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It's about to get easier to earn a free drink at Starbucks

April 18, 2022
3 min read
It's about to get easier to earn a free drink at Starbucks
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There’s a quicker path to a free drink for members of the Starbucks loyalty program. Starting later this month, the company is going to add a big bonus to its rewards for customers who bring in their own reusable cup. Under the new program, within just a couple of visits to your closest store, you could earn yourself a free cup of coffee.

Beginning Friday, April 22, Starbucks Rewards members who bring a reusable cup into the café will earn 25 Stars, a big boost toward a free beverage. Starbucks is billing this as an incentive for customers to help in the push for sustainability, in concert with Earth Day.

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When you look at the Starbucks rewards chart, it’s a pretty strong incentive, too. Starbucks will give rewards members a free cup of coffee once they reach 50 Stars, the rewards program’s currency. It takes 150 Stars to get a handcrafted drink – think your more elaborate Starbucks beverages. Normally, Starbucks rewards customers who pre-load their payment into their digital Starbucks card and pay with the app earn two stars for every dollar spent.

(Screenshot courtesy of Starbucks)

With the new reward bonus, two trips to Starbucks with your reusable cup could get you a free cup of coffee on your second trip. A free handcrafted beverage would come after six trips.

Related: Best credit cards to use at Starbucks

This push by Starbucks is just the latest example of a major U.S. company trying to garner customer participation in the push for sustainability. We’ve certainly seen incentives in the travel industry – I can think of numerous hotel stays where I’ve been able to earn points by simply choosing to reuse my towels, for instance.

Starbucks says the overarching goal is to reduce waste. In its announcement, the company reiterated its hopes to cut waste in half by 2030.

Related: Your stay at one of these incredible eco-friendly hotels

While customers are welcome to bring their own personal reusable cup (as long as it’s clean, Starbucks says) the company is also holding a 30%-off sale on drinkware.

As a point of logistics, in order to use your personal cup (and get the stars), you’ll have to actually go into the store. Starbucks says it’s “working on solutions” to bring this program to drive-thru and mobile ordering, but currently the program is only available to those who use their rewards account in-store.

Featured image by There's a Starbucks located behind the escalators.(Photo by Elizabeth Hund/The Points Guy)
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.

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4 / 5
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Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases