3 stars instead of 2 with this offer! Starbucks also does "Double Star Weekends" where you earn double stars on every purchase after 2 PM. Make sure you separate your transactions to earn the most stars possible!

Is Gold status worth it?

Yes! I actually received a promotion at the end of 2013 called "Race to Gold," where I only needed 8 stars instead of 30 to be promoted to Gold for a year! At the Gold level, you’ll also receive "Star Dash" promotions. This happens if you earn a specific amount of stars in a certain time period. Starbucks will then award you with bonus stars.

This is a guest post by Riley from Colorado. 
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