The Starbucks Rewards program offers another way to spend your savings on avocado toast

By Tim Nelson
Updated February 13, 2018
EC: Starbucks’ Credit Card Is a New Way to Go Into Debt
Credit: Image courtesy Starbucks

Are you enrolled in the Starbucks Rewards program but tired of the whole “having to use real money to pay” thing? Want a hip new way to feel anxious about your credit score through a combination of caffeine and poor financial planning? Well you’re in luck!

In an effort to boost flagging sales, Starbucks just announced plans for a new credit card in partnership with J.P. Morgan Chase, the “Starbucks Reward Visa Card." Once it launches later this year, cardholders will be automatically enrolled in the coffee chain’s existing loyalty program. They’ll earn “Stars”, like Super Mario hopped up on frappuccinos, which function as reward points that can be redeemed at 8,000 Starbucks locations across the country.

Cardholders will have both the physical piece of plastic, as well as a digital version that lives within Starbucks’ existing rewards app. And in an effort to get this thing off the ground, Starbucks Rewards Visa cardholders can get some extra special perks. Those include 2,500 “stars” if you spend $500 in the first three months, one Star for every $4 in non-Starbucks purchases, and eight free foods or beverages a year, which aren’t really free when you consider the $49 in annual fees. Like with the app, unused Stars will expire in six months.

At a time when the Seattle coffee company’s sales growth has failed to meet analyst expectations, the credit card is both a branding exercise (the Starbucks logo, right in your wallet!) and an effort to increase revenue by incentivizing loyalty. By giving people more waus t earn points (sorry, Stars), the more likely they are to visit a Starbucks. “It’s important to us to make earning rewards as easy for our customers as possible,” Starbucks Chief Strategy Officer/ not the Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan told USA Today. “The Starbucks Rewards Visa Card is a powerful tool for us to do that because of how easily it fits into their daily lives.”

For people whose daily routine already revolves around Starbucks, it sounds like a decent way to get more bang for your buck on purchases you were already going to make anyway. For the rest of us, maybe brewing coffee at home and stuffing cash under the mattress is the way to go.