Category Archives: Starbucks Card Rewards/ Loyalty

News: Bonus Stars at Target Starbucks Oct 17-19/ You Can Now Redeem Rewards at Target Stores

image001 Target bonus starsMyStarbucksRewards at TargetBeginning October 16th, Target Starbucks locations now have the ability to redeem your “Lucky Dozen” or free “Birthday” rewards that you receive when you’re a part of MyStarbucksRewards.

October 17 – 19th, you will earn bonus stars for your purchases at Target store Starbucks! Each time you use your registered Starbucks card at Target Starbucks, October 17 – 19, you’re earning two stars!

One important thing to note, I was able to confirm with an official Starbucks spokesperson that “MSR offers (1:1) emails are not redeemable at Target Café stores.” Let me explain what that means: Starbucks uses “one to one” marketing. This means that you might receive promotional emails that are different than what your friends receive. Starbucks may email MyStarbucksRewards promotions such as “bonus stars for ordering Oprah Chai” or “Get one breakfast sandwhich and get a second half off”. Those are examples of the one to one MSR offers. Target Starbucks are not honoring these MyStarbucksRewards special promotions.

It’s still very big news that you can redeem rewards at Target Starbucks now!

About a year ago, I wrote an article that had a short summary of MyStarbucksRewards. It’s still a helpful article, though you should absolutely check out for all the details and latest information on MyStarbucksRewards:

Last but not least, always check back with for the latest reward information. The MyStarbucksRewards program is subject to change as Starbucks is always re-assessing what program offerings will work best.

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Coming Soon: Beautiful Fall Starbucks Cards (And the Seahawks 12th Man Fan Starbucks Card)

Fall Starbucks cards including the Seahawks Fan CardStarting on September 2, 2014, you’ll find some beautiful new Starbucks cards at your neighborhood store. The new autumn seasonal cards include four cards (in the shape of leaves) that can be used as key chain cards, and one traditional card. The one traditional (rectangular) card has a coffee cup with leaves like steam above it. I really like the card with the coffee cup and leaves as steam! Actually, I think all the new cards are very pretty. I personally wouldn’t use a key chain card but I do think they’re pretty.

As always, you can use any Starbucks card to earn and redeem all your MyStarbucksRewards perks – so register your card! Here’s the new seasonal cards:

IMAG1886 Leaves - 4 designs - keychain cardsIMAG1888 - Fall 2014 card - cup with leavesIf you want to learn a little more about registering a Starbucks card, click here. Earlier this year I wrote a quick article summarizing the benefits of registering a Starbucks card (and it still almost entirely contains good information – one thing has changed since I wrote that article here, there are now bonus stars for buying at-home coffee at Starbucks.)

You may soon see a Seahawks fan card available in Seattle Starbucks stores, and some greater-Seattle locations. It’s a “12th Man” type card. When you remove the sticker that says “It’s more than a card…” you’ll find the Seahawks logo underneath it. I have a feeling these cards will go quickly:

IMAG1889 - Seahawks fan card

So if you’re a Starbucks card collector, be on the lookout for these great cards!

Now is a good time to mention that if you’re a Starbucks collector, there will be a Starbucks “Coffee Con” on October 10th and 11th. I assume there will be lots of people with booths who are selling and trading collectibles. I’ll have a booth too and you’ll find me there with a stack of Tales of the Siren books (I’ll take payment in the form of Starbucks cards. One $10 Starbucks card equals buying a book.)

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What happened to the free tall coffee on the side of the Starbucks coffee package? What are stars?

IMAG1577 Bags of grocery store coffee - U Village QFC 9 Aug 2014Over the past year, I’ve been asked many times, ‘What happened to the free brewed tall coffee that you used to get for buying Starbucks packaged coffee at the grocery store?

That program is gone. The packaging that used to offer a free tall coffee has been phased out in favor of MyStarbucksRewards loyalty program. If you happen to find coffee that still has the free brewed coffee coupon on the side, I would assume it’s old packaging.

If you don’t remember the old program, there’s an official article here on Exchange Empty Coffee Bag for a Tall Coffee.

So why oh why did Starbucks eliminate that perk? I can only make an educated guess, but it seems to me that Starbucks wanted their rewards program to be seamless between grocery stores and between the actual retail stores. It shouldn’t matter where you’re buying your whole bean coffee, you’re earning stars. (And when you’re inside company-operated Starbucks stores, as of March this year, you’re earning bonus stars for your at-home coffee purchases.) In order to start earning stars, put money on any Starbucks card, register it at, and use it to pay for your purchases. Be sure to track your rewards by frequently logging into or using the phone app. Every time the register barista swipes your card, it’s one star (there are some limited exceptions: you’re not earning stars during card reload swipes, and when you’re getting a free refill, no star is earned).

I suspect that customers who are particularly upset about the loss of the tall brewed coffee coupon don’t understand the fun things you can do with Starbucks Lucky Dozen rewards. When your account at is gold level, every 12 stars you earn a “Lucky Dozen” reward.

What can you get with a Lucky Dozen reward? Let me throw out some suggestions:

You can doctor up a Frappuccino and make it a fancy “secret menu” item. Always know the recipe for what you’re ordering! I tried this Strawberry Shortcake Frappuccino recipe. It was totally delicious. What an amazing treat. I wouldn’t do this all the time – it’s dessert in a cup!

IMAG1554 Strawberry Shortcake Frappuccino - 9 Aug 14You can use your Lucky Dozen reward for a free one ounce of Teavana loose leaf tea, at any Teavana store:

IMAG1562 Teavana Store Univ Village 9 Aug 2014IMAG1576 one ounce of free teavana tea

You can use your Lucky Dozen reward on any salad, panini, or food item at Starbucks. (Evenings food and beer and wine is not included as a Lucky Dozen reward). This is incredibly valuable if you like either the salads or the paninis! The salads are often $6.95!

IMAG1582 Salads at Starbucks 9 Aug 2014 - UV3 StarbucksIMAG1590 Turkey Pesto Panaini 9 August 2014


At any Evolution Fresh store, you can use your Lucky Dozen reward for any bottled Evolution Fresh juice. By the way, you can do the same at Starbucks – use your reward for an Evolution Fresh cold-pressed bottled juice or any other bottled beverage:

IMAG1594 Evolution Fresh Cafe 9 August 2014IMAG1597 Bottled evolution fresh juicesIMAG1601 Sweet Greens Evolution Fresh Juice - 9 August 2014

As should be obvious, I was totally stuffed by the time I was done doing the “research” for this article. I ate and drank my way through most of my rewards! I hope you can see that in the long run, you’ve got a lot more flexibility and value in a MyStarbucksRewards Lucky Dozen reward than in just a tall brewed cup of coffee. So enter your star codes, and earn stars!



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Hot August Bonus Stars: MyStarbucksRewards Promotions

Starbucks employs one-to-one marketing when it comes to promotions via MyStarbucksRewards. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but this is an excellent time to mention it again. This means that those who have a registered Starbucks card receive individualized promotions. There is a downside to one-to-one marketing: It’s confusing. At no point can a barista say, “our promo this weekend is a bonus star for each panani sandwich that you buy.”  Rather, the best that the barista can say is, “You might be earning bonus stars for bakery goods, if you got that email for bonus stars on bakery items. Or, you might be earning bonus stars for buying sandwiches. It just all depends on which promotion email you received.” Even the amount of bonus stars for each item purchased can vary. Your own promotion might vary a lot from these examples.

I got the promotion for two bonus stars when purchasing any Starbucks panini, salad, or sandwich from August 7, 2014 through August 13, 2014. I really like this one! I’m glad I got it. I like a couple of the paninis (the Sante Fe Chicken is underrated!) and will definitely take advantage of this promotion. It’s an easy way to earn bonus stars:

2 Bonus Stars for LunchA regular reader of this site forwarded to me her personalized promotion: one bonus star when purchasing bakery items August 7th through the 13th:

1 bonus star for bakery items

One reader got a promotion of three bonus stars for every shaken iced tea, August 7th through the 13th:

Screenshot_2014-08-08 - 3 stars for iced tea


Some people may have received a promotion that involves bonus stars for buying bistro boxes at Starbucks, August 7th – August 13th.

There are a lot of bonus stars happening from August 7th – August 13th!

And yet another reader of this site emailed me that she received a promotion to earn bonus stars for buying shaken Teavana iced teas at Starbucks. During the month of August, if she buys four shaken teas, she’ll earn three bonus stars. If she buys seven shaken iced teas, she’ll earn ten bonus stars.

Shake up you tea bonus stars challengeI find it sort of interesting to see the variety of promotions that people receive. It’s possible that some people didn’t get any at all. :-( But now is the time to check and see. If you use an email address for your Starbucks profile that you rarely check, you might want to check now. Also, I’m pretty sure that these promotions show up somehow in the iPhone Starbucks app.

Enjoy your August promotions! Which one did you receive?

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Cute little mini Frappuccino Starbucks card is here!

New Frappuccino cards 2Be on the look out for an adorable new Starbucks card at your neighborhood store! I think this will be another good one for card collectors. There really haven’t been all that many mini cards in the U.S.  Like other mini cards, this one has a hole in it for your keyring.

While I don’t normally use mini cards, I do think this is too cute. Register any Starbucks card (loaded with money on it) and you can start earning rewards. You can register your card, and an image of it will show on your Starbucks mobile phone app. You can use ANY card to earn stars and redeem rewards. One of the ways that MyStarbucksRewards is flexible is that you’re not locked into using one card. All of the rewards go by your profile at At just the Welcome Level of MyStarbucksRewards, you will get a free beverage on your birthday. (This doesn’t mean you necessarily have to be at a Starbucks on your exact birthday. Register a card at least 30 days before your birthday. Use a registered card (with money on it) at least once at least 30 days before your birthday. Your birthday reward will appear on your profile sometime during the week before your actual birthday. And like any other reward, you keep track of it yourself, and redeem it any time you like, before the reward expires. The rewards are digital and will expire about five weeks from when earned. (The website says 30 days from when earned but I have noticed that for months now, it’s been closer to five weeks.)

Starting May 23rd, you’ll find a special 16-ounce re-usable cold tumbler in the stores. Buy this specially-marked tumbler, and get your first Frappuccino Blended Beverage in it on the house! The new Frappuccino tumbler will be available until supplies last:

Frappuccino Cold Cup 2

Look for the cute new card by the registers at your neighborhood participating Starbucks.

IMAG0495 Frappuccino mini card 2

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NEWS: MyStarbucksRewards Now Gives You Stars for At-Home Coffee

NEWS: MyStarbucksRewards has added a benefit: When you use your registered Starbucks card to pay for your at-home coffee purchase, you earn a star for each coffee item. In other words, whole bean coffee (both core coffees and Reserve coffee), K-Cups, Verismo pods, and packages of Via Ready Brew now all earn an extra star for each coffee item purchased. If a customer bought a chocolate chip cookie, pound of Pike Place Roast, and tall iced tea in one transaction, the customer would earn two stars: One star for the transaction, and one more star for the pound of whole bean coffee. This added benefit is available at company-operated Starbucks locations.

This is a big change! I think it also reflects how nimble MyStarbucksRewards is and how it is ever-changing to meet the needs of its participants. Since coffee is at the core of what Starbucks does, I see this as long overdue.

The official statement on the MyStarbucksRewards change is here.

Also, there’s a sale going on for whole bean coffee.

In Canada only, the sale starts now and goes to the 7th of April:

At Home Coffee Event CANADA

In the United States, there is a pre-sale offering 25% off of whole bean coffee if the customer has received a special email from MyStarbucksRewards for the pre-sale or has received a coupon from a barista for 25% off whole bean. From April 1st through April 7th, Starbucks whole bean coffee is 25% off in the U.S. and no special coupon on invitation is required.

At Home Coffee Event Image

Time to stock up on coffee!

Just as a reminder, anybody (both partners and customers) can join MyStarbucksRewards. Grab a Starbucks card at the register, load money on it, and then register your Starbucks card to unlock your perks. Be sure to track your own rewards. No barista will ever say to you, “Surprise! You have a reward! Would you like to use it now?” You have to keep track of your own rewards. I find it easiest to track my rewards with the mobile phone app.


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Cute new seasonal Starbucks cards coming April 1st: Easter Card and Admin Day Card

2Admin Day and Easter Starbucks cards March 2014Beginning April 1, 2014, Starbucks will introduce two new limited cards into their Starbucks card lineup. One card is an Easter Starbucks card. It’s so cute! The classic Starbucks cups are decorated like painted eggs and hidden in grass. Look closely, and you’ll even find a ladybug made it onto the Easter card.

The other card is an Administrative Professional’s Day card. Admin Day this year is April 23rd.

I think both of these cards are very clever. Thank you very much to the Starbucks card collector who sent me this image. I believe this is the first Easter Starbucks card that Starbucks has ever produced. There was an Admin Day card in 2013.

Just as a reminder, you can register any Starbucks card and beginning earning loyalty perks. There are three levels of rewards: Welcome, Green, and Gold. When you reach Gold level, there is no requirement to switch and use the actual physical gold card – I’ve seen that cause confusion. Use whatever card you like, so long as it is registered to your profile at, loaded with money on it, and used to pay for your transaction. At the Gold level of benefits, you’ll earn free rewards which can be used for food or beverages.

Visit for all the official details on My Starbucks Rewards.

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The First Starbucks Star Dash of 2014 – Which Star Dash did you receive?

A Star Dash is an invite from Starbucks to earn something extra from Starbucks based upon earning stars within a specified time period.  All of the Starbucks Star Dashes represent one-to-one marketing, meaning that they are tailored to the person who receives them.  How many stars you need to earn in the dash is based upon your past transaction history.

Now is the time to sign up for the first Star Dash of 2014.  Many customers will have received a Star Dash invite – if you use the Android phone app, you won’t see it there.  You’ll need to log in your profile at  Log in to your account and check what you have waiting there!  You don’t want to miss any of your rewards either – I have heard all kinds of stories of people simply not realizing they had digital rewards.  You must affirmatively track your own rewards.  No barista will ever say, “Surprise, you have a reward!”

Back on the topic of the Star Dash, here’s what the first Star Dash of 2014 looked like for me:

Untitled-1 Melody's Star DashIf I earn 40 stars by February 11th, I will get 20 bonus stars.  Please do not be alarmed in reading this.  YOUR Star Dash may not look like this at all!  Some people will get emails that tell them that they’ll earn bonus stars if they earn as few as 8, or 12 stars before the 11th of February.  Some of the emails may show the rewards as a $5.00 and $10.00 gift card, depending on what yours looks like!  Do not assume that your Star Dash will look like mine.  I have heard that there is a lot of variation to this first Star Dash – yours is tailored to you!

You log into your profile, and click to “Join Now.”  One very confusing thing is that the second page, confirming that you’re in states that the stars must be earned before February 9th.  Here’s the second page:

Untitled-2 - Stardash chart

That’s a little confusing – February 9th or February 11th?  I will email an official Starbucks spokesperson and try to find out more information about which of the two dates is correct.

One reader of this blog received this Star Dash:

image- 7 - Star Dash - Bill's Star Dash challengeAs you can see, some people are doing a leisurely Star Walk, and others are on a serious Star Run.  ;-) Which Star Dash did you receive?

If you are not part of MyStarbucksRewards then what you need to do is this:  go to Starbucks and grab a gift card.  Put at least $5 on that card.  Register it online at  You will get a free drink reward if you register a Starbucks card (your first card; this is not for existing MyStarbucksRewards members) before the 7th of February.  And again, your valuable rewards will just expire on you and go to waste unless you take the time to track them.  For those of you who do have a Gold Card, keep in mind that you are not required to use it.  Use any card registered to your profile.  Join now, and get a free drink!

Untitled-4 Free drinkSo did you get a Star Dash, and what was your challenge, tailored to you? (Here’s one reader who has to get 25 stars to get his Dash reward.)

If you like browsing different card styles, or more on this topic, please click through the past Starbucks Card articles.

EDIT – JANUARY 28, 2014:

I have heard from an official Starbucks spokesperson:

“We will extend the Star Dash through the 11th.”

Now you know the right end date.



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Register Your Starbucks Card: Earn Rewards

DSC00299 Register a card handoutWelcome to 2014.  Happy New Year’s Day!!

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.

DSC00283 Register a Starbucks cardMy 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 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

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 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:

DSC00297 Starbucks as a community gathering place card^ 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.”

DSC00295 copy^ 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!


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The Starbucks Card: 2001 – 2013 – Then and Now

On December 19, 2013, Starbucks customers activated a record 2.4 million Starbucks cards – just in that one single day.  Official Starbucks spokesperson Linda Mills confirmed for me that 2.4 million cards were activated.

I bet in 2001, when the Starbucks card was just in its baby beginnings, nobody thought about people activating 2.4 million cards in one single day.  In February 2001, the very first card was given to partners – shown to them as a prototype, original concept, and distributed to partners attending a leadership conference.  That 2001 card looked like this:

DSC00134 Prototype Gift Cards 2001 StarbucksIn November 2001, the Starbucks card was officially launched to the general public.  Between November 2001, and July 2002, Starbucks customers activated four million Starbucks cards.  The first card available to the general public was the “Snowflake” card that featured white snowflakes on a silver background.   This card came with a red holiday sleeve although when first loaded, if the customer put $100 or more on the card, they were given a special tin case.

Flashback for a moment to the original concept, prototype Starbucks cards: Deep inside the headquarters, six prototype cards (probably seen by very few outside of the headquarters) are framed on a wall.  Here are the 2001 original concept Starbucks cards:

DSC00137 Original Concept Starbucks Card - 2001DSC00136 Prototype Starbucks CardDSC00135 Prototype Starbucks Card 2001DSC00134 Prototype Gift Cards 2001 StarbucksDSC00132 Original Concept Cards Starbucks 20 Dec 2013DSC00128 - 6 original concept cards - Starbucks 2001Now you’ve seen the original 2001 concept Starbucks cards!  If somehow you have one of those six cards, hold on to it.  It is precious.

(For Starbucks history, I used the website as a reference – if you want to browse cards, it’s the most complete catalog of cards that I know of.)

Flash forward twelve years, one of the more collectible current Starbucks cards is this rose metal card:

DSC00073 Rose Metal Starbucks Card 18Dec2013If you want one, your best bet is eBay.  I sort of think it’s amazing to see the then and now of the Starbucks card.  If you like browsing through articles about Starbucks cards, I recommend reading the articles in the Starbucks card category of this site.

What do you think of the original concept cards? Should Starbucks resurrect one of those original six designs?

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