Rewarding Behavior

It’s surprising how many of my friends love Starbucks yet don’t know about the Starbucks Rewards program. They get downright starry eyed when I show them my Gold Card and tell them my strategy for loading it.

Many local supermarkets offer bonus fuel points when you buy certain gift cards. For example, Food City gives you 100 points if you buy $50 worth of gift cards in one transaction. Kroger gives you twice as many points as the value of the gift cards you buy. Sometimes they triple or quadruple the points. One such promotion just ended on Saturday.

Here’s what I tell my coffee-loving friends: Go buy a Starbucks gift card at the supermarket to get the fuel points. Then go online,  register for a Starbucks account and register the gift card. That gets you a free drink on your birthday.

Every transaction earns you one “star” at Starbucks. If you’re buying a drink for yourself and one for a friend, try to make it two separate transactions. Once you reach five stars, you can get free refills on brewed coffee.

Once you’ve spent all the money on the gift card, go buy another one at the supermarket but transfer the balance to the first card. You can do that online more easily than in the store. You can also do it fairly easily on the Starbucks smartphone app.

If you reach thirty stars within a year, you get a gold card. You have to reach thirty stars every year to maintain gold status. Gold member get a free drink of any kind after every twelve stars earned.

My wife and I regularly buy Starbucks gift cards and transfer the balances to our respective gold cards.  Even if we only went to Starbucks once a week after church on Sunday (which is when our friend Giannine calls it St. Arbucks), we would maintain gold status after seven months.

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