Millions of Starbucks cards were activated in December. Lots and lots of people got Starbucks cards as gifts during the holiday season. Now is the time to register that card and start earning rewards. It’s been a while since I’ve reminded people to register their cards to earn rewards under My Starbucks Rewards, but now is the perfect timing to do so. By the way, on Thursday December 19, 2013, a record 2.4 million Starbucks card were activated on that day alone.
Maybe you got a card that looks like one of these below: there are tons and tons of card designs, all of which will work to earn you your rewards.
My Starbucks Rewards has three levels to it. The starting point is here – register a card loaded with money on it. If you don’t have a Starbucks.com/card profile already, start here.
The entry level to MyStarbucksRewards is the Welcome level – Register your card. I believe that your profile has to be considered “activated” meaning a card on that profile was used at least one time since being registered. Keep in mind, your profile will allow you to register a variety of cards. The “Welcome” level gets you the following:
- Free birthday drink (you must have registered your card at least 30 days before your birthday).
- A coupon for 15% off any purchase at StarbucksStore.com
After five uses of your Starbucks card (within the calendar year), you’re at the Green level.
- All the Welcome level benefits.
- Free refills inside of Starbucks. (You may want to read the refill policy to understand the Starbucks definition of a refill).
After 30 uses of the card (within the calendar year), you’re elevated to the Gold level.
- At the Gold level, you get valuable rewards that can be used on free food or beverages. (Note: the Starbucks “Evenings Food” items are excluded – Sorry, their amazing mac and cheese isn’t available as a “reward” item).
- Coupons for discounted food and beverage.
- A shiny gold card with your name on it. (You are not required to use that card – you’ve got a registered card – keep using it if you want.
- And, of course, all the Green, and Welcome level benefits.
There are some important things you should know about MyStarbucksRewards:
- A “use” of your card is when it is swiped through the register as a form of payment – that is one “star.”
- At no point will a barista ever say, “Surprise! You have a reward!” You MUST keep track of your own rewards. I personally find this easiest to do by tracking my rewards on the Starbucks Android Phone app (obviously there is an iPhone app too). I hear stories over and over again of people who earn rewards, and never use them before they expire because they simply didn’t know they had them. You must affirmatively track your own rewards.
- You may find the licensed store locations earn you stars, but cannot redeem rewards there.
- The rewards are subject to change. The first generation of My Starbucks Rewards launched in April 2008, and that version didn’t look anything like the current version. The rewards program has changed several times in the past (almost) six years, so it is possible that it could change again. Keep up on Starbucks news by following StarbucksNews on Twitter, reading official blogs, and/or reading unofficial blogs like this one.
- You will earn “stars” on your Starbucks.com/card profile each time you use your card to pay at any Starbucks store, Evolution Fresh store, or Teavana store.
I thought I’d highlight two cards that I really like a lot:
^ That card is a core Starbucks card, easily found in Starbucks stores all over. In the past, Starbucks has a history of designing cards that are based upon real stores. The First and Pike Starbucks Card, as well as the card featuring the First and Battery Starbucks (the store is between Bell and Battery in Belltown) are both examples of that. I reached out to someone I knew in the Starbucks card department at the SSC and asked him what this above card was about. He said that it is not based upon a real store, rather it “represents any place where Starbucks is a community gathering place.” I thought that was pretty cool – I always look at this card and think of it as the “community gathering place card.”
^ The Evolution Fresh card is indeed a Starbucks card. I just think it’s pretty and cool, so I thought I’d highlight it here. That card is the only Starbucks card (to its detriment – it’s been known to confuse people) that actually does not have the word “Starbucks” on it anywhere.
One thing I’d like to see for 2014 is another Starbucks “donation” card. This would be a card where generally five cents from each transaction when the card is used is given to a good-cause organization. Actually, five cents might not sound like much, but given the millions and millions of customers each week who cycle through Starbucks, it has the potential to be huge. If you don’t know what I mean, this 2010 Starbucks Conservation International Card is a perfect example of the kind of donation card that I’m referring to. (By the way, if you see that card in use today, by all means, you can still use it just as you can use a bazillion cards with a variety of designs on them, but it no longer donates to Conservation International). We are global citizens, and coffee is a particularly global product!
I even have a listed of possible good-cause organizations for Starbucks to partner with! All of the organizations below are ones where Starbucks has at least some history of partnering with them in the past, in one way or another.
- CARE – Fights poverty in developing countries. In the 1993, Starbucks was the single largest donor to CARE. Starbucks seems to have forgotten about them, or if they currently donate to them, there’s zero news and media about it. It’s still a very worthwhile cause.
- Mercy Corps – Mercy Corps does a wide variety of things from helping the environment in developing countries, feeding starving children, and focusing on women’s education in countries where it’s not the norm for women to get an education. Both Teavana and Tazo have a history of donations to Mercy Corp. I’ve mentioned Mercy Corps a few times on this blog, and I think I’ve mentioned the idea of a donation card for Mercy Corp before.
- Conservation International – Starbucks has a long history of partnering with Conservation International, and through that partnership helped to develop their coffee sourcing standards known as CAFE practices. I’m always in favor of reinvigorating this partnership.
- Ethos Water Fund - This already is a Starbucks-run organization, but I think Starbucks could magnify what they’re doing here.
This blog post is much longer than I intended! Register your card and earn rewards!