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Starbucks Rewards Visa Card – The StarBucks Credit Card

Starbucks Rewards Visa Card – The StarBucks Credit Card

The contrarian in me wants to spend this entire article praising this card simply because other online articles are ripping it to shreds. Yet, I understand the motivations of other writers who have torn into this credit card like a starving dog into a juicy steak. The articles you read online are not written by people of a higher moral stature or of people with great intelligence. They are written by people like Ray Romano in “Everybody Loves Raymond,” or Jack Nicholson in the “Shining” and “As Good As It Gets.” The point is that most of what you read online is no better than listening to slack-jawed Harry down the pub. Even websites such as ours, where I am handed a 132 page PDF containing all our research team’s findings about the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card, my first instinct was still to say, “Yeah, but it sucks.”

Throwing my teddy out

This card is only suitable for people who visit Starbucks at least once per week because this card costs you $0.59 per week, which means it is not worth it if you are not getting your 59 cents worth per week. I cannot pull this card down because is only of value to people who use Starbucks because we reviewed the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, and that is only useful for people who use Delta two or more times per year, and they have a $95 annual fee.

The Starbucks Rewards Visa Card Is A Credit Card

Nuts to the writers who have confused this credit card with the Starbucks prepaid card (the Visa debit card). I checked online, and there are writers claiming that there is a Starbucks card out there that is a prepaid card and charges an APR. There are two Starbucks cards, and our review is of the credit card.

It Is All About Earning Stars

If you earn 300 or more stars within a 12-month period, then you temporarily become a gold rewards member. You become a gold rewards member for a year, where you earn benefits such as rewards after every 125 points, plus all the other green level rewards. The point of the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card is to help you earn as many Starbucks rewards stars as you can so that you may get free stuff from Starbucks.

How Gold Level Starbucks Rewards Work

Getting to the gold level is the main reason why people join the rewards scheme because it means people get free stuff. In short, if you earn 300+ stars in a year, then you become a gold member for a year. You need to earn 300+ stars in consecutive years to maintain your gold status. They will send you an email if your gold status is about to drop. Here are the terms and conditions of maintenance your gold level from the Starbucks website.

starbucks gold status terms and conditions

Earn Starbucks Stars with Your Starbucks Rewards Visa Card

You are automatically enrolled into the Starbucks Rewards program when you are approved for a Starbucks Rewards Visa Card. If you are already a member, then you simply need to sign in and link your account.

  • Get one star for every dollar you spend outside of Starbucks, so long as the money you spend is on a purchase
  • You get three stars for every dollar you spend in a Starbucks, when regular members only receive two stars per dollar spent
  • Eight Barista picks are offered free per year, you will be emailed by Starbucks the next time you are eligible for one
  • The annual fee is $49, which is around $0.59 per week
  • Spend $500 on purchases outside of Starbucks, and within the first 3 months, and you get an extra 4500 bonus stars
  • The first time you use your Starbucks Rewards Visa Card within the mobile app, by loading your registered card through the app, then you get an extra 250 stars
  • Get extended warranty protection with certain purchases as per most Chase credit cards
  • Get auto-rental collision damage waiver if you pay for the entire cost of your rental with your Starbucks Rewards Visa Card, just make sure you decline the rental company’s collision insurance
  • Purchase protection that covers you for up to 120 days after making your purchases for up to $500, and for applicable items, which is standard on most Chase credit cards
  • Pay for a trip with this card, and you get trip cancellation/interruption insurance if your trip is prepaid, non-refundable, and the Chase credit card policy states that your situation is covered
  • Starbucks really lays it all out for you since they have a very comprehensive terms and conditions section that covers everything you need to know about Starbucks rewards

Starbucks rewards and perks

Starbucks Rewards Expire

Not only do you have to earn at least 300 stars per year in order to maintain your gold rewards status, your points also expire after six months. In short, you need to be a regular Starbucks attender if you want to receive all of your rewards from both the program and the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card. Again, this sounds like I am stating the obvious, but there is a certain level of urgency that is forced upon users. For example, with the Delta credit card I mentioned earlier, you have a very long time to spend your points, which means you may build them up to your heart’s content and get a bunch of free stuff. However, you are forced to spend your stars with Starbucks for the fear they may expire if you do not.

Rewards can only be collected in selected places. The regular stores in the US and Canada will accept your reward stars, but places such as Starbucks in grocery stores will not accept your rewards stars. You may only redeem your drink and food on selected items; there are things such as multi-serve food and beverage items that you cannot have, and you cannot redeem your stars rewards on alcohol. Your stars rewards are non-transferable, but you can add your own cards to your account and then lend people your card if you wish.
Your birthday benefit is only available on your birthday, and your barista choices perks expire within 30 days of you receiving your email.

Is It Worth The Money?

If you are already a regular Starbucks customer, then this card is going out save you money over the course of a year.

Let’s say that you go to Starbucks four times per week and spend $4 each time. Over the course of a month, you will earn 192 stars. Every two months, you earn a free drink or food item because you have over 125 stars. Over 12 months, that is 2300 stars, which is 18 free drinks or pieces of food, as well as your regular Starbucks membership perks, and that is assuming you do not spend on your Starbucks Rewards Visa Card outside of Starbucks. Even if you redeem your stars for food or drink worth $4 each, then that is $72 of free stuff from your regular stars alone, which is more than the annual fee of $49.

If you take advantage of all the perks, and if you spend $8 three times per week for 50 weeks, and if you spend $80 per month on purchases outside of Starbucks, then you get:

20 stars for $80 per month x 12 months = 240 stars
$8 x three times per week x 50 weeks = 3600 stars

If you redeem your points for a modest $4 drink each time, then you get 30 drinks valued at $122, plus all the other free perks that come with the rewards account and the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card. This shows how heavy Starbucks users (three visits per week over 50 weeks) are going to save significantly more if they have the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card.

Fees and Charges

  • Purchase Annual Percentage Rate (APR) starts at 18.24% and goes up to 25.24%, and may rise as high as 29.99%
  • Balance Transfer (APR) starts at 18.24% and goes up to 25.24%, and may rise as high as 29.99%
  • Cash Advance (APR) starts at 27.24%,and may rise as high as 29.99%
  • Annual membership fee is $49
  • Balance Transfer fees are 5% of the amount transferred with a $5 minimum
  • Cash Advances are 5% of the amount transferred with a $10 minimum
  • Foreign transaction fees are 3% of the transaction’s value in US dollars
  • Late payments costs are $38
  • You cannot go over your credit limit
  • Returned payments cost up to $38

Conclusion – I Don’t See How Starbucks Fans Can Lose

Maybe you could make an argument that people who use the Starbucks card outside of Starbucks are getting a poor return on their dollar, but most credit cards only offer 1 cents to 3 cents cash back or redeemable miles per dollar spent, so it is not like Starbucks Rewards Visa Card users are losing out on much.

Online wealth buildings articles always point out how people are wasting money on coffee, cigarettes, gaming, etc., as if poorest in our country broke because they bought too many frothy Lattes. If you are wealth building, then avoiding a coffee shop isn’t going to finance a new car. If you are a regular Starbucks customer, then you are going to get more back from this card than you put in. The only downside is how the card only benefits people who attend regularly, and that the card isn’t much use outside of Starbucks. If you stay on top of your account and your rewards, then there is plenty to be had for free from this card and its associated rewards system.

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

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