Starbucks Rewards Credit Card Now Fee Free for the First Year

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Last year, Chase and Starbucks partnered to introduce the Starbucks Rewards credit card.

Free travel and the associated credit card plays are not of interest to everyone.  And while cash back is nice, it oftentimes seems too limited a reward for the credit card application effort.

However, for coffee drinkers, and especially dedicated Starbucks drinkers, the lure of free coffee drinks and food just might be enough to make this credit card worth considering.

Especially now that the annual fee is being waived the first year!


The Starbucks Rewards credit card makes earning and enjoying free coffee and food rewards a much quicker process.

Starbucks Rewards Stars are earned each time the credit card is used.  The more Stars earned the more free Starbucks food or drink items that can be enjoyed.

Here’s an overview of the Starbucks Rewards credit card.

Sign-up Bonus:

Earn 4,500 Stars after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.  4,500 Starbucks Stars is enough for 36 free food or drink rewards.

Wow, that’s a lot of free Starbucks.

Earn 250 bonus Stars the first time you use the credit card to digitally load your registered Starbucks Card in the Starbucks App. That’s enough Stars for an additional 2 free food or drink rewards.

Ongoing benefits and earning:

  • Automatic enrollment in the Starbucks Rewards program where you’ll enjoy Gold status as long as your credit card account is open. Gold members receive food or drink rewards for every 125 Stars.
  • Earn up to 3 Stars for every $1 spent in Starbucks stores. Gold members earn 2 Stars per dollar spent in-store, an additional 1 Star is earned for loading funds to your Rewards account with your Starbucks Rewards credit card.
  • Earn 1 Star for every $4 spent outside of Starbucks stores (meaning all other purchases).
  • Receive 8 Barista Picks – complimentary food or beverage items – every 12 months.

Annual Fee:

Current promo now waiving the annual fee the first year, $49 each year thereafter

Card application link

Of course, Chase does impose application/bonus earning restrictions – This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months. 


Let’s consider a spending example where most monthly expenses are charged to the Starbucks Rewards card and what kind of return that would provide.

$1,000 of general spend (groceries, dining out, gasoline, etc.) each month = 250 Stars

$100 of spend at Starbucks (using the credit card to load your Starbucks account) = 300 Stars

Total Stars earned per month as a result of the Starbucks Rewards credit card = 550, or 4 free Starbucks drink/food items.


So, in the example above – which may or may not be representative of your specific financial situation – 4 free food or drink rewards each month when the Starbucks Rewards credit card is used as your primary form of payment for your monthly expenses.

Not a bad return.  Especially if you place a high value on a free Starbucks coffee drink.

Depending on what you choose for your food or drink reward, this example would be close to the return you’d get if using a 2% cash back credit card instead.

The real “play,” however, would be to sign-up for this no-annual-fee-the-first-year deal and take advantage of a ton of free Starbucks for only the price of $500 in spend. A few trips to the grocery store, paying your cable/cell phone/utility bills, or an unwelcome car repair bill, and you’ve got yourself Starbucks galore. Thirty-six free items from the sign-up bonus alone.

The 8 Barista Picks throughout the year are just gravy.

Then, close the card before the $49 annual fee hits next year.

Or, keep it open if your regular spend is garnering enough free Starbucks for your taste.

Obviously, this credit card is not for everyone.

But, if you’re a Starbucks aficionado, this just might be the card for you.

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