17 Starbucks Coffee Hacks YOU Need to Know
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I love splurging on Starbucks coffee, especially when all of the yummy seasonal flavors hit the menus! However, making frequent trips to Starbucks and paying full-price can really add up. If you’re looking for easy ways to save on these yummy treats, here are 17 money-saving tips to make note of…
1.) Sign Up for My Starbucks Rewards!
A must! By signing up for the free My Starbucks Rewards program, you’ll be able to earn “Stars” whenever you make select purchases that can be redeemed for rewards, including free food and drinks! As a member, you’ll earn 2 Stars for every $1 you spend on coffee, food, drinks, and mugs. You can also earn Stars by entering codes found on specially marked products at your local grocery store.
After signing up, you’ll automatically reach the Green Level and will qualify for the following:
- Free Birthday reward! A free food or beverage item will be added to your account ~2 days before your birthday and will be valid for one day after your birthday. In order to receive your Birthday Reward, you will need to make at least one transaction in a store using your registered Starbucks Card.
- Free refills of hot or iced brewed coffee and tea. You must use your registered Starbucks Card to purchase a beverage and then present that same Starbucks Card for refills of hot or iced brewed coffee or tea during the same store visit at participating Starbucks stores.
- Early or extended access to certain promotions and offers. Starbucks may offer Rewards members early or extended access to special menu items or discounts. Members may take part in these offers by paying with their registered Starbucks Card at participating stores.
- Personalized offers and coupons. Special offers may be distributed by email, the Mobile Inbox on the Starbucks mobile app, or by physical mail. You must opt-in to receive promotional and marketing offers from Starbucks and may be required to provide a valid email, telephone and physical address in order to receive your special offers. Special offers may be customized based on purchase behaviors and preferences.
To maintain all benefits of the Green Level, you must earn at least one new Star during each consecutive 12-month period following your enrollment date; otherwise, your Star balance will automatically reset to zero and you may no longer be eligible to receive Starbucks Rewards benefits. If you do not earn at least 300 new Stars in each consecutive 12-month period, your Stars will expire.
If you DO earn at least three hundred 300 Stars within the 12-month period following your enrollment date, you will qualify for the Gold Level, which includes all Green Level rewards AND the following:
- A personalized gold colored Starbucks Card. In order to receive your personalized Starbucks Card, you must provide a valid physical mailing address in your profile.
- One free drink or food item after every 125 additional Stars! You can redeem 125 Stars for one free food or beverage item after every 125 additional Stars earned above the 300 Stars you needed to reach the Gold Level.
- Double-Star Days! Starbucks will notify you of your designated Double-Star Day each month which may vary from month to month. On your designated Double-Star Day, the number of Stars you earn using your registered Starbucks Card at participating Starbucks, Teavana and Evolution Fresh stores will be multiplied by two.
2.) Download the Starbucks Mobile App
You’ll also be able to earn and track your Star Rewards, check your balance and add funds to your Starbucks Card (with debit/credit card, Visa Checkout, PayPal or Apple Pay), send gift cards, and more!
3.) No Time to Wait in Line? Use the App to Place To-Go Orders!
If you don’t have a lot of time to wait in line for your Starbucks order, consider placing an order ahead of time using the Starbucks Mobile app! After you open the app and enable location services, just tap the “Order” button and select the items you’d like to order and then pay for your purchase.
You can even pay using your gift cards on your Starbucks Rewards account! That means you can walk in and out without waiting in line – just ask a barista for your freshly made order at the pickup area.
4.) Members Score FREE Coffee & Tea Refills
When you use your registered Starbucks Card or mobile app to purchase any handcrafted beverage and then present that same Starbucks Card or Mobile app to a barista, Rewards members can get free refills of the same size hot or iced brewed coffee or tea during the same store visit – regardless of the original beverage! That means if you bought a coffee, you can get a tea refill and vice versa!
If you’re not a Rewards member (why not? be sure to check out all the perks listed under #1 above – you’ll want to sign up!), you can refill the same size cup you purchased for around 50¢ during the same visit – all day long. Remember, refills must be hot coffee, iced coffee, hot tea or iced tea.
Hip Tip: Like lots of cream in your coffee or want room to make an iced coffee? Order a Tall brewed coffee in a Grande or Venti Cup and you’ll have lots of room for cream without having to waste coffee pouring it out. If you want to make your own iced coffee, ask for a cup of ice on the side and you can create your own iced coffee by adding cream and sugar at the condiment bar.
5.) Play Starbucks Games to Earn Bonus Stars
Another perk of being a Starbucks Rewards member, is that they usually have a couple Bonus Star Games & Sweepstakes during the year where members can play to earn stars for making qualifying purchases (and sometimes without even needing to make a purchase!). A few previous sweepstakes and games have been this Bonus Stars Bingo and Starbucks for Life (along with the Summer Edition)!
In the past, there have been LOTS of winners from these games and you can usually enter several times a day during the sweeps period, so it’s definitely worth playing whenever they roll around!
6.) Take Advantage of Awesome Food & Drink Promotions
A great way to save on yummy beverages is to make note of the various promotions that Starbucks has throughout the year that anyone can enjoy during that designated time! For example, every May (usually around the first Friday) they tend to offer 50% off Frappuccino Blended Beverages. Yum!
Although I have not seen a “set” schedule of their offers as they do change, a few other promotions they’ve had previously are 50% off ANY Macchiato Mobile Coupon, Buy 1 Get 1 Free Iced Espresso Drinks, Buy 4 Blended Beverages, Get 1 Free Punch Cards, Free Teavana Iced Tea, and more!
Plus, during the holidays, Starbucks hosts their Merry Mondays promotions where you can score Bonus Stars when you make a qualifying purchase, 1/2 Off Frappuccinos, and more!
*We are always posting these yummy Starbucks offers whenever they pop up, so be sure to subscribe to our daily newsletter AND follow Hip2Save on social media to stay in the loop!
7.) Save 10¢ by Bringing Your Own Cup to Retail Stores
Did you know that you can save 10¢ on the price of your drink whenever you bring in your own reusable cup, mug, or travel tumbler? You can also purchase a plastic Starbucks Reusable Travel Cup (Grande 16oz) for just $2 at most locations that will save you 10¢ every time you bring it in.
8.) Don’t Be Afraid to Order “Secret” Menu Drinks
Did you know that Starbucks can create a Raspberry Cheesecake Latte and even a Ferrero Rocher Frappuccino, along with other yummy “secret” drinks that aren’t on the menu!? You can visit this Starbucks Secret Menu site to check out different recipes that Starbucks fans have created and tried.
BUT it’s really important when requesting a “secret” drink, that you make note of the recipe of your desired drink and not just the name – as not all Baristas are familiar with the drink names. Also, keep in mind that depending on what drink you’re ordering and what add-ins there are, you may be required to pay a little extra for those items (such as bananas, syrups, etc). What flavor have you tried?
9.) Make Your Own Chai Latte
If you enjoy sipping on a Chai Latte (priced around $3.65 for a Grande 16oz), consider ordering a hot Chai Tea with a bag (priced around $2.15 for a Grande 16oz) and then adding your own milk or cream and desired sweeteners at the condiment bar. You’ll be saving around $1.50 by doing it this way.
10.) Know the Sizes (Order a Short Coffee or Trenta Iced Drink!)
Did you know that Starbucks offers an even smaller size than their Tall 12oz drinks? You can actually order a Short 8oz specialty beverage that has the same amount of espresso as the Tall version, but is less expensive. Planning to add cream? Order a Short beverage in a Tall cup so you’re still getting the same amount of coffee…then head to the condiment counter and add free milk or cream.
Need a large dose of caffeine on a hot day? You can also order a Trenta 31oz size Iced Beverage (available for Teavana Shaken Iced Tea, Teavana Shaken Iced Tea Lemonade, Iced Coffee, Cold Brew and Starbucks Refreshers only) for around $1 more than the Venti price – price may vary by location.
11.) Order a French Press Pot of Coffee
If you’re headed to Starbucks with friends or are planning on staying a while in-store, another way to save money is to order a French Press pot of coffee. The 32oz pot serves a few cups of coffee and will be cheaper than ordering the drinks individually as it’s priced around $4/pot (may vary).
12.) Ask For “No Water” With Your Tea
Did you know that the Teavana Iced Tea in the pitcher at Starbucks is double-strength and watered down for your final recipe? To get the most bang for your buck, request “no water” with your iced tea and you’ll be getting twice as much tea for the same price. Also, consider ordering your drink with no ice (or asking for ice on the side) to ensure that your drink is the strongest possible.
13.) Split a Venti Drink with a Friend
Ordering two of the same drinks at Starbucks? Instead of ordering two Tall 12oz beverages, consider ordering one Venti 20oz beverage and splitting it with a friend. A Venti 20oz Caramel Latte is priced around $4.65, whereas a Tall Caramel Latte would cost around $3.65 each. Talk about big savings!
14.) Skip the Expensive Bottled Water!
I’m picky about the taste of water at some restaurants, but I LOVE Starbucks iced water – it tastes great! I always order a large cup of ice water when visiting Starbucks on a hot day since their ice and water is triple-filtered! In fact, it may be even cleaner than the Ethos bottled water that is sold in-stores for around $2 each. Just asking for a FREE glass of iced water – your body will love ya for it!
15.) Ask for a Free Puppy Cup
If you are heading to Starbucks or through the drive-through with your furry friend, consider ordering them a free “Puppy Cup” which consists of a small cup of whipped cream. They’ll love you for it! These small cups of whip may also be great for young kiddos who want a treat in their own cup too. 🙂
16.) Save BIG on Starbucks Gift Cards
If you are a Groupon email subscriber, they often send out emails with invitations to snag BIG savings on Starbucks gift cards, such as this previous $10 eGift card offer for only $5! These offers only work if you received the email directly from Groupon, so it’s definitely worth signing up for an account.
In the past, Starbucks has even offered a free $5 Starbucks eGift Card for sending a $5 eGift card using the Microsoft Outlook add-in, a free $10 eGift Bonus for loading $10 using Visa Checkout, a free $5 eGift Card when you send a $5 eGift card with Apple Pay, and even 250 Bonus Stars to Gold Members for loading $10 using Chase Pay! These are great times to purchase gift cards for yourself or friends!
Also, we often post about various Starbucks gift card deals that you can purchase online, such as this Amazon deal, this Disney Movie Rewards deal, or even this deal previously available on Raise.com!
17.) Shop at Stores with Starbucks Cafés Inside? Read THIS!
If you shop at Target with a Starbucks Café inside, you may want to download the Target Cartwheel App as they often offer various offers to save on yummy drinks and food (valid only at the Starbucks inside Target)! For instance, they previously had this 25% off Starbucks Frappuccino Blended Beverages Cartwheel Offer and this 50% off Starbucks Pastries & Warm Sandwiches Cartwheel Offer!
OR, if you shop at a Kroger or Safeway affiliate store that has a Starbucks Cafe inside, be sure to check your account for occasional free or discounted eCoupons, such as this $3 Starbucks Grande Frappuccinos Kroger eCoupon or this free Tall beverage of your choice Safeway eCoupon!
Written by Mary for Hip2Save. Mary is a proud mom to 3 kids in Austin, TX, who thrives off running long distance, bargain shopping, warm weather, a yummy latte…and a little Candy Crush from time to time. She loves quality time with family & friends and sharing great deals with others.