Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

Starbucks Rewards Visa Review

overall rating
3

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The Starbucks Rewards Visa is designed for people who spend a lot of time and money at Starbucks. Rewards can be redeemed at participating Starbucks stores in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico for free beverages, food, and merchandise. This card comes with a bonus offer of 6,500 "Stars," after spending $500 in the first three months, and carries a $49 annual fee.

Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card

overall rating
3
Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card
On Chase's Secured Site.

Current Offer:

As a new cardmember, you'll earn 6,500 Bonus Stars when you spend $500 using your Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card anywhere in the first 3 months from account opening.offer details reference link*

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $49
Rewards Earning Rate Earn up to 3 Stars per $1 at Starbucks stores, 1 Star per $2 at grocery stores, local transit and commuting, and internet/cable/phone services, and 1 star per $4 spent outside of Starbucks stores.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all rewards cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

Full Review of Starbucks Rewards Visa Review

Pros
  • Bonus of 6,500 Stars

  • Stars don’t expire as long as you have the account

  • Generous rewards on Starbucks purchases

  • Coupons for special foods and drinks

Cons
  • Rewards can only be redeemed at Starbucks

  • No introductory APR

  • $49 annual fee

Pros Explained

  • Bonus of 6,500 Stars: After you spend $500 anywhere within the first three months, you receive 6,500 Bonus Stars. That’s worth up to $325 in purchases at a Starbucks store, depending on what you redeem your Stars for. By comparison, some other cards, like the Amex Blue Cash Everyday, offer a one-time offer of $200 cash back after spending $1,000. However, that cash back can be used for anything and doesn’t have to be redeemed only in one place.
  • Stars Don't Expire as Long as You Have the Account: Normally, in the regular Starbucks rewards program, Stars expire six months after you earn them. However, if you have a Starbucks Rewards Visa, your rewards won’t expire for as long as the account is open. If you do close the account, though, your Stars will expire in six months.
  • Generous Rewards on Starbucks Purchases: You can receive up to 3 Stars per dollar on Starbucks purchases. First, you get 1 Star per dollar when you use your Starbucks Rewards Visa to digitally reload your Starbucks card (the chain’s rewards program card). Then you can get another 2 Stars per dollar when you use your Starbucks card to pay at a Starbucks store. This two-step process can help you earn rewards faster.
  • Coupons for Special Foods and Drinks: As a Starbucks Rewards Visa cardholder, you’ll receive coupons for eight special food and drink offerings throughout the year. These are called Barista Picks, and they are designed to provide an opportunity to try something new. In addition, you’ll receive a free birthday treat as part of your enrollment in Starbucks Rewards.

Cons Explained

  • Rewards Can Only Be Redeemed at Starbucks: When you earn rewards with this credit card, they can only be redeemed at Starbucks stores for food, drinks, or merchandise. You can’t get cash or redeem for travel, as with many other cards. 
  • No Introductory APR: There is no special introductory APR with the Starbucks Rewards Visa. You won’t receive a low interest rate for purchases or balance transfers.
  • $49 Annual Fee: You'll pay an annual fee to use this card. The $49 isn’t as expensive as some other cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which has a $95 annual fee. However, with the more expensive cards, you generally get additional benefits and more generous rewards. The Starbucks Rewards annual fee, though, is easily justified by the bonus if you normally spend a lot at Starbucks.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Rewards Strategist Persona
    Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
    Rewards Strategist
  • Avatar for Brand Loyalist Persona
    Affinity creates desire for rewards and perks with particular brand
    Brand Loyalist

The Starbucks Rewards Visa is mainly for people who are very loyal to Starbucks and would like to earn free food, drink, and merchandise there. Because rewards can only be redeemed at Starbucks, this card won't work well for anyone who doesn’t frequent the chain. 

Starbucks Rewards Visa Bonus

You can receive 6,500 Bonus Stars after you spend $500 in the first 90 days as a cardholder. That’s worth up to $325 in items at a Starbucks store. Some credit cards, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, offer up to $200 cash back after spending $500 in the first 90 days. However, even though the value of the cash back is lower, it’s possible to redeem that cash back for, well, cash, rather than having to spend it in a specific store.

Rewards Earning Details

It’s important to note that you need to have a Starbucks card to use in tandem with your Starbucks Rewards Visa. If you aren't a member, you’ll be enrolled automatically in the Starbucks rewards program and get a Starbucks card. If you’re already a member, you’ll connect your rewards card to your Visa. Here are the ways that cardholders can earn Stars:

  • Receive 1 Star for every $2 spent on rideshares, public transit, grocery stores, and internet, cable, and phone services.
  • Earn 2 Stars for every $1 spent when using your Starbucks card to pay for purchases in-store.
  • Receive 1 Star for each dollar when you digitally load your Starbucks card using your Starbucks Rewards Visa.
  • Earn 1 Star for every $4 spent everywhere else.

Rewards Redemption Details

Redeeming rewards is fairly straightforward. Your rewards will accumulate on your Starbucks card, which you can then use to pay for items in a participating Starbucks store. Note that not every store participates. The Starbucks Store Locator has a filter feature you can use to search for stores that honor digital rewards.

The redemption schedule is as follows:

  • 25 Stars = One beverage modifier, such as an added espresso shot, syrup, or dairy alternative.
  • 50 Stars = One hot brewed coffee or hot steeped tea, or one bakery item (cookie or cake pop).
  • 150 Stars = Any handcrafted beverage, like a Frappuccino or a latte. It’s also possible to get a hot breakfast item or a packaged snack item.
  • 200 Stars = A packaged lunch sandwich, protein box, or salad.
  • 400 Stars = One packaged coffee item or a merchandise worth up to $20.

Bear in mind that the cash value of these rewards can vary, based on the prices charged in individual stores and on the type of item. For example, if a shot of espresso costs $1 in your local store, one Star is worth four cents when you redeem 25 of them for that shot. If you redeem 400 Stars for an item that costs $20, each Star is worth five cents. But if you want a bag of coffee that normally costs $15, you’ll still have to redeem 400 Stars—and each Star will only be worth 3.75 cents.

Transferring Points

There is no points transfer program with the Starbucks Rewards Visa. You must redeem your rewards at participating Starbucks locations.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

The best way to maximize your rewards is to plan to use your Starbucks Rewards Visa for as many regular purchases as possible and then redeem the accumulated Stars for things you normally get at Starbucks.

For example, the average person spends $4,464 on groceries each year. By using the Starbucks Rewards Visa for those purchases, you could get 2,232 Stars per year. That translates to about 45 hot brewed coffees.

Starbucks Reward Visa's Outstanding Benefits

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Extra treats throughout the year in the form of Barista Picks                                                               

Standard Benefits

  • $0 fraud liability
  • Secondary auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection

Cardholder Experience

The Starbucks Rewards Visa is issued by JP Morgan Chase Bank, which scored 807 out of 1,000 in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. That score is in line with the national average of 806.

Starbucks offers a mobile app for its digital Starbucks card, which can be used to make payments in-store and also to order ahead. The app has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 on Google Play and 4.8 out of 5 in the Apple Store.

Security Features

Because this card is a Visa, it comes with the security features expected from a Visa. This includes $0 liability for fraudulent purchases, as well as emergency card replacement if your card is lost or stolen.

Our Verdict

The Starbucks Rewards Visa is a fine card for loyal Starbucks customers who want to redeem their rewards for free drinks and other items. In general, however, the card is mediocre, with limited redemption options and a $49 annual fee. 

For people who would like to earn tiered (and flexible) cash back rewards, the Amex Blue Cash Everyday offers a chance to earn more each year—with no annual fee. And you can always spend that cash at Starbucks if you so desire.

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For Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card
on Chase's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card
overall rating
3
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $49
Rewards Earning Rate Earn up to 3 Stars per $1 at Starbucks stores, 1 Star per $2 at grocery stores, local transit and commuting, and internet/cable/phone services, and 1 star per $4 spent outside of Starbucks stores.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.