Whether you’re three years old or 63, it’s always exciting to get free treats on your birthday.
Many restaurants and specialty food shops across the country offer complimentary desserts and tasty treats on your birthday, so naturally, many coffee drinkers wonder if that same perk extends to them.
Is Starbucks one of them?
Can You Get Free Starbucks On Your Birthday?
Yes, you can get free Starbucks on your birthday, but you must be a Starbucks Rewards member.
As part of the Starbucks Rewards program, you have three options to choose from for your birthday treat.
You can pick from one complimentary food item, one complimentary made-to-order beverage, or one complimentary ready-to-drink bottled beverage.
For Starbucks Rewards members, Birthday Rewards can be redeemed at participating Starbucks stores only, so check with your local Starbucks to ensure they participate in the Birthday Reward program.
You cannot use your Birthday Reward on multi-serve food or beverages (e.g., a tray of breakfast bars), beverages that contain alcohol, merchandise or packaged coffee, and items sold at Starbucks Roastery locations.
In order to qualify for your Birthday Reward, you’ll need to join Starbucks Rewards at least seven days before your birthday and include your birthday information in your account.
When you do so, your Birthday Reward will be automatically added to your account on your birthday.
You must also make at least one Star-earning transaction before your birthday each year.
Your Birthday Reward is valid only on your actual birthday.
How Do You Use Your Birthday Reward?
On your actual birthday, you must pull up your Rewards account on the Starbucks app, where you can scan your member barcode.
Members can also present their registered Starbucks Card to redeem their Birthday Reward in person.
Before going to Starbucks to redeem your Birthday Reward, you can double check to see if your Birthday Reward is ready and available by checking your account on your app or by going to www.starbucks.com/account.
When you order, be sure to tell your cashier or barista that you’re using your Birthday Reward to ensure the drink you order is considered part of their complimentary birthday items.
Also, Starbucks will send you a birthday reminder two days before your birthday making sure you know how to use your Birthday Reward.
What Does Starbucks Rewards Entail?
Starbucks started its Rewards program as a way to reward and thank their loyal customers who frequent the popular coffee shop chain.
The program works by having Starbucks Rewards members earn and accumulate “Stars” that are redeemable for Starbucks Rewards benefits at certain Starbucks stores.
The Rewards system is set up in tiers.
- 25 Stars can be redeemed for one beverage addition that costs one dollar or less, such as an added shot of espresso, added syrup or sauce, or a different milk option (like soy, almond, or coconut).
- 50 Stars can be redeemed for one hot coffee, one hot tea, or one baked good.
- 150 Stars will get you one handcrafted beverage (standard size), like a latte or Frappuccino, any hot breakfast item, or a packaged snack item.
- 200 Stars will get you one pre-packaged salad, one lunch sandwich, or one pre-packaged protein box.
- 400 Stars can be used for one packaged coffee item (such as a bag of coffee beans) or a select merchandise item valued at up to $20. The availability of these items is dependent on the specific store.
Besides a free drink on your birthday, Starbucks Rewards members also receive free refills on their hot or iced coffees and teas, early or extra-long access to some promotions and offers, offers and coupons personalized to the member, and bonus Stars when members use re-usable drink cups.
Members also can participate in Double Star Day, in which participating Starbucks chooses a randomized day during which members can earn double the number of Stars.
Not all Starbucks stores currently participate in the rewards program, however.
Some opt not to award Stars for purchases while others opt against accepting Stars for Rewards.
To find a location near you that participates in Starbucks Rewards, you can search on the Starbucks Store Locator.
How Do You Sign Up For Starbucks Rewards?
You can join Starbucks Rewards by signing up on their website or on the Starbucks mobile app.
Then follow the prompts to create an account, where you’ll be asked to provide your first and last name and email address and to create a password.
You don’t have to include your birthday information (month, day), but if you don’t, you won’t receive your Birthday Reward.
You can only have one account per person.
You’ll then receive a digital Starbucks card, which acts somewhat like a debit card, with a zero-dollar balance.
You can add funds to your digital card online, through the app, or in person at a participating Starbucks store.
Starbucks cards also come in the form of physical plastic cards and can be purchased at participating Starbucks stores and other retail locations and as Starbucks Card eGifts that can be purchased online.
You can also add a Starbucks card eGift or a physical gift card to your Starbucks Rewards account by adding the 16-digit Starbucks card number on the back of the card and the security code.
Multiple Starbucks cards can be added for use in Starbucks Rewards.
Stars are added within 24 hours of your purchase and expire six months after the Star was earned.
How Do You Earn Stars As A Rewards Member?
As a Starbucks Rewards member, you can earn Stars in one of six ways:
- Pay for your Starbucks purchase with a Starbucks card. When you do this, you’ll earn two stars for every dollar spent, whether you pay with your digital Starbucks card via the app or in person. If you are a Starbucks employee or any other type of partner, you’ll earn three Stars for every dollar spent using a Starbucks card. Partners must be registered as such on their account.
- Pay for purchases using a payment method linked to your account, such as a credit card, debit card, or mobile wallet. You can easily link these forms of payment to your Rewards account and use them to earn one Star for every dollar spent. Starbucks partners earn two Stars for every dollar when paying this way.
- Pay with cash, credit card, debit card, or mobile wallet after scanning your member barcode in the app. This will earn you one Star for every dollar you spend. Starbucks partners earn two Stars for every dollar this way.
- Enter Star codes found in promotional materials. The amount of Stars that each code delivers varies. Only two Star codes are redeemable each day. Some Star codes have expiration dates so be sure to check for restrictions before attempting to add.
- Stars can be earned through other special promotions, but each promotion is subject to its own terms.
- Participate in partnership programs organized by outside business partners. Starbucks itself does not operate these programs, so some conditions may apply.
In addition to these ways, members can also earn Stars by purchasing qualifying items at the grocery store, keeping the receipt, and uploading a photo of it to their Rewards account.
How Do You Pay Using Starbucks Rewards?
You can pay with your Starbucks card and earn rewards by either paying in-person at a participating store using your registered physical Starbucks card or by scanning the barcode in the app, and then using the physical card to complete the purchase.
Starbucks partners just need to scan your barcode in the app or show your physical partner card when you go to purchase.
You can also pay with credit cards linked to your account by paying directly through the app.
Where Else Can You Get Free Treats On Your Birthday?
Besides Starbucks, there are a number of restaurants, ice cream shops, candy stores, and other specialty shops that will give you a complimentary treat on your birthday.
Though some may require special participation in a rewards program, some of them do not.
Remember to bring your photo ID with you in case employees ask for proof of your birthday.
These places include breakfast chains like IHOP, Waffle House, Denny’s, and Krispy Kreme.
Other coffee shops that offer free birthday drink include Dunkin Donuts, Panera Bread Company, Peet’s Coffee, and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
Sandwich, lunch, and dinner spots that offer free items on your birthday include Jersey Mikes, Moe’s, Steak ‘n Shake, Firehouse Subs, Ruby Tuesday’s, Red Robin, Morton’s Steakhouse, Red Lobster, Zaxby’s, Baja Fresh, El Pollo Loco, Jack in the Box, The Cheesecake Factory, and Del Taco.
Other specialty spots that offer free birthday items include Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, A & W, Baker’s Square, Friendly’s, Baskin Robbin’s, Pinkberry, Dippin’ Dots, Cold Stone Creamery, Marble Slab Creamery, Rita’s, Jamba Juice, Planet Smoothie, Bruegger’s Bagels, Einstein Bros Bagels, TCBY, Yogurtland, The Fresh Market, and Menchie’s.
Birthday treats don’t just pertain to food places either—cosmetic and specialty shops, as well as online stores, have jumped on the bandwagon by offering special birthday items and offers.
These places include Sephora, Ulta Beauty, Aveda, bareMinerals, and Barnes and Noble.
Check with each place before you visit on your birthday to ensure you understand what the offer entails and how to use it.
What Are Some Other Free Things Or Ways To Save Money At Starbucks?
If you’re feeling thrifty, there are some things patrons can get for free at Starbucks.
You can get a free cup of water and a free puppuccino (which is basically a small cup of whipped cream for your dog).
As already stated, you can get free refills on any hot or cold brewed coffee (including cold brew and iced coffee), or tea when you sign up for Starbucks Rewards and use your Starbucks card.
Starbucks will also give you ten cents off your drink order when you bring in your reusable mug or cup.
Though they stopped this offer temporarily during the pandemic, the offer is now back up and running.
In addition to these savings, some participating Starbucks locations have happy hour specials that run on Thursdays between 2 pm and 7 pm.
During happy hour, you can buy one drink and get one of equal or lesser value for free.
Starbucks Rewards members will receive an email when Happy Hour is occurring since it doesn’t happen every week.
Starbucks also offers their own Rewards Visa card, although they are not currently accepting new applications.
Those who were able to sign up earned 4,500 Bonus Stars after spending $500 anywhere in the first three months of opening the account.
Then, cardholders earn up to three Stars per dollar spent at Starbucks stores.
One Star is earned per two dollars spent at grocery stores, on local transit and transportation, and on Internet, cable, and mobile services.
If you use the card anywhere else, you can earn one Star per four dollars spent.