Starbucks Rewards = Free Drinks. Here's how to get some more purchasing power …
A few months ago we got a Starbucks less than a mile from our house.
This is a huge temptation because both my wife and I have our favorite drinks there. I supplement the cravings with gift cards I get free at MyPoints but that's only but once every several months. It would work out to less than one drink per month.
But … yeah, first-world problems.
Load up Starbucks Rewards with a discounted gift card
My wife has one of those personalized gold Starbucks cards that she earned back in 2012. She's signed up for a Starbucks Rewards™ account so that she can earn stars for her purchases, which translate to free Starbucks. Her gold card is linked within her Starbucks Rewards account, which is how they credit her stars to her.
Yesterday I went through the process of buying a discounted Starbucks e-gift card at Cardpool and using it to load up my wife's existing Starbucks gold card. This way we got $25 worth of value on the card for $22.75.
The process was straightforward:
- We bought a $25 electronic gift card from Cardpool for a 9% discount ($22.75).
- We received the card information immediately afterwards. (If you're buying one for the first time, they'll take some time to verify a few things beforehand just to weed out possible fraudulent accounts, but once that's done, it's smooth sailing.)
- Then we logged into her Starbucks Rewards account. Right beneath her name was a “Cards” link.
- We clicked on that, and then clicked on the “Transfer Funds” link on the left side. From there we clicked on the “Transfer To” button in the main area.
- From there, it was just a matter of entering the card number and security code from the email we just received from Cardpool and then we were done.
Extra ways to boost Starbucks Rewards
Recently Starbucks changed up their rewards program to even the playing field a bit. There was some grumbling but by tying the rewards directly (more or less) to amount spent rather than number of transactions they improved overall customer in-store experience. (Gaming like ringing up four drinks in four separate transactions was cut off at the knees, for example.)
So there's less room for gaming but here are a few ways to get to that 125-star free drink a bit faster (namely, before the stars expire, which they do about six months after you earn them):
- Reload your account with discounted gift cards, like I described above. Either electronic or physical cards should work. (Here's a list of places to get discounted gift cards and tips on buying them safely.)
- Reload your account with free gift cards. MyPoints and Swagbucks are two great places to earn free gift cards. I've earned hundreds of dollars worth of free gifts cards from each of them over the years.
- Take advantage of double-star opportunities. Since the only real way to get free drinks through the program is to buy Starbucks stuff, consider stopping by at times when the reward is greater (four stars per dollar spent instead of two).
- Consider putting a whole family's purchases through one rewards account. (This may not work for everyone.) Starbucks doesn't currently allow family members to share a rewards account, meaning that I technically can't take my wife's rewards card in and buy a drink with it. However, I rarely go into Starbucks by myself anyway, and as such I don't have a rewards account. But my wife goes in with our daughter, and sometimes I go in with my wife, and sometimes we all go in together. As long as my wife (as the card holder) makes all of the purchases, then everything's above board. The purchase she made yesterday for all of us was $13. It's a lot easier to get to 125 stars buying for three people than it is buying for one.
Any other tricks you have to maximize your Starbucks Rewards?