Register Your Starbucks Card: Earn Rewards

DSC00299 Register a card handoutWelcome to 2014.  Happy New Year’s Day!!

Millions of Starbucks cards were activated in December.  Lots and lots of people got Starbucks cards as gifts during the holiday season.  Now is the time to register that card and start earning rewards.  It’s been a while since I’ve reminded people to register their cards to earn rewards under My Starbucks Rewards, but now is the perfect timing to do so.  By the way, on Thursday December 19, 2013, a record 2.4 million Starbucks card were activated on that day alone.

Maybe you got a card that looks like one of these below: there are tons and tons of card designs, all of which will work to earn you your rewards.

DSC00283 Register a Starbucks cardMy Starbucks Rewards has three levels to it.  The starting point is here – register a card loaded with money on it.  If you don’t have a profile already, start here.

The entry level to MyStarbucksRewards is the Welcome level – Register your card.  I believe that your profile has to be considered “activated” meaning a card on that profile was used at least one time since being registered.  Keep in mind, your profile will allow you to register a variety of cards.  The “Welcome” level gets you the following:

  • Free birthday drink (you must have registered your card at least 30 days before your birthday).
  • A coupon for 15% off any purchase at

After five uses of your Starbucks card (within the calendar year), you’re at the Green level.

  • All the Welcome level benefits.
  • Free refills inside of Starbucks.  (You may want to read the refill policy to understand the Starbucks definition of a refill).

After 30 uses of the card (within the calendar year), you’re elevated to the Gold level.

  • At the Gold level, you get valuable rewards that can be used on free food or beverages.  (Note: the Starbucks “Evenings Food” items are excluded – Sorry, their amazing mac and cheese isn’t available as a “reward” item).
  • Coupons for discounted food and beverage.
  • A shiny gold card with your name on it.  (You are not required to use that card – you’ve got a registered card – keep using it if you want.
  • And, of course, all the Green, and Welcome level benefits.

There are some important things you should know about MyStarbucksRewards:

  • A “use” of your card is when it is swiped through the register as a form of payment – that is one “star.”
  • At no point will a barista ever say, “Surprise! You have a reward!”  You MUST keep track of your own rewards.  I personally find this easiest to do by tracking my rewards on the Starbucks Android Phone app  (obviously there is an iPhone app too).  I hear stories over and over again of people who earn rewards, and never use them before they expire because they simply didn’t know they had them.  You must affirmatively track your own rewards.
  • You may find the licensed store locations earn you stars, but cannot redeem rewards there.
  • The rewards are subject to change.  The first generation of My Starbucks Rewards launched in April 2008, and that version didn’t look anything like the current version.  The rewards program has changed several times in the past (almost) six years, so it is possible that it could change again.  Keep up on Starbucks news by following StarbucksNews on Twitter, reading official blogs, and/or reading unofficial blogs like this one.
  • You will earn “stars” on your profile each time you use your card to pay at any Starbucks store, Evolution Fresh store, or Teavana store.

I thought I’d highlight two cards that I really like a lot:

DSC00297 Starbucks as a community gathering place card^ That card is a core Starbucks card, easily found in Starbucks stores all over.  In the past, Starbucks has a history of designing cards that are based upon real stores.  The First and Pike Starbucks Card, as well as the card featuring the First and Battery Starbucks (the store is between Bell and Battery in Belltown) are both examples of that.  I reached out to someone I knew in the Starbucks card department at the SSC and asked him what this above card was about.  He said that it is not based upon a real store, rather it “represents any place where Starbucks is a community gathering place.”  I thought that was pretty cool – I always look at this card and think of it as the “community gathering place card.”

DSC00295 copy^ The Evolution Fresh card is indeed a Starbucks card.  I just think it’s pretty and cool, so I thought I’d highlight it here.  That card is the only Starbucks card (to its detriment – it’s been known to confuse people) that actually does not have the word “Starbucks” on it anywhere.

One thing I’d like to see for 2014 is another Starbucks “donation” card.  This would be a card where generally five cents from each transaction when the card is used is given to a good-cause organization.  Actually, five cents might not sound like much, but given the millions and millions of customers each week who cycle through Starbucks, it has the potential to be huge.  If you don’t know what I mean, this 2010 Starbucks Conservation International Card is a perfect example of the kind of donation card that I’m referring to.  (By the way, if you see that card in use today, by all means, you can still use it just as you can use a bazillion cards with a variety of designs on them, but it no longer donates to Conservation International).  We are global citizens, and coffee is a particularly global product!

I even have a listed of possible good-cause organizations for Starbucks to partner with! 😉  All of the organizations below are ones where Starbucks has at least some history of partnering with them in the past, in one way or another.

  • CARE – Fights poverty in developing countries.  In the 1993, Starbucks was the single largest donor to CARE.  Starbucks seems to have forgotten about them, or if they currently donate to them, there’s zero news and media about it.  It’s still a very worthwhile cause.
  • Mercy Corps – Mercy Corps does a wide variety of things from helping the environment in developing countries, feeding starving children, and focusing on women’s education in countries where it’s not the norm for women to get an education.  Both Teavana and Tazo have a history of donations to Mercy Corp.  I’ve mentioned Mercy Corps a few times on this blog, and I think I’ve mentioned the idea of a donation card for Mercy Corp before.
  • Conservation International – Starbucks has a long history of partnering with Conservation International, and through that partnership helped to develop their coffee sourcing standards known as CAFE practices.  I’m always in favor of reinvigorating this partnership.
  • Ethos Water Fund – This already is a Starbucks-run organization, but I think Starbucks could magnify what they’re doing here.

This blog post is much longer than I intended!  Register your card and earn rewards!


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  • Purple1

    Melody happy happy new year! Great post. Am sitting now at my local SB very crowded. All the new gift cards are sold out here. Hope there are good things happening at SB in 2014.

  • Melody

    @Purple1 – Happy New Year! I’ve never seen a store actually run out of the Starbucks cards at the register!

  • denise r

    @Melody and @ Purple1: Happy New Year! I’m assuming our closest Sbux will be open today but I would call first IF I attempted to go…. snow started yesterday late afternoon, thru most of the night, picked up again now and is snowing hard. Supposedly we’re breaking a Chicago record of New Year’s Eve AND New Year’s Day with significant snow;) I like it of course but intended to go to my mom’s (where my sister and niece and baby are visiting from N.M.) but… thinking not today. :( Supposedly, this will be a 3 day-snow-event. (but by no means a blizzard) Hopefully I can get over there tomorrow, on the 3rd day of this…. they’re not here long enough and I’m a good-traffic-weather hour away. Oh well, will see….Either way, Happy New Year to everyone here and … “yes, Chgo, I’m still liking this snow :) Happy New Year!

  • Leslee

    I personally can’t think of why anyone wouldn’t register a card!!! If you visit Starbucks, you need to register your card &heart; I’m all about companies giving back to customers!

    I would love to see the donation card return! Great idea…

  • Chris

    Happy New Year Melody and everyone! I’m in London on vacation at the moment and every Starbucks is packed to capacity! Look forward to reading your blog this year x

  • Melody

    @Leslee, Denise, and Chris – Thank you! Happy New Year back to you!
    @Leslee – I am glad I’m not alone in thinking it’s time for another Starbucks donation card. :)

  • DadCooks

    Happy New Year Melody and fellow followers! :-)

    @Melody, great introductory post for folks new to the Starbucks Card and a good refresher for us ol’-timers. Critical old me cannot find an important feature you missed, great job!

    My family’s email inboxes (4) each had a different promo starting today 1/1/14. The better promos went to the less frequent users :-(

  • Meg

    I’m in Chicago too, and I can’t find a sidewalk to get to my Starbucks. I really wanted to use my January Refill Cup today! :(
    I went to Evolution Fresh in California to get one of the gift cards, and they only had a couple of super beat up ones. (I’m a huge collector!) Will have to continue a hunt for one!

  • Bob Smith

    Great article! I had one more thing to add for a reason to register your sbux card. Registering it provides a bit more protection. The website says registering your card will “Protect your balance if your Starbucks Card is missing or stolen.” I think there are some restrictions on the timeframe of when you report it lost/stolen and I don’t know if I had my wallet stolen, my first instinct would be to call on my starbucks card. However, some protection is better than none :)

  • Chgo.

    Regarding the thread…..

    “I personally can’t think of why anyone wouldn’t register a card!!!” @Leslee – Would you believe I resisted to register a card until about mid 2012? Up until about 3 years ago, I used to go to Starbucks 3 sometimes 4 times a day. Imagine what I lost out on back then. What a huge mistakes on my part, but I have always been a cash type of person. Now I try to keep it down to one trip a day with a rare refill, I now know that registering a card has been good to me and I should have been using one all along.

    Happy New Years to everybody! I’m hoping that 2014 is a better year than 2013. So many people are still hurting from the economy. I feel that overall I am still somewhat blessed, although 2 people in my household lost their job’s after Christmas. Never mind us. We will be fine, but my New years Wishes and Blessings are geared toward those less fortunate and anybody here that needs a boost in the coming year.

    @Denise – Please shut off your snow machine! I know it’s your fault – LOL! Actually New Mexico sounds better than Chicago right now. Today doesn’t look like the best day to travel to “moms” today. Look at it this way. If your niece is traveling back by air, she probably may get stuck here a little longer giving you a better chance to see the baby. We did get 18″ of snow or better on New years in 98 or 99 didn’t we? i know I worked for 3 days straight and came home to my neighbors who buried my garage on the alley side. God I hope we don’t get that much by Thurs. night. I think with lake effect we may only get 12″. That is if you shut down that God awful snow machine of yours. 😉

  • Ryan Schroer

    Better promo?

  • DadCooks

    To my friends in Chicago, this Chicago expat feels your pain (snow). Our little corner of SE Washington is starting to get overdue for our token “blizzard” and fortunately we have been spared the ice storms that have occurred all around us. I just looked at the Jet Stream maps and it does not look good for any relief soon for you folks.

  • Kristina

    With all the gift cards folks received over the holidays, this is a great topic to kick off the new year on your blog. Happy New Year!

  • Chgo.

    @DadCooks – Happy New Years to you. I’m just going to blame Denise and her cross country ski’s for this weather. I’m staring out the window shaking my head, and she’s probably out there somewhere playing in it. I just returned from the long painful ride to Starbucks and back. I got a late start today and had to spend 2 hours doing snow removal. I finished at 145pm cst, and less than 3 hours later, it looks like I hadn’t done a thing. One more day of this snow and after Sunday, highs of 0 degrees. Nice going Denise. 😉

  • LatteRose

    Happy New Year to all! I am also a big collector of Starbucks cards. I’ve been keeping my eye out for the Year of the Horse card, finally found them (only four left!).

  • Sandra Trolinger

    I cannot imagine why you wouldn’t alert every Starbucks addict in your family to register their card and app the phone app. 😉
    Even my 16-year-old has her own card and uses the app so she can earn free drinks.

  • The Kwan

    @Melody – great post, as usual. I hope in 2014, I can walk into any corporate store, and the partner will know the refill policy for Green/Gold members!

    I also hope Starbucks will bring back a “donation card” soon. One of my favorites was for (RED).

    Happy New Year, Melody and fellow readers!

    [P.S. I got my bonus code this morning (25 days of coffee), but no food/drink promos. The last one I got was 50% off espresso that expired 12/28.]

  • Freddie'sDaddy

    Was told by baristas the other day that you will no longer be able to accumulate ‘stars’ by swiping purchases withing a 2-hour period. Anyone hear that? So buying two coffees at once cannot swipe twice and get two stars – even within two hour period.

  • Freddie'sDaddy

    Received promo the other day and used it today – 1$ off brewed bevie. Agree with M that you must check your rewards. Thanks for this great blog!

  • Becky E

    Well the snow that Denise & Chgo have been “enjoying has made it’s way south to the Indianapolis area! So glad I already found my new 2014 year of the horse card. I hope this year brings even more fabulous cards and a donation card would be great. The RED card is the one that got my then high school daughters excited about using their cards. Now they feel a sense of accomplishment when they get one of their friends to register a gift card. Happy New Year to all!

  • Melody

    @Freddie’sDaddy – I have not heard of any changes coming where you can only earn one star within a 2 hour period. I would dislike that, absent a provision for a new store always being a new star. I can walk to Teavana (buy some loose leaf tea for home), walk to Starbucks (grab a beverage), walk to Evolution Fresh (get a big healthy salad for dinner) – and that is standing in 3 lines, 3 different stores, and seriously that takes me only 30 minutes to 45 minutes. No way should that be one star. But I’m skeptical that such a change is coming – but who knows. I’ve learned that Starbucks is pretty nimble, and ever-changing.

    Has anyone else reading this heard about a new change coming down the pike of one star every 2 hours?

  • denise r

    @Chgo: 😉 Happy New Year’s again! (and to DadC..the other member of the chgo gang) I’d have to look back at when you wrote your comment about clearing the snow but yes, that’s how it is here! I just went out and cleared my car, again, this morning, which had about 6″ on it since last nite and it’s covered already and the minute it seems to stop snowing, it starts coming down BIG again. (and yes, ’98-’99 was a lot of snow, ~ New Year’s)
    Back to Sbux, it was my trial run-of-the-roads yesterday and only 1.5miles away and these side roads (rt 12 etc) were just snow-packed and treacherous. It took me very careful driving and just in and out with a coffee and that was bad enough! So, yes….love it for getting out back here and x-country skiing but of course I do realize the hardships it can cause re: travel. and also yes, I can only hope maybe my sister’s flight gets canceled and I get another day to make my way over there.

    re: the cards: I see that, too (@DadC..) the less frequent users seem to get the most enticing and numerous promos. And, I did pick up one of the 2014 New Year card two or three weeks ago.

    sorry for this jumbled comment…. I am a little ‘jumbled’ I guess.

  • Melody

    @Denise – I am a little jealous of all that snow. Though I wouldn’t dare take a car out in it. (Well, I would walk to Starbucks in the snow since I have a ton within walking distance of me). Seattle really doesn’t get much snow – and where I am, I am the last in Seattle to see any snow, because I am nearly at sea-level. I am ready for a Seattle snow storm, but this looks to be a warm winter so far except for one single freezing snap for a few days.

    Supposedly those promos are random. I did get the one that was 50% off of a holiday beverage which I used on a Gingerbread Latte. The Gingerbread Latte was my favorite this season – I liked the spiced whipped cream and molasses topping!

  • Denise r

    @Melody: (still snowing and now getting kind of cold). below zero tonite & Supposedly a high of -4 on Mon & Tues! I wish SNOW in Seattle for you!
    The thing about this ‘snow’ for us is that it’s been going on for 3 days, w/ breaks of only minutes.
    I am in my 2470 Sbux now, which I could walk to but didn’t . The extreme lack of pastries has me a bit aggravated, I just want the pretzel or a good bun or cookie but nothing really going on w/ this cut-back at the moment:(. Hopefully next Tues will bring something worthwhile & more plentiful. !

    On another note : did everyone who played get their ’30’ bonus stars (via email & entering star code) yesterday ? I did, rewards were added but the page doesn’t show much detail. Hopefully they came throug for everyone ?

  • Purple1

    Denise I too got the 30 stars and saw the rewards added to my account. Gosh, you certainly are getting a lot of snow! We have nothing here yet, but some is coming. Today, I asked my local SB for the snowmen cookies and they are no longer available. Our pastry case was also sad looking and in general the look of the store too. Stay safe.

  • Chgo.

    I’m sending all my snow to Denise and Melody. I’m sending some to you too purple1. I have gotten my email for redeeming the stars but have yet to address it. It probably has something to do with snow being the #1 priority in my life at the moment, and not by choice. Life is grand!

  • purple1

    Melody just getting back to a small point- I was referring to the new gift cards not available at my local store. The standard ones are still there but people are always looking for new ones. Sorry for the confusion.

  • denise r

    @Chgo: You should check out that email with the 30-star info….if you want them. Mine said you needed to enter the “star code” on Jan.1st….. which seemed unrealistic since not everyone would see their email on that date. I will re-check the email but that’s what I remember. (memory likely clouded by snow…… and now also very frozen…;) Looks like you got you wish for Purple1 getting snow, at least from the news…..

    On another note, I asked my sm re: the food-lack. He said on Tues there will only be 3 new rollouts (cannot remember but one was not new, just gone…orange-cranberry scone, I think and 2 other not-so-interesting to me items) We always had the pretzels but now they won’t be at our store any more, just some others. Seems like they’re really trying to destroy my regular place: first very very bad “remodel”, then never repairing things they needed to from the remodel, now the pastry-cut-back..all this in light of our other Mt P store relocating a few blocks and becoming a Clover store. Of course, the Clover will take a lot of customers, imo, from this store…they’re only 1-2miles apart.

    oh, keep forgetting: @ Chgo: sorry about the Dominicks issue and loss of jobs in your family…of course! Lots of people upset just to lose their local store, not to mention jobs!

  • denise r

    re: “Bonus Star Code” : it just says ‘bonus star code must be redeemed by Jan 21st’.

  • purple1

    Denise my email re the bonus stars said you had until January 21 to put the code in. Two different emails? Yes, we got snow but now it is very sunny out snow is gone. I hope there are some satisfying new pastries come Tuesday. I hardly get pastries anymore.

  • Chgo.

    @Denise – I did enter the codes but it didn’t show any rewards. I called CS and they said it could take 24hrs to show. Can’t check at the moment because I have been having issues logging in from my phone, but thanks for the info. Ditto to the bonus star code by the 21st. Also… Thanks for the kind remark about Dominick’s closure’s. The jobs were helping to pay costs of my youngest’s college cists and loans outside of scholarships. We’ll be fine! My heart goes out to the folks with 20-35 years on the job who couldn’t afford to retire and may lose homes. Their was a Licensed store at my wife’s store. I talked to a few SM’s about taking a couple of their people in, but then they cut hours. Sorry for going OT Mellody

  • Chgo.

    Pardon the typos.

  • Hayley

    Frustrated, because I have not gotten any Starbucks emails lately….and all my preferences are checked. I never got any promo or code notifications on my app…nor any email about the star bonus! Wahhh!

  • Chgo.

    @Hayley – To get into the 30 Stars promo, you would have had to have logged into your Starbucks Card when the promotion started, and there would have been a notification of the promotion where you could enter into it. How long that notification would have stayed there, I don’t know. It stayed on my account for an extended duration during and after it ended. I have seen other promo’s disappear when they ended or for no reason at all when it was still active. Why you are not seeing these or not getting any notification, is beyond me. I seem to get more promo offers than most people. Although I’m a pretty active customer, I’m sure Melody is too as a good example, yet it seems that I have gotten ones that she hadn’t received in the past.

    I don’t know how often you go to Starbucks, how much you spend, or why they choose some people over others. But if you think it isn’t fair for what ever reason, I would call Customer Service and express your frustration. I think you have just as much right as anybody else. Quite honestly, it sounds like you don’t even exist as far as they are concerned. If it makes you feel better, they mess up half the promo’s anyway. I’m always talking to CS lately complaining about mistakes. It seems I’m not the only one. Call them….. Good Luck!

  • Hayley

    I’ve been gold since the old program in 2007 :(

  • Chgo.

    @Hayley – Pardon my French, but that sucks then. As I mentioned earlier….. I have been gold for only 1.5 years. I’ve been a cash customer a lot longer, but at least you have a record of your loyalty by use of the card for 7 years. I would be mad if I were in your shoes. I would want to know what’s their story and why?

  • Melody

    All the rewards began in 2008, when Howard announced them at the shareholder’s meeting. But you could register a card years before that.

    And Hayley, that does suck. All I can say is that Starbucks pretty much insists that these promos and offers are random. I know I hear about many more than I receive. I did do the 25 days to get the 30 stars thing. I am sorry though that you haven’t gotten more! I know it’s no fun to feel left out of the fun.

  • calwatch

    You might try spreading out your usage amongst different registered cards. This will increase complexity but that way you can see if you are really being cheated out of those deals because you already go to Starbucks every other day. Qualification for gold status would not be an issue since you far exceed the 30 stars per year.

  • Dustin

    Does everyone know you can redeem your reward at Teavana® stores for a free drink or 1 oz of loose-leaf tea now? I didn’t know that till I read a recent email for reward I just earned.

  • Judy

    I was very suprised to discover I had received 31 stars at the end of the old year (or start of the new year)! There are so many extra benefits from a registered Starbucks card.

  • SnowWhite

    @Dustin – I saw that but did not have any success in redeeming my reward for tea when I was in Teavana prior to Christmas. To be fair, it was pretty busy, but the gentleman that waited on me just looked at me blankly when I asked about using my reward. Beyond that, I keep reading that you can’t buy less than 2oz of tea, so you’ll still have to pay some part of it.

  • Amy

    In the last three weeks, I have made 10 separate purchases at Starbucks with my gold card and NOT one star has been added to my account. Any suggestions besides after making a purchase standing there and continually checking my iPhone app to see it appear?? (assuming I have no life, no job and all the time in the world to do so)… lol

  • Cait

    So maybe you can help me!
    I’ve been buying lots of coffee since the New Year started (I’m a college sophomore, don’t judge me!) and I have been earning stars like normal but no rewards are showing up! I’m not to the Gold Level of stars yet, although I don’t think that has anything to do with it. The last reward I got was “50% OFF ESPRESSO” on 12/28/13. I’m super sad because the rewards are like coupons that help me save money and not receiving them defeats the purpose of me having the registered card! Has anyone else been having this issue?

  • Darkkatpouncing

    Reading this article reminds me of when I first started reading your blog way back in the day :) Most of what I’ve learned about Starbucks is from reading your blog and keeping up with your tweets and re-tweets of key happenings going on :) You always have very thorough information and get to the point links and I’ve always been very appreciative of this. Thank you for sharing everything you do <3

  • Yoana

    Love starbucks its my first time here registering hopefully I get lots of stars …I go tree times a week!!!!

  • purple1

    Wow I just learned on July 28 that you can no longer use your SB card to pay for an E gift card. Really very disappointed that they took away that option. I emailed to find out why. Cannot understand the reasoning behind this.

  • miranda stevens

    Starbucks is the best

  • Art

    I have registered my card but still does not give me the free refills promised in your website. Please contact me directily at my email address provided to you

  • andrejoe

    Starbuck amazing..

  • Sylvia Lewis

    I’m trying to register. Another. Card and takes me to everything but. Why do you make it so difficult to do

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