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What Are Starbucks Rewards and How Do They Work?

Starbucks offers a Rewards Program that benefits loyal customers. So if you love Starbucks coffee and baked goods, consider downloading the app and signing up for Starbucks Rewards.

Key Takeaways

  • Starbucks Rewards are points (Stars) that members can earn on purchases and use for free drink modifications, food, beverages, and merchandise.
  • It’s free to sign up for Starbucks Rewards, and members will earn Stars for every dollar they spend at Starbucks.
  • Starbucks Rewards are tiered from 25 to 400 Stars and expire after 6 months.

Keep reading to learn more about Starbucks Rewards, including how to sign up and what you can redeem them for!

What Are Starbucks Rewards?

Starbucks Rewards, or Stars, are points that rewards members accumulate, which can be exchanged for free drink modifiers, menu items, and Starbucks merchandise.

Rewards can be earned through qualifying Starbucks purchases or special promotions.

Starbucks Rewards members will earn Stars for every dollar they spend at Starbucks (with some exclusions).

Once you’ve accumulated enough Stars, you can redeem them for rewards at participating Starbucks locations.

The Starbucks app is the easiest way to earn, track, and redeem your rewards.

You can earn and redeem rewards on purchases made both in-store and online.

You can also pay using any method you prefer and still earn rewards, though you will earn more rewards when using specific payment methods (we’ll cover that below).

Most Starbucks locations accept rewards, but some do not, so check with your local Starbucks to confirm whether they participate in the Starbucks Rewards program.

What Are the Benefits of Starbucks Rewards?

There are other benefits to the Starbucks Rewards program, in addition to the ability to earn Stars and redeem them for rewards.

Starbucks Rewards members are eligible for special offers and promotions and will even earn a free drink or food item on their birthday!

Let’s look at some of the additional benefits of the Starbucks Rewards program:

  • Birthday Reward — You will receive one complimentary handcrafted drink, bottled beverage, or food item on your birthday.
  • Free Refills — Starbucks Rewards members receive free refills on hot or iced brewed coffee or tea. However, you must be present in the store to earn your refill, which means you can’t leave and then come back for a refill later!
  • Early or Extended Access to Promotions — Sometimes, Starbucks offers Starbucks Rewards members early or extended access to promotional discounts or special menu items.
  • Personalized Offers — Starbucks will sometimes offer rewards members personalized discounts on food or beverages or an opportunity to earn Stars based on their purchase history and preferences.
  • Double Star Day — Members can earn twice as many Stars on their purchases on Double Star Days. You can receive notifications about upcoming Double Star Days on the Starbucks app or by opting in to receive Starbucks’ promotional emails.
  • Reusable Cup Benefit — Starbucks will occasionally offer bonus Stars for members that bring a clean, reusable cup for their beverage.

You can redeem your Starbucks Rewards for free food, drinks, drink modifications, and merchandise from Starbucks.

We’ll get into how many Stars you’ll need to redeem for each menu item in the next section below.

What Can You Get With Starbucks Rewards?

You can redeem Starbucks Rewards for free menu items and Starbucks merchandise.

There are different rewards available for different amounts of Stars.

Rewards include modifications such as extra shots of espresso or flavored syrups, food and beverage items, whole bean coffee, and reusable cups.

Let’s look at the rewards available at each Star level:

25 Stars

For 25 Stars, you can customize your Starbucks drink.

You can choose an extra shot of espresso, a shot of flavored syrup, or a sauce, such as caramel or mocha sauce.

For 25 Stars, you can also substitute the milk in your beverage for a non-dairy option at no additional charge.

Any modifications need to be added to a base beverage and can’t be redeemed as a stand-alone beverage.

That means you can’t just redeem 25 Stars for a shot of espresso (or chocolate syrup) on its own; it needs to be added to another drink.

You also can’t use Stars to add a modifier to a beverage redeemed using Stars, so you can’t redeem 50 Stars for a coffee and then an additional 25 Stars to add syrup to that coffee.

50 Stars

You can redeem 50 Stars for select Starbucks menu items.

50 Stars will get you a hot brewed coffee, tea, or a bakery item.

Bakery items include cookies, cake pops, and coffee cake. 50 Stars cannot be redeemed for iced coffee.

150 Stars

150 Stars can be redeemed for a handcrafted beverage (such as a Frappuccino,) a parfait, any prepackaged snack item (excluding protein boxes), or a hot breakfast item.

Hot breakfast items include oatmeal and breakfast sandwiches.

200 Stars

You can redeem 200 Stars for one lunch item.

Lunch items include sandwiches, salads, or protein boxes.

In Canada, you’ll need to redeem 250 Stars for one lunch item.

400 Stars

400 Stars will get you select Starbucks merchandise or packaged coffee, such as whole bean or ground coffee.

Merchandise must be valued at $20 or less, but Starbucks allows you to redeem 400 Stars and pay the difference for any merchandise over $20.

How Do You Sign Up for Starbucks Rewards?

You can sign up for Starbucks Rewards on the Starbucks app or the webvsite.

You must create an account to begin earning rewards.

It’s free to sign up, and you’ll start earning rewards as soon as you begin making qualifying purchases.

Let’s go over how to sign up for Starbucks rewards step by step:

Step 1. To create a Starbucks account, download the Starbucks app or go to the Starbucks website. And click “Rewards” and “Join now.”

Step 2. Enter your name and email address and create a password to create an account.

Step 3. You’ll now be officially enrolled in Starbucks Rewards!

Step 4. If you’d like to add your birthday to receive a birthday reward, click on the man icon at the top right of the app to access your account settings.

Step 5. Tap “Personal info” and enter your birthday.

Step 6. Once you join Starbucks Rewards, you’ll automatically be provided with a digital Starbucks card with a $0 balance. You can add funds to the card through the app, online at starbucks.com/account, or in-store through the cashier. You can view this digital card by tapping “Starbucks Cards & Payment” on your account screen.

How Do You Earn Stars With Starbucks Rewards?

There are many ways to earn Stars with Starbucks Rewards, but the easiest way is to order and pay for your order on the app.

When you order and pay for Starbucks on the app or scan your app when you order in-store, you’ll automatically earn Stars for each dollar that you spend.

Let’s go over the different ways that you can earn Stars with Starbucks Rewards:

1. Paying with a Starbucks Card — 2 Stars for Every $1 Spent

You will earn two Stars for every dollar you spend when you pay for your order with a Starbucks card.

You can pay with a digital Starbucks card in the app by using their Scan and Pay feature or scan your app and pay in-store using a physical Starbucks card.

2. Pay Using a Linked Payment Method — 1 Star for Every $1 Spent

You will earn one Star for every dollar spent when you pay for your order using a linked payment method.

You can link a credit card, debit card, or a mobile wallet to your Starbucks account and use it to pay for your order directly through the Starbucks app.

3. Scan Your Member Barcode and Pay Using an Alternative Method — 1 Star for Every $1 Spent

You can still earn Stars when you pay for your Starbucks order with cash or a payment method not linked to your account, such as a credit card, debit card, or mobile wallet.

All you have to do is open the scan feature in your Starbucks app and have the cashier scan the barcode on your screen before you pay.

You’ll earn one Star for every dollar you spend.

4. Star Codes

Occasionally Starbucks will offer promotional Star codes, which can be redeemed for Stars.

The number of Stars will vary depending on the code, and you can redeem a maximum of two Star codes per day.

To redeem your Star codes, enter them on their rewards website.

5. Bonus Star Offers

Sometimes, Starbucks or other companies (with permission from Starbucks) will offer promotions where you can earn “bonus stars.”

The number of bonus Stars you will receive and how you earn them will vary depending on the promotion.

6. Partnership Programs

Some of Starbucks’ business partners will offer Stars to eligible customers.

These partners will set their own terms and conditions for how Stars are earned.

What If I Forgot to Scan My Starbucks Rewards?

Unfortunately, there’s no way for you to earn Stars if you’ve already made your purchase without scanning your barcode.

You can scan for rewards at any point when you’re up at the register, as long as you do it before you pay, so remember to scan before you pay next time!

How to Redeem Starbucks Stars

You can redeem Starbucks Rewards when you order ahead on the app or at the register when you order in-store.

However, not all Starbucks locations participate in the Rewards Program, and some locations only accept the 150 Stars tier for redemptions.

Keep in mind that you cannot redeem Stars when ordering Starbucks delivery through Uber Eats.

When you order Starbucks in advance on the app, you’ll be able to redeem your Stars when making qualifying purchases.

Simply open the app and tap “Order,” select your menu items, and you’ll be able to redeem your rewards when you check out.

If you prefer to order in person, you can still redeem Starbucks Rewards on your purchases.

Make sure the Starbucks employee knows that you want to redeem your Stars, then tap the “Scan” feature on your app and have them scan the QR code before you pay for your order.

If you have a payment method linked to your Starbucks account, you can use the “Scan and Pay” feature at the register to scan for rewards and pay for any remaining balance on your order at the same time.

Do Starbucks Rewards Expire?

Starbucks Rewards expire six months after you earn them. However, your Stars won’t expire if you sign up for a Starbucks Rewards Visa card, as long as the account remains open.

If you do close your account, your Stars will expire six months after the end of the month in which the account was closed.

Starbucks will always apply your oldest rewards first when you redeem Stars.

In addition, you can view any Stars that are about to expire in the rewards section of your Starbucks app.

Can You Redeem Starbucks Rewards at Target?

You can redeem Starbucks Rewards at most Target Starbucks locations.

However, some Target Starbucks locations only accept redemptions for the 150 Star tier, which will get you a handcrafted beverage, hot breakfast item, or snack (see above for the rewards at each Star level).

You can’t order ahead for pickup at a Target Starbucks, so you must place your order in the store.

To redeem or earn your Stars at Target, you must place your order with the barista in the store and have the cashier scan your app before paying.

You can also redeem Starbucks Rewards at Kroger Starbucks locations and other grocery stores like Dillon’s, Baker’s, Fred Meyer, and Pick n Save.

Are Starbucks Rewards Worth It?

Starbucks rewards are definitely worth it! It’s free to sign up for the program, and you’ll earn rewards on purchases that can be redeemed for free menu items and merchandise.

Starbucks Rewards members also get extra benefits, such as birthday rewards and free refills.

You don’t need to purchase anything to become a rewards member, but most Starbucks Rewards are earned through purchases.

If you aren’t a frequent Starbucks customer, you may not earn much in terms of rewards, but there’s no fee to sign up for the program.

If you’re a Starbucks regular, you’ll be earning free drinks in no time!

Conclusion

Starbucks Rewards are an easy way to earn free Starbucks menu items and merchandise.

You’ll rack up Stars with each purchase you make; just don’t forget to scan your app before you pay, or better yet, order right through the app!

The Starbucks Rewards program comes with many additional benefits, but it’s the most useful for people who are frequent customers.

For more information about Starbucks, check out the articles below.

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Last Updated: June 12, 2022

About the Author

Lauren Vigdor is a creative writer and hospitality professional with over a decade of experience in the food and beverage industry. She specializes in food and beverage writing.

Her book, “Drink Like a Bartender,” was written as a guide to help novice drinkers navigate the beverage world and was rated one of Forbes Magazine’s Best Bar Books of 2017.

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