Starbucks Rewards is considered by many to be the gold standard when it comes to customer loyalty programs. The program initially launched in April 2008 and has been growing and evolving ever since, even becoming the most downloaded restaurant loyalty app according to a 2018 survey.
But what makes the program so special? Starbucks Rewards members have a LOT of opportunities to earn bonus points and extra freebies, even though the purchase of Starbucks brand products at other retailers or by playing games online.
How does the Starbucks Rewards program work?
Starbucks Rewards is an app-based loyalty program that offers members reward points in the form of “Stars” for every dollar spent in-store or at the drive-thru, whether you pay through the app, or with cash, credit, or gift cards. Members can save up Stars to earn different rewards, including perks like adding espresso shots to a drink at no cost, free refills, and free coffees, teas, and baked goods.
What are the benefits of joining Starbucks Rewards?
Starbucks Rewards members earn Stars on every dollar spent that they can exchange for free coffee, tea, and baked goods, as well as free refills and drink modifications. Members also receive exclusive offers, discounts, and early or extended access to new and limited-time menu items. Don’t like to wait? Save time on every visit by saving your regular orders in the app, and by ordering ahead to skip the wait.
How do Starbucks Rewards Stars work?
Members of the Starbucks Rewards program will earn two Stars on every dollar spent in-store or at the drive-thru when they pay with cash, credit, gift cards, or their Starbucks card through the app, or by scanning the app when they check out. Starbucks employees who join the program will earn three stars per dollar spent using the payment methods mentioned above.
Occasionally, Starbucks Rewards Members will be able to earn additional Stars by entering Star codes found in specially marked Starbucks products from other stores, as well as included in related promotional materials. Star codes are limited to two entries per member per day.
Does the Starbucks Rewards program offer a sign-up bonus?
The company has been inconsistent with its welcome offer, depending on when you sign up you may be eligible for a free Grande drink of your choosing, but other times there is no reward for signing up. Be sure to check their current offers before you make an account if you want the bonus.
Are there any other benefits to joining Starbucks Rewards?
Starbucks Rewards members get special treatment. Joining the Starbucks Rewards program gives you early and extended access to certain new and limited-edition menu items, special offers and discounts customized to your preferences and purchase history, free refills on hot or iced brewed coffee and tea during in-store visits, and more.
Want to skip the morning rush? No problem, members can order ahead through the app and will be given an estimated pick-up time. Looking for something to make your birthday a little more special? Share your big day when you sign up to receive a yearly birthday reward, which currently includes your choice of a complimentary handcrafted beverage, food item, or ready-to-drink bottled beverage.
How do you join Starbucks Rewards?
You can sign up to join the Starbucks Rewards program through the app or on the website. Members will need to share their first name and email address to create an account, and can optionally include their birthday to receive their choice of a complimentary handcrafted beverage, food item, or ready-to-drink bottled beverage on their birthday each year.
How do you check your Stars balance?
Sign in to your account on the app or website to view your Star balance, available rewards, and any personalized special offers you have available.
Can you add Stars later if you forget at the checkout?
Yes, just make sure you keep your receipt! Take a photo of your full receipt and upload it at starbucks-stars.ca to have your stars added to your account.
How do you redeem Starbucks Rewards Stars?
Once you’ve earned enough Stars, you can redeem them for a number of different menu items and beverage upgrades, though you can only claim items from a one redemption tier per order. The Stars Redemption Tiers are as follows:
25 Stars for one beverage modifier including an added espresso shot, added syrup or sauce topping (such as caramel or toffee nut syrup), or for a dairy alternative in your drink such as soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk. Items in the beverage modification tier must be combined with the purchase of a drink.
50 Stars for your choice of one hot coffee, steeped tea, or small bakery item including cake pops and cookies.
150 Stars for any one grande handcrafted beverage including lattes and frappucinos, one item from the hot breakfast menu including breakfast sandwiches and oatmeal, or any pre-packaged snack item, excluding the lunch and protein boxes.
200 Stars for any one pre-made packaged lunch item including salads, sandwiches, and protein boxes.
400 Stars for any packaged coffee (such as whole bean or pre-ground home coffee) or merchandise item with a value of $20 or less.
Do Starbucks Rewards points expire?
Stars will expire after six months, starting on the first day in the next calendar month after they were originally earned. The only exception to this is when it comes to Stars earned using the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card or through the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card Rewards Program, which are for as long as you hold an active account. If you close your account or let it expire without renewal, you will have six months to use your Stars, starting in the month after the account was closed.
Getting the most out of Starbucks Rewards
With so many ways to earn Stars, and just as many options to redeem them, you’re going to want to make sure you don’t miss out on any opportunities to earn. Here are four easy ways to make sure your getting the most out of your Starbucks Rewards membership.
Claim your birthday treat
To qualify for your Birthday Reward you must join at least seven days before your birthday, provide your birthday in your account information and make at least one Star earning transaction before your birthday each year. Your birthday reward will be automatically added to your account on your birthday and is valid ONLY on that date.
Take Advantage of Double Star Days
Starbucks Rewards members will be notified of upcoming Double Star events via e-mail or app. If you want to maximize your Stars, mark these down on your calender and take the opportunity to treat yourself!
Keep an eye out for Star codes
Starbucks will notify Rewards members of Star codes being handed out with in-store promotional materials, but you might not always hear about the Star codes included in their pre-packaged coffee products. Any time Star codes are available as part of a purchase, they will be clearly advertised on the items packaging so keep an eye open, but don’t worry about buying coffee beans ‘just in case’.
Consider Signing up for a Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card
This one might seem a little extreme, but if you are in the market for a new credit card and can’t get enough Starbucks, it’s a perfect fit.
Not only do cardholders earn more points per dollar spent at Starbucks, they can also earn one Star per $2 spent at grocery stores, on local transit, and on utilities including your internet, cable, and phone services. Stars will be earned at a rate of one per $4 spent anywhere else you use your credit card.
If that’s not enough to fuel your coffee addiction, new cardmembers will also receive 4,500 Bonus Stars after spending $500 on their Starbucks Rewards Visa within the first 3 months after opening the account.
What are the members saying?
The Starbucks Rewards program and app are top rated, taking the third place overall for food and drink apps on the app store and boasting a rating of 4.8 stars with over 3.6 million ratings. Members say they love the convenience of the app which customizes the experience for every user, including only showing menu items currently available at your store, and recommending challenges and offers you might be interested in cased on your ordering habits.
The Starbucks Rewards app is one of the oldest restaurant loyalty programs available, and it’s not going anywhere soon. If you enjoy their food and beverages, it’s really a can’t miss, offering users some of the best benefits and most creative ways to earn and redeem points.