The little starbucks secret.

posted on: Saturday, April 2, 2011

Okay, perhaps it’s not super secret, but many of us don’t take advantage of Starbucks’ awesome gift card deal. It’s super helpful if you love tasty syrups and soy milk. This is a way to get those extras for FREE.


First, register your card. That is step one, my friends. With each purchase you make on your registered cards (you can register cards after you’ve used them since it saves your purchase history), you get a star. When you reach five stars, you’ve made it to the green level. This means free syrup and soy milk.

You place your order with any extra syrups or soy and with the swipe of your registered card, the cost of those extras will be automatically dropped.

Yes, free soy.

I can now drink my caramel iced coffees with soy in peace, knowing I didn’t add an extra dollar onto the price. It’s the little things in life, really. You also get free refills on coffee and tea, iced or regular, which is great when you want to park in a coffee shop for a couple of hours.


Once you reach 30 stars, you’ve reached gold level. You get a pretty gold card with your name on it and with every 15 purchases, you get a free drink. You also get a free coffee on your birthday. Yep, totally free. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re working on it!

It helps to use a gift card anyway since we usually find ourselves in a coffee shop at least once a week and we can set a budget and place the money for that on the card.


UPDATE: I realize that Starbucks made the decision to take away free soy and syrup as of October 2012. The syrup, I don’t mind so much. It’s the soy milk that frustrates me. Adam can’t have milk and that’s the main reason we went to Starbucks. Sad. You can find the updated benefits(free drink/food after 12 instead of 15, but nothing much more exciting about that) here

  • I am a proud gold card holder! I have a (horrible, expensive) daily stop at Starbucks, and the baristas don’t even ask me what I get anymore. They just whip up my double tall soy latte right when I walk through the door. I kind of want to kick my habit, but I’m truly addicted. Today, I actually tried something new – the cocoa cappucino. It was pretty yummy, a cross between hot chocolate and an espresso, similar to a mocha but less milky, more foamy. I usually use my free drink card to try something new and I’m glad I did this morning!

  • I had no idea about this little perk for Starbucks gift cards – sweet!

  • I don’t visit Starbucks enough to warrant a card I don’t think, but thanks for the rundown on the perks -I had no idea! when I DO go there, my first choice is an Iced Grande No Classic Green Tea Latte – oooh, so good! :)

  • I like iced white chocolate mochas!

  • Thanks for the tip! I have a Starbucks gift card in my wallet. I’ll have to register it!

  • Jen

    For iced drinks, I like iced soy caramel macchiatos. May be too sweet for some. But for hot drinks, I LOVE toffee nut soy mistos. Similar to a latte. A tall is about $3!

  • So you need to buy a gift card to get started?

  • That’s awesome! Question – when you reach 15 stars to get a free drink, do they just give you a card for your next visit or does it just ring up as free? Been wondering!

  • Yes! They have information about it set out, but sometimes we rush in and out and it’s hard to notice. Had to spread the word. ;)

  • Ooo sounds interesting. What’s the no classic part? Sounds like such a fancy order. ;)

  • YUM!

  • Yes, do it! It’s definitely worth it. :) Plus if it’s lost or stolen, you can get it replaced.

  • I haven’t gotten an iced caramel macchiato in a while since it’s a little pricier, I may have to go with a classic favorite. :)

  • Yes!

  • I’m working on earning my gold card too! My fave is a soy caramel latte – hot or iced.

  • They mail you a card, so make sure you give them your correct address

  • Jessica

    Mocha Frap Light made with black tea instead of coffee…..its amazing.

  • “classic syrup” as they call it – I know I said I don’t go there a lot, I just finally got it in the order they say it :)

  • I’ve just started doing the Starbucks rewards thing too! I wish I would have known about it sooner!

    I usually get a Peppermint Latte (get 1/2 as many pumps, unless you like REALLY strong peppermint) but recently I’ve also been liking the Toffee Nut latte (again, I get less pumps because I prefer my lattes to be not so strong.)

  • Joy

    Soy chai latte with sugar free vanilla – it’s how I earned my gold card ;-)

  • Yes!!! Free soy milk, you are a genuis :)

  • You know I’ve had people ask me if I’ve registered my cards before but I had NO idea that there were so many perks! I might just constantly refill a gift card now instead of paying cash!

    Lately I’ve been a grande soy chai latte :)

  • Thank Starbucks, not me! ;)

  • Do it! That’s what we do. :)

  • totally already on the bandwagon. i’m currently waiting on my free bday drink :)

    i get a venti iced white chocolate mocha with two pumps of toffee nut syrup. omgwow! but on days when i want something a bit more modest i get a tall skinny upside down caramel macchiato. it’s a mouthful but sooo good :)

  • San

    I just recently found out about the little perks of owning a Starbucks card and I just got the birthday free drink postcard in the mail. So awesome!!!

  • Oooh, Starbucks. I have one of the little gift cards attached to my key ring. What easy access! I also have the Starbucks app, which lets you load all of your gift cards onto it and just pay by clicking on the screen of my phone. Pretty cool. I am an addict too…I usually limit myself to one or two a week because I justo don’t need the calories or caffeine. Luckily there isn’t one by my job or my college, or I would be in big trouble. My drink of choice is a tall skinny cinnamon dulce white chocolate mocha. It is a very sweet drink, and most people don’t like it due to the intensity of the sugar. I want coffee now! Why is it the middle of the night?

  • Nice!! Glad you included this in the 7 Links. I had no idea!

  • Registered my card today! Thanks for the tips and pointing it out on your 7 links!!

  • Free syrup as well???
    So this means I can get a vanilla latte with the price of a normal latter?
    I gotta try it for sureeeeeee…….

  • Shawna

    Hey I found your site from google cause I’m trying to figure out if you get a free drink when you reach Gold level or do you have to get another 15 stars before you get one? I can’t seem to find the answer on their website, so I’m guessing no drink until 45 stars which seems like a really long stretch but I guess the free syrups and milks are worth it.

  • Cherie Laaperi

    I cannot find the mini card to put on my key ring–do you still have them? Where in Chicago?

  • I have no idea! I don’t work for Starbucks. :) Sorry I couldn’t help!

  • Mel

    Hi, do you know which teas and iced coffees qualify for free refills during the same visit?

  • Any brewed or iced coffees and teas. You also get free soy and syrup, so if you get a vanilla iced coffee for example, you can get a free refill during the same visit. :) It doesn’t include iced tea lemonades though, just basic iced teas.

  • Jeff

    The free syrup and soy just ended.

  • Yep, I saw that. Lame!

  • Lynda Ghant

    Soy milk is great but i still prefer the old school cows milk since it contains more calcium. “”:’.

    Head to our own website as well