I love Starbucks. It’s sadly an addiction of mine, and one which I don’t wish to cure. My particular Starbucks is full of friendly and helpful baristas who are willing to make sure your order is right, and work very hard to fix any grievances. I visit the store more than enough and stick around a lot, so I have found that there is a lot of use in having Starbucks Rewards.
For those of you unfamiliar with the program, Starbucks Rewards rewards Starbucks’s “best” customers with all kinds of perks. They break it down into levels. Wi-Fi was included in these perks starting from the Welcome Level; however, as of July 1st, everyone gets free Wi-Fi at Starbucks. Whether or not they would replace this perk has not been disclosed yet.
What You Get at Each Level
Just for signing up, you are entered in the Welcome Level. Register any Starbucks gift card online or over the phone, and you will get a free customized drink on your birthday. I admit, without the Wi-Fi, the Welcome Level is pretty weak. However, you only need five stars to move onto the next level, and I will get into how easy it is to earn stars, even if you’re broke, later. If you don’t have a Starbucks gift card laying around from your last birthday or that Christmas office party, you only need $5 to load one. I get gift cards every year for my birthday and Christmas, but I also have a (Red)TM card, and a Conservation International Preservation card. Since any card you have registered works towards you earning stars, I alternate between those two because besisdes earning myself free drinks, Starbucks donates five cents of each purchase on these cards to the respective organizations.
Once you get five stars, you will be at the Green Level. At this level you get the same perks as Welcome Level – which at this point is your birthday drink – and you also get free customizations with your drink, such as syrups and soy milk. I always ordered everything with soy before, and this saves so much money. I like to add syrups to things to experiment because, well, I can. At this level, you also get free refills on brewed coffee. It’s once you get to this point that it doesn’t burn so much that they made Wi-Fi free for everyone and didn’t replace the perk. It’s also where you see the savings come in. Syrups cost thirty-five cents; coffee refills and soy cost fifty cents. Those are the kind of savings that add up fast.
At thirty stars, you reach the Gold Level. Besides all the perks that were alrready discussed, you also get a personalized gold card and a free drink coupon every fifteen stars. If you earn another thirty stars in this level, you retain your Gold Level status for another year, but if you let it lapse, you keep your stars but have to start over at green until you earn thirty. As of right now, I personally have 156 stars, all of which earned after the program started on December 26, 2009.
How to Earn Stars
It’s really easy to earn stars. First of all, if you have a choice, always go to an actual Starbucks, and not a licensed one that’s in many stores. The licensed stores don’t honor the Starbucks Rewards system. Then, this is where it gets really simple. One purchase equals one star – there’s no price value attached. I usually stay in the store – I totally take advantage of the free Wi-Fi. Because of this, if I’m not terribly hungry when I enter the store, but then I decide that I might want a bagel, I purchase it later. So at that point, I just earned two stars in Starbucks.
How I really earn stars, though, is through my love of the bottled Frappuccino drinks and Starbucks Double Shot + Energy drinks. You know, the ones that some of you probably buy at a convenience store, or even at the grocery store? Stop it. They sell those in Starbucks. If you buy them in Starbucks instead of at wherever you’ve been buying them before, use your card and earn stars for something you would have bought somewhere else.
It’s really that simple to earn stars. If you make separate purchases when possible, and purchase the Starbucks licensed drinks that you were going to buy somewhere else in a store, you can make the most out of earning stars. Then just watch those free drinks start coming in. I’ve already earned 8 free drinks in only six months. Another benefit to being in this program is at some point, you start getting coupons. That’s additional free drinks, and even free food and products. All it takes is registering a gift card you probably already have lying around. You do need to make sure to keep money on the card so that you can use it for your purchases, but besides that, it is very easy to earn free drinks with the Starbucks Rewards system.