Starbucks Visa Credit Card Review

Starbucks sells over 4 million cups of coffee every single day, making it the largest coffee chain in the world. If you flock to this chain every morning for your daily Grande, Venti or Trenta, you may benefit from the Starbucks credit card. 

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The Starbucks card works just like a regular Visa and can be used on all purchases, but there are a host of benefits that will appeal more to regular coffee drinkers and if you’re downing a dozen ounces of your favorite java every single day, it can be a very generous rewards card.

Starbucks Rewards Visa Card – The Basics

One of the biggest draws of the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card is the welcome offer, which gives you 6,500 bonus points when you spend $500 in the first three months from account opening. These points are worth about 40 to 50 free drinks, which is a very generous amount and takes the total value to about $200. However, the rate at which you earn Stars and freebies after this welcome offer slows down considerably.

  • Credit Card Issuer: Visa
  • Brand/Store: Starbucks
  • Sign-up Bonus: 6,500 points when you spend $500 in three months
  • Bonus Rewards Rate: Get up to 3 Stars per $1 spent on beverage items and food in Starbucks.
  • Regular Rewards Rate: Earn 1 Star for every $2 spent on eligible purchases and 1 Star for every $4 spent elsewhere
  • Redemption Options: Use Stars to get free food, drinks, refills, and more.

As the Starbucks credit card is a Visa, cardholders also have purchase protection, trip cancellation reimbursement, and warranty-related benefits. However, it charges a 5% balance transfer fee, a 5% cash advance fee, a 3% foreign transaction fee, and it doesn’t offer the best interest rates.

The Starbucks Rewards Program

All reward cardholders will automatically be enrolled in the Starbucks Rewards program, which is also available to non-card holders. If you already have an account, you can simply link that account to your new credit card.

Every time you use your Starbucks rewards credit card in a Starbucks store, you’ll receive Stars. These are paid at a rate of 3 Stars for every $1 spent. First, you’ll get 1 Star per $1 when you load your Starbucks Card and then another 2 Stars per $1 when you use that card to make a purchase.

You will also earn 1 Star for every $2 that you spend at grocery stores, on local transit, and on cable and phone services, as well as 1 Star for every $4 that you spend on other purchases. It’s a good rate for Starbucks purchases, but when you start using the card for non-coffee related purchases, the benefits reduce, and it stops being a generous and enticing rewards scheme.

Perks and Bonuses

Starbucks rewards can be redeemed for drink items and food items and these redemption offers begin when you have just 25 Stars, which is enough to get a free espresso shot, syrup or sauce to the value of $1.

You will also get 300 Bonus Stars the first time you use your Starbucks Visa to load money onto your Starbucks account, as well as 8 free Barista Picks every year. The Stars do not expire and there is no limit to the amount that you can earn and collect.

Alternative Credit Card Offers

The Starbucks Visa card likely won’t tick all boxes for you, as it falls short in several key areas. It can be useful as an occasional shop-specific credit card, something that you only use on drink items and food items at Starbucks, but the rewards are not generous enough for it to benefit you elsewhere.

Instead, take a look at these alternative credit cards:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: Get an unlimited cash back rate of 1.5% on every dollar that you spend. The Chase Freedom also has a low regular APR for applicants with good or excellent credit scores, and it’s one of the most popular cash back credit cards in the United States.
  • American Express Blue Cash Everyday: With low fees and interest rates (including balance transfer fee and annual fee) the Everyday Blue Cash card from AmEx is one of the best credit cards for the average user. The 0% intro APR lasts for 15 months and there is a sign-up bonus of $150.
  • Discover It Cash Back: The Discover It Cash Back card doesn’t charge an annual fee, has a 0% intro APR for 14 months (on purchases and balance transfers) and offers up to 5% cash back on rotating categories, including gas stations, supermarkets, restaurants, and rideshares. What’s more, Discover will match your cash back at the end of your first year, effectively doubling your rate of return.

Bottom Line: Is the Starbucks Card Right for You?

If you spend a lot of time and money in Starbucks, and you have another reward card to use for other purchases, the Starbucks card might be a worthwhile choice. But if you’re buying the occasional latte and looking for a cash back card that benefits you every time you spend, this is not it.

Sure, there are benefits that make it worthwhile as a second or third credit card, and if you don’t accumulate large balances there’s no reason why you can’t keep it in your pocket. Or rather, there wouldn’t be if not for the fact that the Starbucks Card charges an annual fee.

The odds of you earning enough points and receiving enough perks to offset the annual fee are pretty slim. This is true even if you make daily visits to your local Starbucks.

We recommend calculating how much you spend at the store and then using that calculation to estimate how much the card will earn you. If it will earn you considerably more than the annual fee will cost you, then it might be worth looking into. It can become a card that you use solely for purchases at Starbucks. However, it’s not good enough to serve as a general rewards card and there are many better options out there.