Being Cheap...In A Good Way, Coffee

Free Starbucks – Tips You Probably Haven’t Heard


By now I’m sure you’ve read dozens of articles about how you should order your Teavana tea without water (gross), about the Starbucks secret menu (so much to remember), or make your coffee at home (where is the fun in that!?! ). I won’t tell you how to do any of those things (…today…), instead I’ll tell you some real tips.

The Starbucks App

First things first, if you don’t have the Starbucks App yet, you should absolutely be using it! I talk with baristas all the time (I’m a fairly chatty person) and even they are amazed at the number of people who frequent Starbucks without using the App. Just for signing up you get a free drink – and another one every year on your birthday! Then for every 125 stars collected you earn you receive another free drink.

Stars add up a lot quicker than you might imagine – especially if you are strategic. On all purchases made with your App (or registered Starbucks card) you receive 2 stars. Quite often they have double star day (4 stars for every $ spent). It is important to also pay attention to the Star Dash/Special Offer emails they send. It is tempting to reduce your inbox by marking these as spam, but the bonus stars add up quickly. Email offers vary from account to account

depending on your use and order history. For instance, if you occasionally order a tea, they may send you an offer to receive bonus points on your next tea purchase.

Free Refills

Did you know that, so long as you hang out at the Starbucks while you enjoy your beverage, you can get free refills? Gold members (App users who’ve earned 300 stars in a calendar year) get one free refill of coffee or tea (hot or iced) regardless of the original beverage purchased. Don’t believe me? Here is their official policy on their official website! For those without Gold status, the refills are 50 cents!

Save Your Bags (and the Star Codes)

I have two kids two and under, so, naturally, I drink a lot of coffee. 80% of the coffee I drink I make at home. There are three ways the coffee I make at home gets me free Starbucks when I do make it out of the house.

  1. Several times a year Starbucks will have a rebate offer where you purchase three specified products (bagged coffee, via packets, bottled Frappucinos, Tazo tea bags, etc.) enter the UPC’s and upload an image of your receipt and receive a 5$ Starbucks card in return. This deal is especially great when paired with a coupon or sale. I use these events to stock my cabinets and my Starbucks Card balance.
  2. I’m not in a hurry to enter the star codes found on bagged coffee and via packets. I often have several codes I hold on to until I get an email about a Star Dash (promotion) for entering packaged coffee codes. Quite often these will be 150 points for 3 codes (makes the rebate deal even better with, essentially, two free drinks [and refills!]).

    I may get it free…but they still don’t always get my name right.
  3. Possibly the easiest of these offers is as easy as taking the empty Starbucks bags with me to Target. I actually keep empty bags in my glove box because, really, who knows when you’ll be heading to Target (and they make my car smell like coffee…much better than the alternative). Several years ago Starbucks printed an offer on their bags that when you bring an empty bag in to their store you would receive a free Tall coffee. My Target Starbucks (TarBucks) still honors this offer. There is a button on their registers for the offer, which leads me to believe it is not only my store who participates in this deal.

Use Mobile (and online) Apps

So many apps and websites allow you to earn points you can redeem for gift cards. Swagbucks, Ibotta, and ShopKick all offer Starbucks cards for relatively little effort. Several other rewards programs have similar offers – these cards add up quickly.

Those are my favorite tips for getting free Starbucks – what tips do you know that I’ve missed?

19 thoughts on “Free Starbucks – Tips You Probably Haven’t Heard

  1. Awesome information! I don’t go to Starbucks because I literally can’t afford it. I love good coffee. I’m going to look further into that app to at least get started. I’m a fellow blogger as well and we’re in the same facebook blogging group. My goal is to frequent Starbucks more regularly to work on my blog. Thanks for giving me a headstart! 🙂

  2. I didn’t know now the app would give you so much free stuff. I’m in academia too and I don’t even want to imagine how much money I’ve spent of coffee!

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