A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have a chat with Clint from Wallet Wise Guy about working as a freelance writer (his blog is unreal, please go check it out!)
In our talk, we brought up how since we started working remotely, setting up shop in a Starbucks or local cafe is much more enjoyable compared to being cooped-up at home.
I’m a proponent of separating your ‘work’ space from your ‘home’ space, and personally, I now spend more money every month on coffee than at any point in my life. Additionally, most of my coffee budget is spent at Starbucks (can’t beat the Blonde roast or their WiFi!)
Now, I’ve never been a staunch supporter of the whole ‘the reason you’re broke is because you buy lattes’ mentality since I think it’s a tad extreme.
However, as you guys probably know, I absolute love cash back rewards or scoring free gift cards when I can.
Since I’ve been spending so much time at Starbucks these past two months, I decided to break down the most effective methods to get free Starbucks and to have some fun with their rewards.
Now, this isn’t going to dramatically change your financial outlook, and I also don’t think you should feel guilty for buying coffee occasionally. This is meant to be a fun post designed to score you some free Starbucks gift cards and rewards every now and again so you can splurge (or pass on the fun to someone you know).
As a former Starbucks barista myself, I’m about to let you in on some secrets!
1. Enroll In Starbucks Rewards
Alright, while this might be a bit of a no-brainer for some, enrolling in the Starbucks Rewards Program is hands down the most effective way to drink free Starbucks on a regular basis.
In a nutshell, Starbucks Rewards incentives members to consistently shop at Starbucks by offering them perks, freebies, and the ability to accumulate stars.
The main perks of the Starbucks Rewards Program include:
- Free coffee and tea refills.
- A free Starbucks birthday drink.
- Free food and beverages that can be earned by accumulating stars.
Starbucks Reward members earn 2 stars for every $1 they spend at Starbucks. You can also increase how fast you earn stars with Bonus Star games/offers in the Starbucks mobile app, as well as by spending on Double Star Days.
Here’s how stars translate into enjoying free Starbucks:
- 25 Stars ($12.50 of spend) – customize your drink for free.
- 50 Stars ($25 of spend) – free Starbucks coffee, tea, or bakery item.
- 150 Stars ($75 of spend) – free handcrafted drink, breakfast item, or parfait.
- 200 Stars ($100 of spend) – free sandwich, salad, or protein box.
- 400 Stars ($200 of spend) – free bag of Starbucks coffee, cup, or accessory.
These might not seem like the most lucrative rewards. However, if you are a freelancer and treat Starbucks as your office (or if you just like coffee), you can probably earn at least 1-2 free Starbucks drinks each month or save up your points for something more substantial.
2. Use Passive Reward Apps
I’ve been tinkering around with passive income apps and ways to earn free gift cards for almost two years now, and while this ‘hobby’ doesn’t break the bank, it is fun to get free rewards every now and again.
The main way I have earned free Starbucks over the past two years has involved using cash back reward apps.
In particular, the Drop app has enabled me to earn a free $5 Starbucks gift card every month or so, and this process takes absolutely zero effort on my part.
Essentially, Drop allows users to earn reward points for shopping at 5 merchants of their choice (selected from a fairly comprehensive list of partners) and through special offers and rebates.
Once you connect your credit or debt card to Drop’s secure app, you automatically earn Drop points for spending at valid stores.
I’ve chosen Walmart, Uber, Shopper Drug Mart, the LCBO, and Starbucks itself as my reward partners, so I’m actually able to double-dip on how fast I can earn gift cards when I buy coffee every week,
There are plenty of other cash back apps that work on a similar premise, but I’ve personally had the most success with Drop.
Once you redeem a gift card, all you have to do is add the balance to your Starbucks Reward app and you’re good to pay in-store!
Download Drop and start enjoying free Starbucks drinks today!
3. Use Data Collection Apps
If you’ve been following This Online World for a while, you’ll know I’m also a fan of installing data collection apps to earn quick and easy passive income.
Running apps like Mobile Performance Meter was a massive part of my phone farming setup, and this simple free app can earn users $36.50/year in PayPal cash just for sitting on their phones.
However, if you’re specifically on the hunt for free Starbucks rewards, trying out apps like MobileXpression might be up your alley.
MobileXpression runs in the background of user’s phones and collects data regarding cellphone usage and cellular network coverage for marketing companies.
In return, MobileXpression rewards users with credits each consecutive week of run-time that can be cashed in for gift cards to a variety of stores (including Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts).
MobileXpression usually rewards users with a $5 signup bonus, and you can realistically cash out your first $15 gift card within the first month and a half of usage.
Your personal data is amalgamated so your privacy is maintained. However, deciding to monetize your user data is ultimately a personal decision.
Download MobileXpression for Android or for IOS and start earning!
Extra Reading – How To Get Free Starbucks Gift Cards.
I’ve mentioned Mistplay in my post on ways to make money playing video games, but this mobile gaming platform is definitely one unique way to enjoy free Starbucks from time to time.
On the Mistplay app (Android only for now), users can earn in-app rewards for downloading and playing select partnered games on their mobile phone. As you accrue points, you can eventually cash them out for a variety of rewards and gift cards to popular merchants like Amazon, Walmart, and Starbucks.
I’ve used apps like Mistplay in the past, and actually used AppLike when it was around to cash out Amazon cards, so the premise does work.
However, as multiple Mistplay reviews on Reddit reveal, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Mistplay is a great earner for some, but painstakingly slow for other users.
Like other beermoney apps, people are also finding ways to turn this into a semi-passive source of free gift cards:
As you can see, this user runs Mistplay on an idle device and has earned $80 across two different accounts.
If you’re looking to take your free Starbucks quest to the next level, I’d recommend Mistplay in your spare time or in idle-mode like this Redditor!
Related Reading – Mistplay App Review.
5. S`More Lockscreen App
If you want to earn an additional $36.50/year or more in Starbucks gift cards, you might want to try the S`more lock screen app.
S`mores is a reward-based Android app that transforms your phone’s lock screen into a customizable news portal that displays tailored articles, headlines, and…well…advertisements.
The concept behind S`mores is really that simple: monetize your lock screen with ads and content, and earn $0.10 in points a day for doing so.
You don’t have to interact with any sponsored content to earn your $0.10/day, and a single unlock will suffice. You can also complete short surveys or polls if you wish in order to earn more points.
S`more reward points can be redeemed for a variety of gift cards, including Starbucks, making this a straightforward way to drink Starbucks for free.
Yes, S`more is somewhat annoying compared to your traditional lock screen. However, if you have an old phone laying around you can install this app on it (along with apps like Embee Meter and MobileXpression to start a passive earning device without any trouble).
Extra Reading – S`more App Review 2020.
I’ve talked about Shopkick in my post on the ultimate list of gig economy jobs, and in terms of a simple earner, Shopkick is near the top of the list.
Shopkick is sort of like a secret shopper meets cash back rewards platform. On the app, there are several ways to earn, including:
- Walking into specific stores (yes, literally just walking in).
- Scanning barcodes for money.
- Submitting recipts.
- Purchasing sponsored products in-store or online.
- Watching videos on the mobile app.
You won’t break the bank with the Shopkick app, but if you live in a major city, you might be able to squeeze out some extra Starbucks money each month by completing simple tasks while you’re out and about.
Read our latest Shopkick Review to learn how to maximize your rewards with this app!
Extra Reading – 15 Best Apps Like Shopkick.
7. Microsoft Rewards
If you want to try something other than our Google overlords for a moment and passively earn money in the process, trying out Microsoft Rewards could be a decent option!
Microsoft Rewards is a essentially Bing’s user acquisition play. The system allows loyal Bing users to earn reward points for completing a variety of tasks and for using Bing as their search engine, with points being redeemable for a variety of gift cards, sweepstakes entries, and rewards.
There are plenty of ways to earn Microsoft Reward points. Some are as simple as just using the Bing search engine or answering polls, while others involve completing quizzes or even shopping online.
Now, a free $5 Starbucks gift card is currently 6,500 Microsoft Reward Points. Users do gain bonus points for maintaining streaks and consistently using Bing, but 6,500 is still quite a threshold.
Realistically, if all you do is search on Bing (15 points per day) and complete your daily set (involves 3 tasks such as polls or surveys), you can earn roughly 45 points per day. Factoring in bonus streaks, this means you can earn a $5 gift card every 120 days or so.
Personally, this earning rate isn’t enough for me to justify switching to Bing.
However, if you like using the Bing search engine or find yourself shopping for Microsoft products and online films, you might as well try out Microsoft Rewards since you can get some decent rebate bonuses.
8. Starbucks Rewards Visa
Alright, if you’re truly serious about getting free Starbucks coffee, signing up for the Starbucks Visa Card is your last step to maximize your earnings.
When you become a Starbucks Rewards Visa member, you unlock the following perks:
- 6,500 bonus stars after you spend $500 in the first 3 months of opening your card. This is equivalent to 130 free Starbucks coffees.
- Earn 1 star per $2 you spend at grocery stores, transit, internet, cable, and phone bills.
- Earn up to 3 stars for every $1 spent at Starbucks.
- Earn 1 star for every $4 spent anywhere else.
- Get 8 ‘Barista Picks’ per year – so more free food and drink perks.
You can also earn 300 bonus stars when you add money to your Starbucks mobile app using your rewards visa. Additionally, this visa comes with a bunch of other perks such as purchase protection, trip cancellation, and more.
Just note: there is a $49 annual fee for the Starbucks Rewards Visa. Read the terms and conditions to understand all the bonuses and rules.
At the end of the day, none of the tips I listed in this article are going to dramatically change your finances.
Additionally, I don’t think you should overly stress about treating yourself to coffee every so often, especially if you use cafes as a workspace rather than spending hundreds a month on renting a shared office.
However, there’s no denying that earning free rewards is fun. If you can automate some of your earnings with things like passive apps or credit cards, I think it’s a win-win.
Plus, if you’re a serious coffee addict and actually buy coffee every day, you are looking at a decent tab. Just check out the yearly latte and brewed coffee chart from my friend Ling at Finsavvy Panda (she also has a great post on ways to get Starbuck for free):
Even a simple act like enrolling in the Starbucks Rewards program or getting their Rewards Visa could make a decent dent in your bill, so take a look at your options and do something that makes financial sense!
Just please, don’t hop on to a GPT site and grind out surveys to get free Starbucks gift cards. Trust me, that is not a worthwhile use of time to get some freebies!
Enjoy all the free coffee/perks you can unlock! I’ll catch you guys in the next one!
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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This is a great post on ways to save money at Starbucks and get free coffee.
That’s cool that you worked there before! Which loacation were you at before? You should’ve continued to stay there for fun! 😊
Thank you so much for the shoutout here! ❤️
Tom Blake says
Thanks so much for reading Ling and for the kind words! 🙂 And haha Starbucks was definitely a fun job, I worked at a location on my campus when I went to school at U of Guelph.
No problem about the mention! I love your post on earning free Starbucks and some of the tips you have for people 🙂