10+ Ways To Get Free Starbucks Drinks

Did you know there are ways to get free drinks at Starbucks? I’ll show you how to get free Starbucks drinks and other tips and tricks to save money whenever you have that Starbucks urge!

So if you’re a hard-core Starbucks addict and can’t get away from their delicious coffee drinks – you need to read this post where I list all the awesome ways to get free Starbucks!

Ninja Note: This post is NOT sponsored by Starbucks. I’m not compensated by or affiliated with Starbucks in any way. All opinions are my own and based on my own experiences on how to save money at Starbucks.

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission at no cost to you if you decide to make a purchase through my links. Visit this page for more information. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired.

How I Get Free Drinks At Starbucks

I’m a self-confessed Starbucks addict.

Every weekday morning on the way to work, I stop by my local Starbucks cafe and order my go-to drink, a grande extra-hot two-pump vanilla soy latte.

It also costs me $1,719.12 a year to do so. I found this out when I was trying to see if I could make coffee at home that tastes just as good as my favorite Starbucks latte (hint: you can!).

Time PeriodStarbucks Latte

But even though I make great coffee at home, I can’t let go of Starbucks entirely – just like millions of people out there. So being the money ninja that I am (or self-proclaimed anyway), the next best thing is figuring out how to get free Starbucks drinks and other ways to save money at Starbucks.

Now I know what I order is considered a specialty drink at Starbucks and they’re going to be more expensive than the normal coffee or lattes other people order, but I’m actually spending less than the average amount.

Why? Because people tend to drink more than one cup of coffee a day, every day. According to this article, Americans drink 1.6 cups of coffee per day and spends $2,130.50 a year!

So there are definitely opportunities for all of us to save money at Starbucks, especially if you’re a Starbucks latte lover like me.

I mean, is it strange I look forward to the fall season because that’s when Starbucks PSL is available? Or Christmas with their gingerbread and cinnamon dolce lattes?

Back to my point.

Since we’ve concluded that neither you or I could survive without Starbucks in our lives, here are my clever hacks on saving money at Starbucks and the many different ways to get free drinks at Starbucks!

How To Get Free Drinks At Starbucks

1. Earn Free Starbucks Gift Cards With Swagbucks

I’ve used Swagbucks many times to redeem for free Starbucks gift cards. It’s one of my favorite ways to get free Starbucks drinks!

Swagbucks is a survey site that is absolutely free to join and only requires an email address to become a member.

How survey sites work is you get rewarded with free gift cards to places like Starbucks or cash via PayPal for doing things like completing easy surveys, playing games, and surfing the web.

Here’s a screenshot of me redeeming my points for a free $100 Starbucks gift card! That makes the next 18 lattes of my favorite Starbucks free!

How To Get Free Starbucks Drinks - screenshot of $250 Starbucks gift card redemption at Swagbucks
(Image from Swagbucks)

Have enough Starbucks gift cards? Swagbucks also offers other gift cards to popular stores like Amazon, Target, and Best Buy. Check them out through this link and redeem a free drink at Starbucks with their $10 sign-up bonus! 👈

2. Get Free Starbucks Drinks By Earning Points & Rewards

Other web sites I use that reward you with free Starbucks gift cards include Survey Junkie and MyPoints.

Although Swagbucks is my favorite place to earn free Starbucks drinks, why wouldn’t I triple my opportunity to get more gift cards? They’re all 100% free to join with no catches.

I take surveys, play games, and surf the web whenever I can. It’s a way for me rack up points to redeem for those delicious free Starbucks drinks all year round!

Call it an obsession, but using Starbucks gift cards is how I save money while still being able to enjoy what I want.

3. Join The Starbucks Rewards Program To Get Free Drinks

As a Starbucks Rewards member, you’ll earn “Stars” every time you order food and drinks whether you pay with cash, credit card, or gift card.

How Many Starbucks Stars for a Free Drink?

Once you join, you’ll immediately receive 2 stars per $1 spent going forward. Collect 150 stars and you can redeem them for a free Starbucks drink of your choice; any size, any customizations.

There are other free items you can get too if you want to redeem sooner with less stars. Some save their stars until they reach the higher star redemption items:

Stars RequiredFree Item
25 StarsCustomize your drink
50 StarsBrewed hot coffee, hot tea, or bakery item
150 StarsHandcrafted drink, hot breakfast or parfait
200 StarsSalad, sandwich, or protein box
400 StarsSelect merchandise or at-home coffee

Other Perks of The Starbucks Rewards Program

  • Fun freebies: Not only can you earn free coffee, look forward to a birthday treat plus coffee and tea refills.
  • Order & pay ahead: Enjoy the convenience of in-store, curbside or drive-thru pickup at select stores.
  • Get to free faster: Earn Stars even quicker with Bonus Star challenges, Double Star Days and exciting games.

4. Buy Discounted Starbucks Gift Cards

This is the best hack on how to never pay full price at Starbucks!

I always make sure my Starbucks app is preloaded with money. It makes ordering coffee super easy and convenient. But I don’t use my credit card to preload the account – I refill it with Starbucks gift cards that I buy at a discount instead.

Yes, you read that right, discounted gift cards to Starbucks are available for purchase all the time.

Why Are There Discounts On Gift Cards?

Sometimes, people receive gift cards for their birthdays and holidays that they have no use for, so they resell the cards to these gift card exchanges in return for cash. The exchanges will then resell them to other people that actually need them.

For example, Johnny receives a $50 Starbucks gift card, but he doesn’t drink coffee. He prefers having cash so he sells the $50 card to a gift card exchange for $35. The gift card exchange will then list it for sale at $40 for someone else to purchase.

In this situation, everyone wins. Johnny gets $35 in cold hard cash, the gift card exchange makes $5 from reselling it, and the person buying the Starbucks gift card gets $50 worth of coffee for only $40.

5. Get A Free Drink At Starbucks On Your Birthday

This is another reason to join the free Starbucks Rewards Program.

Every year on your birthday, Starbucks will give you any size drink you want to FREE! That means you can go nuts and customize your drink in whatever way you desire. I’ve seen a guy order his birthday drink with 5 espresso shots and 10 pumps of vanilla (not that I recommend that).

You need to use your free birthday drink on your actual birthday though. They used to give you 30 days to redeem your birthday offer, but the policy changed in 2019.

6. Play Starbucks For Life

Once a year during the Christmas holiday season, Starbucks launches their extremely popular Starbucks for Life game.

The prize is exactly how it reads. If you win the grand prize, you’ll get any Starbucks drink free for the rest of your life! If that’s not the ultimate free Starbucks hack, I don’t know what is.

Outside of the grand prize, you can also win free Starbucks for a year, six months, three months, or one month. Other prizes include free stars, a free drink, and a $500 Starbucks gift card. It’s not exactly Starbucks for Life, but it sure will buy a lot of coffee.

There are also non-Starbucks prizes too like a free round-trip travel on Alaska Airlines.

If you’re already drinking Starbucks coffee, there’s no reason not to play this game. You get chances to win when you complete one of the many challenges. Examples of challenges include things like:

  • Order a drink before 9:00am
  • Buy a drink after 2:00pm
  • Visit two different Starbucks cafes

I consider these pretty easy to accomplish and something fun to do during the holidays. I haven’t won the grand prize (yet!), but I’ve gotten plenty of free drinks from it.

7. Take Advantage Of Starbucks Buy-One-Get-One (BOGO) Offers

Starbucks provides special offers for Starbucks app users all the time.

One I like is the buy-one-get-one (BOGO) deals they hold during Starbucks Happy Hour. These happy hour events are announced in the app ahead of time. When you order during the event, you’ll get one free drink when you buy a drink.

This works on expensive drinks too, like handcrafted lattes and frappuccinos.

8. Purchase Gift Cards During Starbucks Promotions

Starbucks will hold crazy promotions a few times during the year where they offer incredible deals!

For instance, last Christmas, you could buy $20 worth of gift cards for just $10 when you use any Mastercard to pay for it. I post about these deals whenever they come up, so bookmark the link below to stay informed when the next offer comes around.

9. Free Refills At Starbucks

My friends are shocked by this…

Literally, there has not been a single friend that’s heard of this. Every time I mention this Starbucks hack, they look at me like I’m a ghost.

Here’s the secret on how to get free refills:

Simply use your Starbucks app at a Starbucks cafe and you’ll get free in-store refills as long as you’re there!

This is good for hot coffee, iced brewed coffee, and tea. Unfortunately, handcrafted lattes don’t count… I wish, right? I’d be in the store all day long!

You don’t have to get the same coffee or tea either. If you started with a hot coffee, you can switch to an iced tea when you refill, and then switch again to a cold brew on the next refill!

How Do Free Refills Work At Starbucks?

When you use your registered Starbucks card or mobile app to purchase a beverage and then present that same Starbucks card or mobile app, you can get free refills of brewed coffee (hot, iced coffee or cold brew), and tea (hot, or iced) during the same store visit regardless of the original beverage at participating Starbucks stores.

Once you leave the store, your visit ends and any subsequent coffee or tea refill thereafter would be considered a new purchase. Refills are not available in the drive-thru.

10. Save Money With A Reusable Starbucks Mug

My final way to save money at Starbucks is a win-win situation for your wallet and mother nature.

When you bring your own travel mug to use at Starbucks, you’ll save 10¢ each time you purchase a cup of coffee. Assuming you drink coffee every day, this comes out to a savings of $36.50 per year.

I know it isn’t that much (hence the reason it’s #10 on the list), but I’m happier knowing that I’m not contributing to single-use plastic waste. Plus, it’s still saving something.

Go ahead and pick a nice Starbucks tumbler in a variety of styles from Amazon – save money and help the environment at the same time.

The Bottom Line

Saving money and making money in part of my DNA. It’s the underlying mantra for starting The Money Ninja. It’s also probably why you’re here 🙂

In my opinion, it’s silly to tell people to be on a strict budget that they can’t do anything they enjoy in life. Instead, I want you to see that it’s still possible to do the things you enjoy (like drinking Starbucks coffee) if you approach it in a different manner.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and learned that there are so many ways to get a free Starbucks drink. You’ll be ready to cash in on some Starbucks rewards in no time!

Have other tips and tricks that you use at Starbucks to get free drinks? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, ninjas! I’m off to take a few surveys 😉

About John Pham

John Pham is a personal finance expert, serial entrepreneur, and founder of The Money Ninja. He has also been fortunate enough to have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, and U.S. News & World Report. John has a B.S. in Entrepreneurship and a Masters in Business Administration, both from the University of New Hampshire.

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