The Starbucks Rewards is a well-loved customer loyalty program, which many of the largest U.S. retail and restaurant chains have used as a model when creating their own customer loyalty programs. As with any customer loyalty program, in order to achieve the highest level of customer engagement, Starbucks Rewards members need to understand exactly how to earn members-only freebies, discounts, coupons, deals, and promos.
How the Starbucks Rewards Program Works
Loyalty programs are a great way to save money at Starbucks. Customers can register for the Starbucks Rewards program in a couple of different ways. New members can go to Starbucks.com/Rewards or download the Starbucks Rewards app on their smartphone to get started. The program offers a number of different features and benefits:
- Earn free add-ons, drinks, and food items
- Order ahead and pay using the smartphone app
- Free refills on brewed coffee and tea
- A free birthday treat every year
- Bonus reward days
How To Earn Starbucks Rewards Stars
There are a few different ways you can earn "stars" which can be redeemed for free items:
- Earn 2 stars for every dollar spent when you purchase at a participating Starbucks location using a registered Starbucks gift card or with the Starbucks mobile app
- Earn stars on Starbucks brand purchases from retailers, including packaged coffee, K-cups, packaged prepared beverages, and more. These items are labeled with a "star code" and the receipt can be scanned into the mobile app for redemption
- Purchase Starbucks branded coffee online at the Starbucks store and connect the purchase to your Starbucks Rewards account
- Participate in games and special offers in the app and your email inbox to earn bonus stars
- Periodic "double star days" allow members to earn double the stars on qualifying purchases
Starbucks Rewards Earnings for Different Star Levels
As you earn stars and reach certain levels, they can be converted into rewards. You can choose to use a lower-level reward or save up your stars for a bigger reward:
- 25 stars: Free drink customization, including a flavored syrup, extra shot of espresso, or milk substitution such as almond or coconut milk
- 50 stars: Free brewed hot coffee, tea, or bakery item such as a croissant or bagel
- 150 stars: Free handcrafted drink (such as a latte), hot breakfast (such as a breakfast sandwich or oatmeal), or parfait
- 200 stars: Free packaged lunch, such as a protein box, salad, or sandwich
- 400 stars: Free select merchandise or packaged coffee beans
How to Redeem Starbucks Rewards
When you've reached a desired star level, you can choose to redeem it when ordering ahead using the mobile app or show it to the cashier at your local Starbucks. The stars will be removed from your account after redemption. You can choose to use your stars however you like, for example: if you have 50 stars, you can redeem them for one 50-value reward, two 25-value rewards, or keep earning more stars to get a higher-value reward.
Review of the Starbucks Rewards Program
By offering stars with each purchase at Starbucks, members get the feeling that they are getting a little something extra with each purchase. By customizing bonus star offers, customers get the feeling that Starbucks is enhancing their individual customer experience without intrusively monitoring their every move. The free coffee and tea refill for members gives the most active Starbucks customers a reason to walk past local and national restaurant chain competitors which don’t offer free refills.
As with all customer loyalty programs offered in the U.S. restaurant industry, the Starbucks Rewards program is focused on keeping customers actively engaged with one of the most valuable brands among all U.S. restaurant chains. Given the observable number of Starbucks Rewards members who are visiting the stores and making purchases regularly, it’s easy to see that the Starbucks Rewards program is effective at accomplishing its goal of customer engagement and repeat visits.