Starbucks Credit Card Review

Earlier today, I posted about the leaked information regarding the new Starbucks credit card. Shortly after I published that post, Chase officially announced all of the details for the new Starbucks credit card. So now that we have all of the details, here’s my Chase Starbucks credit card review 

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Starbucks credit card review

Here’s a breakdown of what the card has to offer:

  • New Cardmember Offer: 2,500 Stars after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening (equal to 20 food or beverage items)
  • Bonus Stars: 250 Stars when using your card to load fund onto the Starbucks mobile app for the first time
  • 1 Star for every $4 spent outside of Starbucks stores
  • 1 Star for every $1 digitally loaded to their registered Starbucks Card in the Starbucks mobile app
  • Instant Gold Status: Cardmembers will automatically receive Gold Status within the Starbucks Rewards program
  • 8 Barista Picks: Curated food or beverage Rewards selected by baristas and automatically loaded to the cardmembers Starbucks Rewards account
  • $49 Annual fee

The $49 annual fee is a killer…

Starbucks credit card review
Starbucks at the Aruba Marriott Resort.

Starbucks credit card sign-up bonus

  • 2,500 Stars after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 250 Stars when using their Starbucks Rewards Visa Card to load their registered Starbucks Card within the Starbucks mobile app for the first time

The Starbucks Rewards program allows you to earn a free beverage or food item with every 125 stars you earn as long as you’re a Gold member. So the sign-up bonus is worth 20 food or beverage items + 2 more items when you load to the mobile app for the first time.

If you value a Starbucks product at $5, then that’s a little over $100 worth of Starbucks. You can only use stars earned at Starbucks, so this is not a true cash back card.

$100 worth of Starbucks is a pretty low sign-up bonus and not very compelling. (If this card did not have an annual fee, I would be a little more understanding about a low sign-up bonus.)

Points expire in 6 months

To make matters even more unattractive, Stars expire in 6 months after you earn them. For those who really love Starbucks, they probably won’t struggle to use these points up that quickly, but any timeline less than one year for point expiration is very poor to me.

Starbucks credit card review
Starbucks credit card sign-up bonus.

Bonus earning

  • 1 Star for every $4 spent outside of Starbucks stores
  • 1 Star for every $1 digitally loaded in the Starbucks mobile app

I really thought that this card would offer some exceptional rewards for spending at Starbucks but it’s actually not very good at all.

Spending at Starbucks

For Starbucks purchases, you’ll earn 1 Star for every $1 you load in the Starbucks mobile app. This means you’d need to spend $125 to earn $5 back. And note that you only earn this when you use your Starbucks credit card to load your balance in the app.

This is a 4% return which seems okay but considering that you can purchase Starbucks gift cards for 5 to 10% off, this is will often not be the best way to maximize value.

Note that as a Starbucks Rewards member, you earn an additional 2X on Starbucks purchases but you could earn that regardless of which card you use to load funds onto your Starbucks account.

For example, I use my Amex Platinum Card with the MPX App and purchase Starbucks eGift cards to earn 2.5 United miles per $1 spent + 5 Membership Rewards per $1. Those rewards amount to ~13% back and easily outweigh the ~4% return I’d get with the Starbucks card. (And I earn the 2X Stars through the Starbucks app on top of all of that.)

If you regularly purchased expensive items (~$8 to $10), there might be some value with this card since you’d be getting roughly 8% back and then you’d be able to stack it with the App earnings. But I doubt that’s very common and you’d have to factor in the annual fee, too.

Spending outside of Starbucks

Things get much worse for everyday spending since you earn one Star forevery $4 spent.

This means that you need to spend $600 just to earn 150 Stars for a free item. That mounts to a .83% return on everyday spending which is horrible.

Starbucks credit card review

Instant Starbucks gold status

Green status is the standard Starbucks status level and comes with perks like free birthday rewards, free refills on hot or iced brewed coffee, special email offers, etc. You achieve this status level just by joining and walking in the door.

Gold status requires you to earn 300 Stars in 12 months, so you normally need to spend $150 in a year to be a Starbucks Gold member. So this card is a nice shortcut but other shortcuts have been made available in the past.

With Gold status, you’re given the ability to redeem points for a free beverage or food item with every 125 Stars you earn and are given opportunities to earn double the rewards on a random day of each month (not picked by you). I wouldn’t consider this a major perk for the average person, but if you like to frequent Starbucks, you’ll appreciate the quick jump to Gold status.

Starbucks credit card review

8 Barista Picks

With the Starbucks credit cards, you’ll get 8 barista picks which are “curated food or beverage Rewards selected by baristas and automatically loaded to the cardmembers Starbucks Rewards account.”

  • Substitutions and customizations are not allowed unless specifically permitted by the Barista Pick coupon.
  • Barista Picks cannot be redeemed for cash or Stars.
  • One Barista Pick will be loaded approximately once every six (6) weeks
  • Each Barista Pick expires 30 days after it has been loaded onto your Starbucks Rewards account.

Since you cannot choose what these barista picks are, you are at the mercy of whatever you are offered.

If you assume a $5 value for these items, at least there’s an ability to almost break even with the annual fee but you might be given some obscure drink or sandwich that you’d never normally order.

Starbucks credit card review
What if you don’t like the Barista Pick?

$49 annual fee

I don’t think anybody thought Chase would have the audacity to slap an annual fee on this card but they did. And it’s not even waived. This fee really cuts into your earnings and makes this card a lot less appealing.

Instant use

If you are approved for your Starbucks credit card you’ll be given a digital card and it will be immediately loaded into the Starbucks mobile app for customers to start earning Stars right away. So that’s one plus.

Final word on the Starbuck credit cards review

A lot of people like to hate on Starbucks and there are plenty of valid reasons for that. Personally, I’m not ashamed to say that I actually enjoy Starbucks and go there once a week for breakfast. However, with the $49 annual fee and poor bonus earning, I’m going to stick to other methods for paying for Starbucks purchases.

The Starbucks credit card simply does not appeal to me in any way. There could be a niche where this makes sense for some, but I think overall this is definitely a credit card designed for people who aren’t concerned about maximizing value with their credit cards rewards.

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