How to Maximize Your Starbucks Rewards

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If you’re fuelling a Starbucks addiction like me, you’re probably looking for the best way to get the most bang for your buck. Or at least Stars for your caffeine intake. Here’s how to maximize your Starbucks Rewards points for the best value in your coffee budget!

What is the dollar value of Starbucks Rewards points?

How much your Starbucks Stars are worth varies by the item you’re redeeming them for. By the calculations below, the actual dollar value of Starbucks points ranges from $0.03 to almost $0.05, depending on what you’re buying.

How do Starbucks Rewards points work?

Over the years, the Starbucks Rewards program has changed. Unfortunately, it’s become less rewarding over time. However, it’s still worth participating, especially if you’re a regular coffee addict like me.

  • You earn 2 Stars for every $1 spent at Starbucks
  • You can earn 4 Stars for every $1 spent on Double-Star Days
  • You can earn bonus stars through promotions, games, and select products
  • You can also get stars from Starbucks coffee sold at the grocery store (typically 10 Stars per bag of whole bean or ground coffee)

Starbucks Rewards expire after 6 months, so you have to keep redeeming as you earn so you don’t lose them!

How to earn the most Starbucks Stars the fastest

Aside from just wandering into Starbucks every day and buying everything you want, there are a few strategic ways to earn the maximum number of Stars.

Starbucks rewards frequency of visits more than dollars spent with Star Dash

If you’re on a limited coffee budget but you still want to earn a lot of Stars, go to Starbucks more often rather than treating yourself to more expensive orders less frequently.

Starbucks wants you to come in every day. Ideally, twice a day! The Star Dash lets you earn 50 to 100 bonus stars simply for visiting every day, no matter how much (or how little) you spend.

Look for a Star Dash to appear in your app. It will offer bonus stars for you visiting 3 to 6 times over a certain period of days. Drop-in every day for 3 or 5 days in the row and order the cheapest item on the menu. You’ll earn 50+ Bonus Stars without even spending $15.

Buy Starbucks coffee to brew at home

Ha! Bet you didn’t expect to see the timeless frugal hack of “brew coffee at home” here did you? And yet here we are.

You can buy Starbucks coffee directly from your local Starbucks, and earn 2 Stars for every $1 spent. At approximately $20 for a 1lb bag, you’ll earn 40 Stars from just one purchase. If you’re drinking 1lb of coffee per week, you’ll earn approximately 160 Stars per month this way.

You can also get Starbucks coffee from your local grocery store. You can buy ground coffee or whole beans for $12 to $16 per bag. You won’t earn any Stars on these dollars, but all the bags will have a small Star code coupon taped to them. When you enter the code online, you’ll get 10 Stars.

Play Starbucks For Life

Starbucks For Life is a game Starbucks offers a few times per year. They are digital games with random chances of winning anything from bonus stars to Starbucks for life (as you might have guessed).

You earn plays every time you make a purchase. Usually, you don’t get any rewards until you collect at least 3 digital “prizes” from the game, which means this is just another way Starbucks rewards frequent purchases. 

Redeeming your Starbucks Stars to get maximum value

Starbucks Rewards redemption options range from 25 to 400 Star items. However, some are a better use of your Starbucks points than others! You can view all the details directly on the Starbucks Rewards website, but here’s the rundown:

25 Stars for drink customization

A drink customization includes an extra shot of espresso, dairy substitute, or syrup. You need to spend approximately $13 at Starbucks in order to earn 25 stars. 

An extra shot of espresso is $0.90 at my local Starbucks, which translates to a 6.9% return on my Starbucks spending. Not terrible!

50 Stars for hot coffee or tea, or a bakery item (BEST OPTION) 

A brewed coffee or tea of any size, or a bakery item like a cookie, croissant. You need to spend approximately $25 to earn 50 Stars. 

A brewed coffee at my Starbucks is $2.35, which means I get a 9.4% return on my Starbucks spending if I use my Stars this way! This makes redeeming 50 Stars at a time the best way to use your Starbucks Rewards. 

150 Stars for a handcrafted drink, hot breakfast, or parfait

A handcrafted drink is any latte or frappucino. Hot breakfast includes breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal, and egg bites. You’ll have to spend approximately $75 to earn 150 Stars, which seems a little pricey just to get a free latte.

A latte costs $5.25 at my local Starbucks, which means I’m getting a 7% return on my investment. 

250 Stars ($125 spent) for a lunch sandwich or protein box

Starbucks offers a few different lunch sandwiches and protein boxes if you’re looking for a quick meal to-go. You’ll need to spend approximately $125 to earn the 250 Stars needed to redeem for these. 

A lunch sandwich is $7.75 for me, which is only a 6.2% return on my Starbucks Star value.

400 Stars ($200 spent) for a signature mug, bag of coffee, or select coffee accessories

If you don’t want to spend your Starbucks points on something that will be consumed in minutes, you can use your Stars to get a mug, bag of coffee, or other swag. 

A bag of coffee beans is $20 at Starbucks, making this a potential 10% return on your Starbucks spending. However, this is not what you should use your stars for!

I know what you’re thinking: isn’t this the best return on your rewards?? It certainly appears that way at first glance, but let’s remember the same bag of coffee is 2/3’s the price at your local grocery store.

In other words, even though redeeming your points for a bag of coffee makes them go the furthest, it’s not the best use of them. 

Can I have more than 400 Stars?

As someone who personally hit this milestone and surpassed it: yes. You can have more than 400 Starbucks Rewards Stars. They’ll continue to accumulate in your Starbucks account until you redeem them. 

Having a lot of Starbucks points doesn’t provide any special benefits, so there’s no reason to hoard them. In fact, as calculated above, your best option is spending 50 Stars at a time on brewed coffee or tea. 

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About Author

Student debt killer, super saver, and stock market addict. BSc. in Chemistry from the University of Alberta, MBA in Finance from the University of Calgary. CEO x 2 and MOM x 1. Currently residing in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, but hooked on travelling.

2 Comments

  1. For US peeps, sign up for Groupon. About 4 or 5 times a year there’s a $10 Starbucks gift card sold for $5. Great way to add to these savings