Is The Starbucks Credit Card Practical? ( Frugal Alternatives )

starbucks credit card worth it

Is the Starbucks credit card practical? Good question, and l will attempt to anwer that question on this blog post. I know there are quite a few people psyched about the new Starbucks credit card that was just made available. A joint effort with Chase bank, the coffee chain giant has started offering coffee addicts yet another way to accumulate more frivolous debt.

The new credit card is called Starbucks Rewards Visa. Let’s break it down, shall we? I will also offer my own and millions of other peoples frugal way of conquering their coffee addiction.

Is the Starbucks credit card practical?

starbucks coffee and croissant
Yummy! But at what cost? Image source

How Practical is the Starbucks Rewards Visa?

When you first look at this credit card, it sounds like just one of many hundreds of visa cards offered by other branded companies. Looking a bit at the rewards breakdown, you see how it is basically geared towards you frequenting Starbucks even more. You are rewarded in “stars”, you’d have thought it would be called Bucks in the spirit of the trade name, but nope 🙂 .

The Starbucks Rewards Card Benefits:

  • You earn “stars” when you make purchases with your card at any establishment that accepts visa.
  • 1 star for every $4 purchase that are made in stores other than Starbucks.
  • 1 star for every $1 preloaded to your Starbucks mobile app. This is in addition to the 2 stars you get when you purchase with your Starbucks card, so you can technically get 3 stars per $1 spent.
  • Complimentary beverage or food 8 times a year when Starbucks offers a  “Barrista pick”.
  • A “Gold Status” after 300 stars. You get a free item for every 125 stars…  and a fancy personalized gold card.
  • Price protection (will match prices if you see it lower in 90 days.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver (secondary to your regular insurance plan).
  • Purchase protection plan (covers for 120 days theft or damage for new purchases made with the card).

Signup bonus for the Starbucks credit card:

  • 250 stars when you load your credit card onto the Starbucks mobile app for the first time.
  • 2,500 stars if you purchase $500 worth of goods in the first 3 months of getting the Starbucks credit card.

Why the Starbucks credit card sucks:

  • A $49 annual fee
  • A whopping interest rate of between 17% – 24% depending on your credit worthiness
  • Rewards that you can’t use outside of Starbucks. No cash rewards ( that why it’s not called bucks? ). You can only use your star rewards at Starbucks!
  • Your stars expire 6 months after qualifying purchase
  • You have to preload your separate Starbucks card with your Starbucks credit card on the mobile app in order to get the rewards. Bah!

Imagine, just to make back the $49 annual fee, you’d have to spend $1,250 pre-loaded on your Starbucks card. You would also need to spend $500 outside of Starbucks to earn 125 stars, which gets you a “free item”. Let’s aim high and say the freebie is a Starbucks mug (which l highly doubt). Looking on Amazon, it costs $20.14 for their limited edition mug. That is one mighty expensive way to acquire a mug! Falling for that makes you a sucker!

Frugal Alternatives to Starbucks:

krups coffee maker and coffee
Our spiffy coffee maker and beverage.
moccachino from krups
It makes all the “fancy” drinks, just like Starbucks at a fraction of the cost.

A new concept! Make your own damn coffee!!!  🙂 Nowadays, everyone has heard of portable fancy coffee and beverage makers that you can have at home. We have had a Krups machine for roughly 4 years and it makes just as good lattes and cappuccino as the ones at Starbucks. At roughly $100 original investment  for the machine, you can see how it’s cost effective in the long run. The pods are widely available in grocery stores. No need to get dressed and make a coffee run 🙂 .

For an even cheaper alternative, get yourself a stove top coffee maker and a manual milk frother. Trust me when l say your cappuccino will taste amazing and at just mere cents a mug. You own them outright and they last for years on end. I continue to say that being economical and frugal with your hard earned money doesn’t have to be painful. Quite the opposite in fact.

is the starbucks credit card practical coffee maker and coffee
Here you can see the end result of a coffee maker and brother combination. A delicious mug of cappuccino .

Should you get the Starbucks credit card?

My answer would be NO! Starbucks sales have flattened. This is a somewhat diabolical way to increase sales and please their stock holders. If you must have your Starbucks coffee, it might be an okay deal, as long as you have the discipline to pay your balance fully at the end of the month.

If you don’t,  a $5 daily coffee habit will set you back $1825 for the year. That amount can grow to be over $2135 for the year once you consider the interest at 17%. Not good at all. That is money you can save for a much needed emergency. So is the Starbucks credit card practical? As you can see, you should give this a hard pass.

Do you enjoy coffee? If yes, do you make it home or only Starbucks will do?

6 thoughts on “Is The Starbucks Credit Card Practical? ( Frugal Alternatives )”

  1. First off, I do use credit cards but I would NEVER get one with an annual charge, let only one just for coffee! My cards have no annual fee plus I never pay interest since I pay the monthly balance in full. But I do get cash back and I’m sitting on about $1000 right now from my accumulation of points. I know which card offers the most points for groceries, gas, etc. When there is a special points offer, I make sure to use that card. I realize this won’t work for everyone, you need to be very dedicated and not slip in paying in full at the end of any month.

    • Nice! Our last credit card before moving, we chose the money too and used it to clear off the balance for the last month and deposited the rest. This is designed for people who don’t really read the fine lines and therefore get into more money trouble. Perks being coffee….really? It should at least be able to use it for groceries and other stuff if they don’t give you cash back. You must really love coffee to find this a good deal :-).

  2. You make some good points, Kemkem! And I wouldn’t mind a milk frother for my tea. I add milk to it and shake it first and it’s delightful!!

    • We love the frother and have had it for ages. Being Italian, it’s the only way my husband makes coffee. We wanted to get an American coffee maker too, but funny enough, they sell the machine but not the coffee 🙂 . Brother tea sounds nice.


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