Coffee lovers like me would choose the real espresso any day, but Starbucks free coffee is probably the next best thing if you’re not a fan of mixing your own caffeine fix, or you find the coffee machines a luxury you can’t afford. So how do you take advantage of free coffee from Starbucks? What do you need to do? How many times can you redeem free coffee?
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This guide should help you get a free cup of Starbucks every now and then (some more regularly than others that are one-off).
6 Ways to Get Starbucks Free Coffee
There are some special cases when Starbucks gives away coffee for a particular sector. For example, brewed coffee for dads on Father’s Day, or more recently, free coffee for covid19 frontliners throughout December 2020 to honor doctors, pharmacists, firefighters, mental health workers, hospital staff, active-duty military, and other similar professions.
For other methods, make sure to bookmark this page:
1. Become a Starbucks Rewards Member
If you can’t get enough of your favorite Starbucks drink, whether it’s the spiced pumpkin latte, their traditional brewed coffee, or one of their frappuccinos, you need to become a Starbucks Rewards Member.
Like other Rewards programs, you get to earn stars every time you buy a Starbucks drink, food, or merchandise. There are two ways to join:
- Sign up from the website. Use your receipt to “collect stars,” which will be added to your account.
- Download the Starbucks app and register from there. Available for both Android and Apple devices, the app is not just a Rewards app where you can see how many stars you’ve earned. Using the app is more convenient since it allows you to save a credit card (or another payment method), then order ahead from the app, and just pick up your drink from the nearest Starbucks.
Some activities collect more stars than others. For example, adding funds to your account via credit card, participating in Bonus Star challenges, or pre-ordering via the app.
As a Rewards member, you can get free coffee in three ways:
How to Get Starbucks Free Coffee on Your Birthday
- To qualify for the Birthday Reward, you must have made at least one Star-earning transaction. Just show your app to the Starbucks barista and you get your choice of coffee. Yes, even without purchasing anything.
Free Coffee Refills
- Free coffee refills are available for Rewards members during in-store visits only. However, unlike the birthday treat, you need to purchase a drink first before you could request free coffee refills.
Earned Starbucks Stars Get You Free Coffee
You earn 1 star per $1 spent when you scan your member barcode in the app, then pay with cash, credit/debit cards, or mobile wallets at participating stores.
You can also earn 1 Star per $1 spent when you link a payment method and pay directly through the app. Here’s what you can redeem:
- 25 stars – customize your drink with a free espresso shot
- 50 stars – Brewed hot coffee, bakery item, or hot tea.
- 150 stars – Handcrafted drink, hot breakfast, or parfait.
- 200 stars – Get a salad, sandwich, or protein box
- 400 stars – You can take home select merchandise or at-home coffee
2. Get Starbucks Free Coffee on Happy Hour (Thursdays only)
If you don’t want to become a Reward member, but still is interested in free coffee, this is probably the best method for you.
On select Thursdays each month, you can take advantage of the Happy Hour BOGO and get two of your favorites for the price of one. It is held from 2 pm to 7 pm at participating stores.
To know when/which branches are available for the next one, download the app and wait for Happy Hour notifications.
3. Use Swagbucks to Earn Starbucks Gift Cards
Swagbucks lets you earn money from ordinary things you do, such as playing games, shopping online, answering surveys, watching videos, and searching the web.
Once you’ve gathered enough points (called “SBs”), you can redeem them as cash via PayPal, or as any gift card like Target, Amazon, and yes Starbucks.
It would take a while to earn SBs, but it’s a legitimate way of getting Starbucks free coffee. The quickest way to earn SBs is to run videos in the background while doing chores, or work, and answering surveys (which tend to pay higher SBs).
4. Earn Coffee Fix Money via Ibotta, Rakuten, or MyPoints
Ibotta is a bit different since this is a cash-back app that lets you earn money back when you shop online and in over 50 brick-and-mortar national retailers. However, the money you get back can get you your favorite Starbucks drink.
5. Limited Edition Starbucks Collectable Stickers
Like the Starbucks annual planner, the company gives customers a way to collect stickers/stamps and redeem a free cup of coffee, pastries, or other Starbucks merchandise once you’ve reached certain milestones.
Although you would have to invest in several Starbucks drinks before getting that free cup, this technique would be best for those who actually buy Starbucks every day.
Getting the stamps/stickers and looking forward to receiving some Starbucks stuff back is always better than nothing.
6. Participate in Survey Junkie to Earn Starbucks Gift Cards
Survey Junkie is one of the oldest survey sites around and still offers money to people in exchange for their opinions on certain topics.
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If you have some time to answer questions, you can earn virtual points every time you complete a survey. And once you reach $10, you can redeem it for various kinds of e-gift cards (Starbucks included of course, which you can then use for free coffee).
Beyond Starbucks Free Coffee
Can’t wait for your birthday or Starbucks credits and rewards? Are you open to try other coffee brands? If so, check out promotions of brands like Panera (that made their iced and hot coffee free last summer). To know when coffee brands have current promos, make sure to follow your favorite local cafes or bigger ones like Starbucks on social media.
For those who have a coffee maker or espresso machine at home and would love to get free coffee beans and other coffee product samples instead, we’ve got a big list for that too! Enjoy!