If you can’t start your day without drinking a delicious Starbucks beverage, it could soon become an expensive habit. In the U.S., people spend approximately $11 per week on Starbucks, as Spoon University reports.
You might, therefore, wonder if you can find ways to score free drinks without having to sacrifice your favorite coffee. But how can you get free Starbucks drinks?
You can get free Starbucks drinks by signing up for the Starbucks rewards, making use of the company’s refilling policy, and downloading the Starbucks app so that you can stay informed about the company’s promotions.
In this article, I’ll explore these and other easy ways if you’re wondering how to get free Starbucks drinks that taste delicious and are kind to your wallet.
1. Sign up for Starbucks Rewards
If you’re a member of the Starbucks’ Rewards Program, every time you purchase something from Starbucks, you’ll earn stars.
Once you start racking up the stars, you’ll get perks and free items. Here’s how it works and how far the stars will go.
- When you earn 25 points: you can customize your Starbucks drink, such as with a dairy substitute or your favorite syrup.
- When you earn 50 points: you can choose between a hot brewed coffee, a hot tea, or a bakery item. So, at this level, you’ll already be able to get a free drink!
- When you earn 150 points: you can choose between a parfait, a handcrafted drink, or a hot breakfast.
- When you earn 400 points: you can take home a bag of coffee of your choice. This means you’ll be able to make your own delicious coffees at home.
To start earning stars, you should download the free Starbucks app. It’s available on both iPhone and Android.
Once you do that, you’ll earn one star for every $1 that you spend when you scan your member barcode in the Starbucks app. Then you can pay via cash, credit/debit cards, or your mobile wallet at participating stores.
You can also earn more stars by making use of Double Star Day. Download the app to your device so you can be notified of when Double Star Day is being held.
On these days, you’ll be able to earn double the number of stars for every purchase, helping you fast-track your way to getting a free drink.
2. Use Starbucks Rewards for free coffee on your birthday
Another good reason to join the Starbucks Reward Program is that when you do, you’ll qualify for a free drink on your birthday.
This drink can take the form of a bottled beverage (such as an iced Frappuccino) or a handcrafted beverage, which is basically any drink of your choice that your barista behind the counter will whip up for you.
Learn more about handcrafted drinks at Starbucks by reading this article.
If you still haven’t joined the Rewards Program, just make sure that you do it about a week before your birthday so that you qualify for the free beverage.
You also need to do two other things to ensure you qualify:
- Check that you’ve provided your birthdate in your Starbucks app account information.
- Complete at least one transaction that earns you Starbucks stars before your birthday.
Once you’ve done all of the above, your birthday Starbucks reward will get added to your account automatically, and it’s only valid on your birthdate.
Following these rules will ensure that you qualify for a delicious free drink on the most important day of the year.
3. Get free refills from Starbucks
An easy way to get free drinks is to make use of Starbucks’ cup refilling policy. How this works is that you need a Starbucks Card (which you’ll get when you sign up for rewards).
Present this card when you’ve purchased a hot or iced brewed coffee or tea, and then request a refill during your stay at Starbucks.
Using refills helps you to save money on Starbucks without cutting back on your coffee habit.
However, it’s important to note that you can’t get a refill of a drink you’ve ordered that’s not a brewed coffee or tea.
So, if you’ve ordered a Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino, unfortunately, you won’t get to enjoy a refill of it.
That said, if you love drinking hot or iced tea or coffee, you’ll be able to have instant refills, even when your first order was a different drink.
4. Bring your own cup when shopping at Starbucks
If you bring your own cup when you visit Starbucks, you’ll be doing a good deed for the environment because Starbucks uses over 8,000 paper cups every minute, as Clean Water Action reports.
But you’ll also save some money that can go towards a delicious beverage or two.
Starbucks encourages people to use their own cups for coffee by offering them a discount on their orders when they do.
This discount is 10 cents. Although small, over time, this discount can help you to save money so that you earn a free beverage.
And, if you’re a Starbucks Reward member, this discount is increased – you’ll earn 25 stars just for using your own cup.
5. Download the Drop app
Drop is a rewards app that enables you to earn points whenever you shop at some of your favorite shops, including Starbucks.
You can also earn points when you take part in certain tasks, such as completing online surveys. Once you have gained a lot of points, you can exchange them for free gift cards.
To get started on Drop, you need to complete these steps:
- Download the app on your phone. It’s available for Apple and Android devices.
- Go to your account information. Here you want to link the bank cards you use when shopping.
- Shop at your favorite stores, such as Starbucks.
- Earn reward points when you swipe your card. These get automatically added to your Drop account, whether you make purchases in-store or online.
When you earn 1,000 points on the Drop app, these are worth $1.
If you’re a loyal Starbucks customer, you will quickly rack up lots of points within a short amount of time. Then, you can redeem these points to get free Starbucks gift cards.
You can also earn a bonus on Drop if you spend a specific amount of money at a specific store.
The app will let you know if you’ve earned extra points and give you a supercharge bonus if you make a minimum of five purchases from one of your favorite stores, of which Starbucks can be one, as Millennial Money reports.
6. Visit Starbucks during happy hour
The time of day when you visit Starbucks for your caffeine fix can make the difference in whether or not you get to make use of free drinks.
At this time of writing, Starbucks offers a buy-one, get-one-free happy hour on certain Thursdays from 2 pm to 7 pm, and this event is usually held around holidays and during the hotter months of the year, as Allrecipes reports.
To stay abreast of when happy hours are being held at Starbucks, you should download the Starbucks app.
Make sure you turn on push notifications in the app so that you’ll always get the latest news about when the local Starbucks in your area is going to run a happy hour.
There are other buy-one-get-one-free promotions available that aren’t linked to happy hour events, so it certainly is worth it to download the Starbucks app to prevent you from missing out on them.
7. Make use of Starbucks Star Codes
If you’re a big fan of Starbucks, you might regularly purchase Starbucks products from your local grocery store.
This is another easy way in which you can earn free Starbucks because of Star Codes. These are basically codes that you can use to earn stars on your Starbucks loyalty card.
How it works is that some Starbucks products you can purchase in your local grocery store have a star code sticker on them.
This is worth looking for on the products before you purchase them. Examples of Starbucks products you can purchase to get freebies include:
- VIA Instant blends
- K-cup pods
- Multi-serve chilled coffee
- Doubleshot Energy cans
To be able to use Star Codes, you need to have a Starbucks Reward Card and have downloaded the Starbucks app.
Scan the star code on the item you’ve purchased on your mobile app. You’ll earn a star for every $1 that you spend on qualifying items.
You can also earn free stars with star codes by participating in member-only offers in your inbox.
So, make sure that you’ve subscribed to receive Starbucks emails to notify you of these special offers.
8. Get a job at Starbucks
If you’re a student or you’re looking for a job at Starbucks because you love it so much, being hired by the company can help you to score lots of free beverages.
This might not be an option for you but spread the word to people you know, as you might be able to benefit from their Starbucks employment.
Starbucks employees have many perks, such as health insurance, but they also get the chance to enjoy free beverages. Three perks include:
- Free tea and coffee. Employees will receive a free box of tea or one pound (0.45kg) of coffee every week. This enables them to take their coffee habit home and save some money on handcrafted beverages.
- In-store discounts. Employees will receive 30% off Starbucks drinks, food, and merchandise.
- Handcrafted beverages while working. Store partners that are working in a Starbucks store can drink any handcrafted beverage they like while they work, as Starbucks Benefits reports.
9. Be careful when adding ice to drinks
While this isn’t technically a way to help you save money so you can get a free Starbucks drink, it will help you to get much more out of your drink for what you pay.
Basically, when ordering a cold beverage, ask that you don’t have ice cubes added to it. This will give you more of the beverage, so it’s value for money.
If you doubt how much ice cubes affect the quantity of your drink, consider this: if you’re ordering a Venti drink, which is 24 ounces (3 cups or 700 ml), if it contains ice, the amount of liquid in the cup goes down to about 14 ounces (1.75 cups or 400 ml), as Spoon University reports.
This is a big difference! If you regularly order an iced drink, you could be getting less instead of more.
10. Sign up for Survey Junkie
If you love taking online surveys to earn cash, you can also use this platform to get Starbucks gift cards.
Survey Junkie is a survey platform and online market research community. The surveys will take a few minutes to half an hour to complete.
You will then earn points! One point is the equivalent of one cent. When you’ve achieved 500 points, you’ll get $5.
When you want to cash out your money, you can do so by receiving cash in your PayPal or bank account. Or, you can request gift cards instead to use at your favorite store, including Starbucks.
Here’s how to use Survey Junkie:
- Create a profile on Survey Junkie. You’ll be required to provide personal information, such as your country of residence, ZIP code, first and last name, and date of birth. You have to be located in the U.S., Canada, or Australia to be able to sign up for Survey Junkie.
- Wait for Survey Junkie to send you survey offers. You can receive surveys via email, your dashboard, or push notifications.
You’ll be notified of how many points you’ll earn for every survey that you complete. For example, a survey that will take you 10 minutes could earn you 40 points.
11. Sign up for Swagbucks
Another way to earn money that you can use at Starbucks is to sign up for Swagbucks.
On this platform, you can earn reward points for doing online tasks, such as watching videos, taking surveys, and surfing the web.
The points you earn, which are called SBs, can be converted into cash or gift cards.
To get a free Starbucks drink by using Swagbucks, you just have to convert the points you earn on Swagbucks into Starbucks gift cards.
Swagbucks is a good alternative to Survey Junkie because it’s available in more countries, so it’s a viable option if you live outside of the U.S.
The countries that currently qualify for Swagbucks are:
- United States
- United Kingdom
12. Get free Starbucks drinks from Groupon
Groupon is a mobile and website app that offers deals, coupons, and cashback on purchases.
If you use Groupon, you can get various Starbucks drinks for free or at a discount.
Groupon sells card-linked deals and discount vouchers that you can use when purchasing items from Starbucks.
It’s therefore worth checking Groupon regularly for the latest offers.
Once you’ve purchased a voucher, such as one that you can use at Starbucks, you can print it and bring it with you the next time you purchase a coffee, or you can exchange it for items.
13. Add some DIY to your iced latte
You can reduce the cost of some Starbucks drinks you love to purchase by buying separate ingredients for them from the Starbucks menu and then making them yourself.
A prime example of a drink that you can DIY is a Starbucks latte.
While you won’t get your Starbucks drink for free by using this method, you’ll save money, and over time this would enable you to purchase a free drink with the money you would’ve spent.
Doing this could save you about one or two dollars every time, so it’s great if you enjoy iced lattes regularly.
So, to make your own iced latte, you will first have to order a shot of espresso on ice.
Make sure to request a large cup because you will add the other ingredients required to make your iced latte to it.
Then, all you have to do is add the following ingredients to your espresso:
There you go! By enjoying your iced latte in this way, you’ll reduce how much you spend to nurture your Starbucks habit and get to purchase a drink from the Starbucks menu with the money that you’ve saved.
You should also read my guide, “How To Order At Starbucks Like a Pro”, so you always get what you want.
If you usually spend a lot of money at Starbucks, you could do it with a discount or even free beverages.
Luckily, there are many ways in which you can qualify for a free drink, such as by signing up for apps that enable you to earn money or vouchers.
However, the most effective method is to sign up for Starbucks Rewards. This is because it opens you up to many opportunities for you to get a free drink in your hands, such as:
- Earning additional discounts when you bring your own mug to Starbucks.
- Receiving a free beverage on your birthday.
- Making use of Star Codes that you can use for Starbucks purchases.