Groupon’s discounted Starbucks gift card and CardCash’s additional 5% discount got me thinking, can a person game the Starbucks rewards program similar to how we game the airline frequent flier programs? Not quite, but we can get close.
Starbucks Gold card requirements
- You need 30 stars.
- You get one star for each purchase made with a registered Starbucks gift card.
- You get additional stars for making purchases on the Starbucks website or by buying certain Starbucks merchandise. If you buy stuff on the website, don’t forget to use a shopping portal first.
- You can only earn two stars per day.
Get a Starbucks Gold card for under $50.
- You need to make 30 purchases in a year to get the Starbucks Gold card (make sure each item is charged separately!). For me that means 30 small black coffees. I can buy each black coffee for about $2, so I’ll need to spend about $60 over the next year. Starbucks will sometimes offer double stars on purchases, so realistically I’ll need to spend under $60.
- Here’s where the magic starts to happen. Buy a $15 Starbucks gift card from Groupon for $10. [this deal ends soon, very early in the morning on the 30th] Make sure you make your purchase through a shopping portal to score an additional 3 miles (American) per dollar spent. That’s 30 miles for very little work.
- You then need to buy $45 dollars worth of Starbucks gift cards from Card Cash. Card Cash is awesome because it sells used gift cards at a pretty good discount. With the promotional code ECODE5OFF you can buy electronic Starbucks gift cards for 11% off. Your $45 dollar gift card now costs roughly $40.
- Register one gift card with Starbucks and transfer the other gift card balances to it. When you register, sign up for the text updates. Sometimes Starbucks sends out cool offers.
- Make your purchases within one calendar year. If you buy multiple items in one trip, ask to pay for each item separately.
- This plan will cost roughly $50 and will net you at least 30 airline miles.
How to strategically use the Starbucks Gold card.
- Maximize your free drinks: for every 12 additional drinks that you buy, you’ll receive one FREE drink of ANY SIZE.
- It’s your birthday: you receive a free drink on your birthday (see above)
- Show off your personalized Starbucks Gold card: that’s right, it’s actually gold.
- Free refills: enjoy free coffee and tea refills
- 15% off online: I think the online store is expensive but it’s reasonable if you combine this discount with cheap gift cards (www.cardcash.com)
**make sure your local Starbucks is a “participating Starbucks”**
Just one more great way to earn stars: Buying specially marked bags of Starbucks in the grocery store gets you an extra star per bag. And, of course, you’ll be paying for those bags with a points-bearing card, so… win-win!