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Starbucks is making it easier to earn that next free cup of coffee

Aug. 26, 2020
4 min read
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It's official: The magic of pumpkin spice everything is back on the menu at Starbucks.

But that's not the only Starbucks news brewing. The way you earn Starbucks Rewards Stars for your next free coffee, pumpkin spice latte, Frappuccino or cake pop is changing a bit, too.

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Starbucks is a revenue-based loyalty program, and you earn 2 Starbucks Stars per $1 spent when paying in Starbucks with a preloaded Starbucks Card (which you can reload quickly and easily in the Starbucks app).

But beginning Sept. 15, you'll also be able to earn 1 Star per $1 if you decide to pay with cash, debit, a credit card or a mobile wallet. More ways to earn rewards is a good thing in a pinch — but you can do better.

Related: Best credit cards to use at Starbucks

To earn double the number of Stars you earn, simply load money to your Starbucks app with your credit card before placing your order. You can do this from your Starbucks app in about two or three clicks.

Screenshot courtesy of Starbucks

The best credit card to use to load your Starbucks account is probably the one that's most rewarding for dining charges. For example, the Citi Prestige® Card awards 5x Citi Thank You points per dollar when dining at restaurants, the American Express® Gold Card awards 4x Amex Membership Rewards points at restaurants and the Chase Sapphire Reserve awards 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar when dining out.

That way, you'll be earning credit card rewards while also racking up Starbucks Stars.

We've even seen Chase Offers and Amex Offers at Starbucks in recent months, which could score you a deeper discount on these reloads.

The Starbucks Rewards Visa Card is another possibility. While it may seem like a smart choice for the venti-obsessed, you can actually earn more rewards on your Starbucks fill-ups using one of the previously mentioned (and much more versatile) rewards credit cards.

The information for the Starbucks Rewards Visa card and the Citi Prestige card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Regardless of how you pay, be sure and earn those Stars. Starbucks Stars are worth about 4 to 5 cents each, depending on how you use them.

Here are the redemption opportunities within the Starbucks Rewards program:

25 Stars: Drink modifications (such as an extra shot)
50 Stars: Any size hot coffee, tea or a bakery item
150 Stars: Handcrafted beverages (including iced coffee), oatmeal or a breakfast sandwich
200 Stars: Lunch sandwiches, salads or protein boxes
400 Stars: Packaged coffee or a single merchandise item up to $20

Related: The 12 dining rewards programs worth joining

(Photo courtesy of Starbucks)
(Photo courtesy of Starbucks)

Bottom line

A new way to earn Stars at Starbucks isn't groundbreaking, but it's good for those who may not always be in a postion to load more funds to a Starbucks Card.

But don't forget, it's very possible to double-dip and earn both Stars and credit card rewards at the same time ... while enjoying your next pumpkin cream cold brew, of course.

Featured image by Connor Surdi
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.