To get started, you can either create a new Starbucks Reward account online or download the app to your smartphone and join there. Payment can be made in-store with traditional cash, credit, or debit cards at the register or you can link your favorite credit/debit card to the app so both payment and rewards can be handled just by scanning your member code. Alternatively, purchases made with your registered debit or credit card will automatically be tracked in the rewards program without presenting your membership credentials.
Customers are also able to pre-load funds into the account with their favorite credit or debit card which has one major advantage over paying as you go: points accumulate at double the normal rate. Instead of earning one reward point — which the company calls Stars — per dollar spent, you’ll earn two Stars per dollar spent if paying with funds that are pre-loaded onto the app.
Once a certain quantity of Stars is accumulated, they can be redeemed for perks like a free shot of expresso or syrup in your drink (25 Stars), a free beverage or bakery item (100 Stars), or even merchandise like tumblers (400 Stars). Starbucks Reward members will also earn a free food or beverage item on their birthday each year. Whether you’re using your Stars or birthday perk to obtain a free item, do choose something expensive like a specialty drink or food such as a grilled cheese sandwich to maximize the value, not just drip coffee.