My Ultimate Starbucks Tips, Tricks and Deals List:

  • Free Refill – before leaving (as a Green or Gold member) -or- get a completely different drink for free too! Read here.
  • One Item = One Star – ring up each individual item as a separate purchase. You earn a star for each individual purchase!
  • Spend High with Rewards – spend your Stars Rewards (12 Stars = 1 Reward) on high priced items, e.g. lunch sandwiches, fancy drinks.
  • Starbucks App – use for far greater ease than carrying around (and potentially losing) gift cards.
  • Starbucks App – no foreign currency needed, as the Starbucks app can be used in stores worldwide! (Starbucks says the value “must first be activated by loading money onto the card in the country of purchase before being used internationally,” but I have had success without loading funds before using in a different country, e.g. UK and Thailand after loading in U.S. only. Your results may vary, so be ready with alternate payment.)
  • Starbucks App – use to get the “Pick of the Week” free song/app in the app-only.
  • Free Music, Apps – check both in-store and your Messages in the Starbucks app, as they are different freebie songs/apps.
  • Go Online – to your online Starbucks account to easily manage your cards and look for extra deals.
  • Watch Your Inbox – Starbucks is always sending out free/discount codes (3-digit). Watch your email, app messages, and check the Rewards history on your app for the codes.
    • BONUS: Take a screenshot of the email with 3-digit code to show the barista quickly by pulling it up using your phone’s photos rather than trying to track down the email.
  • Bonus Stars – look for bonus Stars program incentives announced by email. You must remember to click the link to sign up, as you do not automatically get enrolled.
starbucks coupons

How do you enjoy your Starbucks beverages?

  • Retail Starbucks Coffee – Do you buy store-bought Starbucks by the bag?
    • Look for a bonus STAR code on a coffee bag sticker. (Don’t be a jerk and steal them off in the store. I mean, really?)
    • Take your finished coffee bag into a Starbucks location for a free coffee. DEAD! See comments below.
  • Got a birthday? ~ Ask for a free drink or snack on your birthday!
  • Buy Gift Cards to Load – (re)load your Starbucks app via gift cards purchased at office supply stores for 5x credit card points on certain cards.
    • OR buy at discounted prices via ebay, Raise, etc. (e.g. Raise has offered  $5 off $60 or more with code GRANNY5, i.e. $79.30 for $100 for new customers!).
  • Check Swarm app (previously FourSquare) tips as a quick reference for the bathroom code for big city Starbucks. Can be very handy!
  • Live in CA? – Use $10 gift cards to fill your pockets with cash back! Think about it.
    • California law states “any gift certificate with a cash value of less than $10 is redeemable in cash.”
  • Small Transactions + Star – While the days of the Freedom card’s “10+10 deal” are over for small transactions, look to other cards for minimum transactions deals.
    • Retail store credit cards often offer promos to get you to use their card outside of their brands (e.g. Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy card promo for rewards when used x times for outside store transactions).
    • If you use the Starbucks app, create several “sub-cards” on the app with ~$1.00 on each so you can double-dip when making a purchase: (1) use the app to get your STAR + (2) pay the remainder of your purchase with the promo credit card.


  • Be Nice to the employees! It’s the right thing to do and some of the easiest “bonuses” come from being friendly.
  • Pay It Forward (or Backwards?) – Make someone’s day by buying the person’s drink behind you in the drive-thru once in a while! Believe me, it will make your day and that person’s day! (I used to do this at toll booths all the time, but IPASS and E-ZPass systems pretty much put an end to the fun.)

Do you have any other ideas brewing? Comment below!


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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.