Wednesday, July 1st, 2015
Home » My Starbucks Rewards » The refill policy at Starbucks: Refills are regardless of original beverage purchased.
My Starbucks Rewards

Just a short lesson on what a refill is at Starbucks:  I think this is valuable information for many people!

If you order a  Starbucks tall latte, and then want Pike Place Roast as a refill, the answer is “yes.”  I should clarify, the answer is “yes” only if you have stayed inside the store.  Once you leave the store, when you return, you will be paying full price for your beverage again.  The refill price is available only for same store visits.  The refill only becomes free if you are paying for your beverage with a registered Starbucks Card, at the green level of benefits.  And there is no refill price for any handcrafted beverages. Iced tea, iced coffee, and hot brewed coffee all have a refill price available to them.  In other words, if I drink a grande Frappuccino, stay in the store, and want grande iced passion tea as a refill, then I should be charged the refill price for the passion tea, not the the full price of the iced passion tea.  However, there is no way to order a Frappuccino as a refill.

I bring this up because I noticed (thanks to a comment in another blog article!) that Starbucks has finally updated their website to truly clarify the refill policy.  This had been in an area, where in the past, the website had had ambiguous language.  Thank you Starbucks for this!  Here’s the official Starbucks page on the refill benefit.



In previous articles, I have talked about the theories behind the refill policy.  As many people know, iced coffee, iced tea, and brewed coffee are beverages that are low cost to the business.  Furthermore, those who stay inside the store are more likely to linger and purchase food or other items as well.  Also, it makes no sense to tell customers, you must only purchase the lowest cost beverages to be able to receive the refill price.  In other words, there’s no logic to saying that a customer who spends a premium for a handcrafted drink may not receive a refill because he or she didn’t start out with a cheaper beverage.  And of course, there is never a refill price for drive-thru customers.

And you really do have to stay in the store to get a refill.  If you have left the store, and you return later in the day with your cup, the baristas should tell you there is no refill price available.

Hope that my readers find this helpful!

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  1. Gayle says:

    @Tatum @Valerie
    I am looking at a printed copy of the refill policy sent to me by a Sbux Cust Svc Rep and it SPECIFICALLY states, “There is no time or refill limit as long as it is within the same store visit.”
    That being said, I think there are some Managers who like to create there own rules, then they train their staff accordingly, those baristas then transfer to other stores, sometimes other cities and the bad/incorrect information is spread around. I have spent time reeducating young baristas in my city, showing them the policy direct from Customer Service. (I have a mini version that I reduced to a 3″x3″ card and laminated, to carry in my wallet next to my Sbux card….I just hand it to them to read for themselves.) Clears things up quickly….and without the “attitude” that I world often get from baristas telling me I was wrong. Corp says I’m correct.

  2. Gayle says:

    A 30 min time limit would seriously drop the number of visits I make to Starbucks in a year. It takes me an hour or more to drink a Frappuccino…to avoid brain freeze. I’d never get a refill. Heck, it even takes me an hour or more to drink any iced drink….I’d probably drop to Green level and Starbucks would lose about 200+ Venti or Trenta drink purchases a year from me and double that when who I go in with stops going because I stop…they go because I choose it…..not to mention all of the extra stuff I purchase…like food, gifts, cups, seasonal merchandise. I say leave the time limit as is.

  3. Kevin says:

    Refills should just be tied to the card and be all day long whether you leave or not. If I care enough to come back, you might sell me on something else. No stress for anyone, better customer service, more loyalty, probably more money.

  4. Emily says:

    I just experienced this problem at a store in Ohio – ordered a frappe and wanted a refill of tea but the barista refused to give it to me. I showed her on the Starbucks website the refill policy and she said ‘I understand and have read that but Brandon (a manager I’m guessing?) printed out a policy that we all had to sign when we started working here to not give refills on frappes.’ I called corp and they got on it immediately contacting the DM – and I was correct. I think Starbucks needs to have an undercover agent going to different locations to check up on them – I know I would like to do that!! :-) I’ve had this refill problem before in various locations (I’m travel a lot) and there are some managers out there that decide to make their own policy concerning the refills. Crazy! But corp is always so helpful and they appreciate any calls! Best customer service

  5. Megan C. says:

    I had a girl once tell me the refill had to be within 20 minutes! This thread is actually the reason how I found Starbucks Melody! And so happy I did!

  6. Melissa L. McLaughlin says:

    I agree! That’s a great idea.

  7. Kuikhill says:

    Hi, I am kinda new to this refill thingie and I would like somebody to help me figure this out. If I ask for a white chocolate mocha hot or iced. Do I get a free refill on those or do I have to choose something else.

  8. Melody says:

    @Kuikhill – This may help.
    There are just 4 items that are ever offered as a special refill price.
    Iced tea.
    Hot tea.
    Iced coffee.
    Brewed hot coffee.

    But before you get a refill, you had to have drunk some first drink. That can be anything.

    Now you’d like a refill priced beverage. Has to be on the list of 4 things to get the special refill price.

    And, you can’t leave the store. There are no refill if you’ve left the store.

    There are no refills in the drive thru.

  9. Jeanette says:

    I can understand all the frustration everyone is having! Went through the same thing myself. But I have to tell you, Starbucks has excellent customer service. Instead of saying something to the barista, because the charge was nominal, $0.15, and due to my confusion, I wrote an email to Starbucks via their questions section on their website. Someone investigated and got back to me in 24 hours and credited my account $1.00. So although some baristas may be misinformed and wrongly trained, to avoid the attitude and frustrations at the stores, take advantage of their customer service.

  10. Heidi says:

    Hi. if a order a green tea latte in store and didnt leave. Can I get a hot tea as refill?

  11. I agree with Kevin, “Refills should just be tied to the card and be all day long whether you leave or not.” As a Gold Member I do like the free drinks, but not the leave store policy. #change-starbucks-refill-policy #washingtondc #goldmember

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