How many stars for a free drink at Starbucks?

Demystifying the magic number of stars needed for a free drink

Starbucks Store
Photo by June Andrei George on Unsplash

Starbucks is known for its popular reward program that allows customers to earn free drinks and other perks. One of the most frequently asked questions regarding this program is how many stars are required to redeem a complimentary beverage.

This article will delve into the specifics of the star system at Starbucks, exploring the various categories and tiers of rewards. As we uncover the details, you’ll gain insights into maximizing your stars and truly savor the taste of a free drink. So, discover just how many stars it takes to quench your thirst at Starbucks.

Starbucks Reward Tiers: How many stars for a free drink at Starbucks

Starbucks reported a significant increase in total active Starbucks Rewards members in the United States during the fourth quarter. The total number reached 28.7 million, marking a remarkable 16% growth compared to last year. This surge in membership highlights the program’s popularity and the value it brings to loyal customers.

However, the Starbucks rewards program has undergone changes, effective February 13th, which means that Starbucks rewards users will require more number of stars to redeem food and drinks for free. Here are the key details:

  • You will need a 25-star tier (unchanged) to customize your base beverage with an extra espresso shot, syrup, or dairy alternatives, up to $1 in value.
  • With 100 Stars (previously 50 stars), you can redeem one of the following items at a time: One hot brewed coffee or one hot steeped tea, one iced brewed coffee or one iced brewed tea, a bakery item, a packaged snack, or a specific Starbucks cup.
  • You will require a 200-star tier (previously 150 stars) to enjoy a handcrafted beverage like a latte, Frappuccino blended drink, or a hot breakfast item of standard size. It’s a 50-star increase from the previous requirement of 150 stars.
  • With the 300-star tier (previously 200 stars), you can redeem one packaged salad or lunch sandwich, one protein box, or one packaged coffee item like whole-bean coffee at a time.
  • With 400 Stars (unchanged), you can choose merchandise items worth up to $20 (pre-tax) from various options. Availability may vary by store.

 What is the Starbucks rewards program?

The Starbucks rewards program is Starbucks’ initiative to express gratitude and provide incentives to their valued customers for their continuous support and purchases of Starbucks products. Through Starbucks Rewards, members can earn and collect “Stars,” which they can later utilize to unlock various benefits and rewards at participating stores.

How to join the Starbucks rewards program?

Starbucks rewards program
Adding funds to your Starbucks digital card is hassle-free, offering multiple convenient options

To become a member of Starbucks Rewards, you have two convenient options: visiting the official Starbucks Rewards website or downloading the Starbucks mobile app. When signing up, you must furnish basic details such as your first and last name, email address, and password.

Additionally, you can divulge your birthdate, entitling you to special rewards on your birthday. Once your membership is confirmed, you will receive a digital Starbucks Card that begins with a balance of $0.00.

Adding funds to your digital card is hassle-free, offering multiple convenient options. You can seamlessly top up your card online through your Starbucks rewards account, via the Starbucks mobile app, or by visiting any participating Starbucks store in person.

Moreover, you can register various types of Starbucks Cards, including Starbucks Card eGifts or physical gift cards, by inputting your corresponding 16-digit card number and security code. It is essential to acquaint yourself with the Starbucks Card Terms & Conditions applicable to all Starbucks Cards, including the digital card.

While you can add multiple Starbucks Cards to your account, it is essential to note that each individual can own just one personal account.

Additional ways to earn bonuses with your Starbucks rewards account

While certain areas of the Starbucks Rewards program have changed, the program continues to offer the free Birthday Reward, allowing members to receive a complimentary handcrafted beverage, food item, or ready-to-drink bottled beverage on their birthday. But you must join the Starbucks Rewards at least seven days before your birthday to take advantage of this perk and make a Star-earning transaction.

Another ongoing benefit is the Free Refills feature, which enables eligible users to enjoy free refills of hot or iced brewed coffee and tea during a single store visit. You must scan the member barcode in the Starbucks App before purchasing your drink to qualify for free hot or iced brewed coffee or tea refills.

Additionally, you’ve got to scan the same registered Starbucks Card when requesting the refill or making payment. Repeat the process of scanning the card when you ask for a refill of your hot or iced brewed coffee or tea.

Starbucks also provides Early/Extended Access to exclusive promotions and offers at participating stores. As a member, you can participate in these opportunities by paying with a registered Starbucks Card or scanning your barcode in the app, granting you early access or extended availability.

Personalized Offers are another program highlight, as users receive customized offers and coupons through email, app notifications, or physical mail. Members can enjoy discounts and Bonus Stars tailored to their preferences by opting in and activating these offers.

Double Star Day is a particularly exciting event for users, where they can earn double the Stars on designated days. Members must download the Starbucks app or subscribe to promotional emails to stay informed and ensure participation.

Reusable Cup Benefit allows users to contribute to environmental efforts and earn Bonus Stars. Members can earn additional rewards by “bringing your own clean, reusable cup” for your in-store handcrafted beverages. However, it’s important to remember that this benefit has certain restrictions and does not apply to “for here” mugs, glassware, Drive Thru orders, or app orders.

Maximizing star earnings with different payment methods at Starbucks

Starbucks card: how many stars for a free drink at starbucks
With a Starbucks card you can earn an impressive two stars for every $1 spent

You can use multiple payment methods when maximizing your star earnings at Starbucks. The first option is to utilize a Starbucks Card, whether a digital card through the app or a physical card you’ve registered. With this approach, you’ll earn an impressive two stars for every $1 spent.

Alternatively, you can link your credit card, debit card, or mobile wallet to your Starbucks account for seamless payments through the app. By opting for this method, each dollar spent earns you 1 star.

For a straightforward and flexible approach, you can simply scan your member barcode within the Starbucks app during checkout. It allows you to make purchases using various payment options, including cash, credit card, debit card, or mobile wallet. By employing this method, you’ll earn 1 star for every $1 spent.

Are Starbucks Stars subject to expiration?

One common question among Starbucks Rewards members is whether stars expire. It’s important to note that stars earned through the Starbucks Rewards program have an expiration date.

Typically, stars expire six months after you’ve earned them. If you regularly check your Starbucks Rewards account and keep track of your earned stars, you can be assured of making the most of your rewards before they expire.

What is the number of stars required for a free Latte?

You would need 200 stars (previously 150 stars) to enjoy a latte.

How many stars do I need to get a free drink?

You will need 100 stars to redeem for a hot brewed coffee or hot brewed tea, iced coffee, or iced brewed tea. The number of stars required may vary for certain beverages and food items.

What benefits do I get with a reusable cup?

By using a reusable cup, you can earn stars for every purchase, just like any other Starbucks Rewards member. It is an environmentally friendly choice and helps reduce waste.

Will my Starbucks Rewards account be affected by the program changes?

No, the program changes will not affect your Starbucks Rewards account. Your stars and rewards will be carried forward, and you can continue to earn and redeem stars as before.

Sources: NewYorkPost, FOXbusiness Food&Wine

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