7 Ways to Save at Starbucks

ways to save at starbucks

I'm really not a coffee drinkers (give me hot chocolate any day), but I know so many folks love Starbucks (and,  it's almost pumpkin-spice season to boot!) So, I did a little digging around for these 7 ways to save at Starbucks!
I visited my local Starbucks last night and talked with the manager about their loyalty program.  While we were talking, a couple Starbucks mega-customers (no kidding, they said they stop in in the morning and again after work every. day.) came by to share a few of their favorite ways to save at Starbucks.


So here we go – these are all the secrets to getting your coffee fix without breaking the bank. 🙂

*NOTE: Starbucks Rewards changed as of April 2016,  the following information is all current and in line with the new points system!

7 Ways to Save at Starbucks


1 . Join Starbucks Rewards and get a FREE Drink right away

Without buying a single thing, you can start saving by getting a completely FREE drink at Starbucks right away!

All you need to do is register a giftcard online here.  You do need to have a gift card with some balance (even if it's just a leftover 55¢) in order to register it.  If you don't already have one, just run by the store and pick one up and load a few bucks onto it for later.

2 . FREE Refills for EVERYONE!

This was the biggest surprise to me when I was asking questions at the store – I actually said, “Really!?!” when the barista told me this one!

ALL Starbucks Rewards members (even new ones considered “green” level) get Free Refills while in-store on brewed items.  That includes hot or iced tea or hot or iced coffee.  Just remember that you'll need to use your registered Starbucks card or your mobile app to pay.

So if you're planning to be there for awhile working on your laptop – you can just about drink your weight in coffee/tea!



3 . Earn 2 Stars per $1 Spent = BIG Rewards

Every time you spend money at Starbucks as a member, you'll earn Starbucks Stars.  (You can even earn stars buying Starbucks coffee at the grocery store!)   Once you reach 125 Stars, you receive a “star code” that you redeem for a reward!  This reward (as the manager informed me) can be on ANY food or drink item – even if you were to order a large Frappuccino with 8 extra shots!  (I looked at the menu to check the math for that one – and let me tell you, so expensive!)

Or pick up a $6.45 sandwich, on the house!


I was pretty impressed. 

The only thing you can't get with your rewards are the merchandise items in the lobby – like cups, big bags of ground coffee, etc. . . .  Also keep in mind that stars expire 6 months after you receive them.



4. Get a FREE Drink on your Birthday!

Starbucks Rewards Members get a FREE Drink on their birthdays.  This freebie will come to your phone if you have the app, or your email, and is good for 3 days.  You'll receive the freebie offer 2 days before your birthday and it expires the day after.

One [1] complimentary handcrafted beverage [standard Starbucks® menu sizes only] or food item, or Ready-to-Drink bottled beverage such as an Evolution Fresh™ juice.



5 . Gold Members get Rewards TWICE as Fast

If you spend $300 within a year, you'll be inducted into the Gold Level (for life – who knew?) As a Gold Level member, you'll receive a fancy personalized gold card for starters.  Then once a month, there will be a Double-Star Day where you can earn 4 Stars per $1 spent, rather than 2 Stars.

Gold Members also get some insider info as to new products, promotions, etc….




6 . Split a Venti and get TWO Talls!

This has got to be one of my favorite little secret ways to save at Starbucks – because it's totally something I would do!

If you just want a *little* pick me up – split a Venti size with a friend and ask for two tall cups. A Venti will fill up two Tall cups for half the price.

Let's do the math:

  • A Venti While Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino (24 oz) costs a whopping $5.49.  (vs. the Tall 12 oz that costs $4.29.)
  • If you ordered two Talls, you'd pay $4.29 each, whereas a Venti divided into a two cups will come out to $2.74 each.



7 . Two Ways to Save 10¢

If you really want to pinch those pennies – here are a couple more ways to whittle down the cost of your coffee.  (Though a Keurig Machine might be the way to go if you're really trying to save on your daily cup of joe.)

Bring Your Cup:  Save 10¢ on your drink when you bring your own cup

Order a Short:  Although you won't see it on the menu – you can order the 8 oz  “Short” coffee for $2.03 and it will have the same shot of espresso in it that a 12 oz “Tall” does for $2.14. If you're wanting to add creamer, order a “Short” in a “Tall” cup so there's room leftover.

Bonus Tip: Get Free Water vs. $$ Bottled Water

This seems like a silly little tip because you don't really need to spend money on water anyway… but if you're in Starbucks for a lunch date and you're wanting something nice cold to drink – this could save you a couple bucks. Don't waste your money on a bottled water, because you can ask for a “water cup” totally free. 🙂




Do you know any other ways to save at Starbucks? I'd love to hear them! Leave a comment to share. 🙂 




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  1. Nancy McEver says

    Does all Starbucks take the bag and give you a coffee? I have collected them over the months and would like to redeem them.

    • I believe so Nancy – hope that helps!

    • Make sure your bag says that it’s redeemable for a cup of coffee… the new star rewards system did away with the bag-for-cup promo, but there’s still some of the older bags out there that have the free cup marked on them.

  2. I used to work at a Starbucks and found if you order a drink with no ice (iced drink of course), then you get home and put ice in it, you have twice the drink! Literally! Another way I save is to arrive at Starbucks with my own cup ($.10 right there) and already two thirds filled with my milk (almond milk all the way). I pay for a dopio (2 shots of espresso) and they put it in my cup and add their ice and voila! The cheapest iced latte yet! And my last trick is to order a plain hot coffee in a larger cup to make room for cream so as not to lose any of my precious coffee in the smaller sized cup!

  3. I watch for the “buy # of drinks in # of days for # of stars” promos rather than the “buy # of drinks # of days in a row for # of stars” because I am not a consistent consumer, however, if you go every day or almost every day they can both pay off. The first version means if you get drinks for two or 3 people on two separate occasions with the # of days you still get the max stars without going every day. ALSO, watch CLOSELY for offers to come in your e-mail, they often overlap- for example I once had something like “Make six purchases in 7 days for 120 bonus stars” and during that same week long promo I got “buy one Vanilla bean Frapp, one food item, and one macchiato during (specified 3 days)” for 60 bonus stars (two were during the first week) then it was overlapped on the last day of the first offer and the middle of the second “buy 5 _______ to get 75 bonus stars”……. I don’t actually drink anything with coffee, mocha, or espresso, but my fiance does so during the “buy said items” that I don’t want sales, he gets a random special treat and I hit my reward items MUCH faster (those can stack too, by the way)……

  4. Hi! Just wanted to clarify one thing. You have to spend $300 per year to maintain your Gold status for the following year.

  5. I’ve got some tips for the tea drinkers out there!
    When getting hot tea ask for the tea bags on the side – they give me two with my order. I have one hot tea in the am and then have a second tea bag for afternoon tea.
    When getting iced tea ask for no water – they double brew and add water, if you skip the water you can add your own and get twice the amount of iced tea!!

  6. sign up for updates then you will get an alert on double star days. If you use Starbucks as a treat go on double star days & your free reward comes faster. 125 stars gets you free treat which now their protein lunch’s are $7.85.
    I go on double star days & use my reward for lunch
    Also if you are signed up they occasionally send an email to do a survey which will get you 10 extra stars

  7. Sometimes you can get discounted Starbucks gift cards on Retail Me Not app and just add it to your Starbucks app!

  8. Katherine Meredith says

    Ask for light ice and this gives you about 1/3 of the cup for more product.

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