At Experian, one of our priorities is consumer credit and finance education. This post may contain links and references to one or more of our partners, but we provide an objective view to help you make the best decisions. For more information, see our Editorial Policy.
In this article:
If you start every day with Starbucks, the Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card, which earns Starbucks-specific rewards, may sound appealing. Given its annual fee and low rewards rates, however, even Frappuccino fanatics may find other rewards cards a better value. Learn more about the Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card and alternatives to consider.
Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Credit Card Features
If you're considering this credit card, it's likely you're looking for perks to help support your coffee habit. Cardholders are automatically enrolled in the Starbucks Rewards program (if you're already enrolled, your accounts are linked). Using the card earns "Stars" redeemable at participating Starbucks locations for food, non-alcoholic drinks or merchandise:
- 25 Stars for drink customization, such as an espresso shot or dairy substitute
- 50 Stars for a brewed hot coffee, bakery item or hot tea
- 150 Stars for a handcrafted drink, hot breakfast or parfait
- 200 Stars for a lunch sandwich, protein box or salad
- 400 Stars for a bag of coffee, a signature cup or select accessories
You can use the Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card to digitally load money onto your registered physical or digital Starbucks Card and earn 1 Star per $1; pay with the card at Starbucks and earn 2 Stars per $1 spent. You'll also get 1 Star per $2 spent at grocery stores; on local transit and commuting; and on internet, cable and phone services—and 1 Star per $4 spent everywhere else.
New cardholders earn 4,500 Bonus Stars for spending $500 in the first 3 months from account opening and 300 Bonus Stars the first time the new Visa card is used to add money to your Starbucks Card. Starbucks will also email you one coupon per month for free handcrafted beverages throughout 2021; each is worth $10 or less and good for 14 days.
Is the Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card Worthwhile?
Starbucks perks aren't the only benefits this card offers. Other valuable features include rental car insurance, travel and roadside emergency assistance, and trip cancellation/interruption insurance. You'll also enjoy purchase protection against damage or theft for 120 days for new purchases with the card, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account, plus extended warranty protection for an additional year on U.S. manufacturers' warranties of three years or less. However, other cards offer these rewards without the $49 annual fee you pay after your first year as a Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card cardholder.
Depending on the payment method, Starbucks Rewards members earn 1 to 2 Stars per $1 spent at Starbucks, even without the Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card. Using the Visa card to load and pay with your Starbucks card earns a total of 3 Stars per $1; buy with the actual Visa card in non-rewards categories, and you'll only earn 1 Star per $4.
The dollar value of Stars depends on prices at your local Starbucks and what you redeem Stars for. In general, you'll get the most value by redeeming Stars for 50-point items and choosing the more expensive options within the category. For example, in the 50-point category, a $2.45 Venti brewed hot coffee nets a value of 5 cents per Star. In the 150-point category, a Venti Caramel Frappucino at $4.95 nets a value of 3 cents per Star, while a Blueberry Oatmeal at $3.45 nets a value of just 2 cents per Star.
Other Rewards Cards to Consider
The Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card's rewards can offset its ongoing annual fee and pay for some of your coffee, but other cards may be a better value. Here are three annual fee-free cards with more rewards and perks.
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
If you eat out often, consider the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. Its straightforward rewards system has no rotating categories to monitor or activate. Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment (including some streaming services), 3% at grocery stores excluding Target and Walmart, 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023, and 1% on all other purchases.
Like the Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card, this card includes rental car insurance and roadside assistance, but unlike the Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card, there's no foreign transaction fee on purchases when you go abroad. You won't get purchase protection, but you do receive extended warranty protection on qualifying purchases, plus virtual card numbers for more secure online shopping.
The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card has other benefits too. Receive a one-time $200 cash bonus for spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Enjoy 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months after account opening; after that, the APR is 15.49% to 25.49% variable.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ gives you 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate; 2021 categories include gas stations; home improvement stores; wholesale clubs and internet, cable and phone services. You'll also earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. Spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening, and earn a $200 bonus.
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers the same extended warranty and purchase protection, rental car insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and travel and emergency assistance as the Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card (although there's a 3% foreign transaction fee). There are other benefits as well. Pay your cellphone bill with the card and get protection against covered theft or damage, up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year. Get three complimentary months of DashPass delivery service when you activate by December 21, 2021; 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022 and a $10 Lyft credit each month for every five rides per month; a free ShopRunner membership for two-day shipping from many online retailers; and discounts on Fandango movie tickets.
The introductory 0% APR on purchases for 15 months after opening your account can help you save on interest; after that, the variable APR is 14.99% to 23.74%.
Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer Offer
If it's simplicity you seek, check out the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer from our partner. Earn 2% cash back on every purchase—1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it. There are no bonus categories to remember or activate, or limits on points earned. Redeem rewards as a check, statement credit or Citi ThankYou Points, or transfer to qualifying savings or checking accounts.
This card lacks the travel, warranty and purchase protection perks of the Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card, but it offers a lengthy 18-month introductory 0.00% APR on balance transfers (after that, the variable APR is 13.99% to 23.99%). Balance transfers must be made within four months of account opening. Transfers incur a balance transfer fee of 3% ($5 minimum); interest accrues on your purchases unless you pay the whole balance, including balance transfers, by the monthly due date.
The card features contactless pay, works with a digital wallet and includes special event access through Citi Entertainment.
A Whole "Latte" Rewards
There are better ways than the Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card to finance your coffee habit. Apply for one of the other rewards cards above, and you could earn cash back to cover lots of lattes—without an annual fee.
Whenever you're applying for a credit card, check your credit score first to see if you're likely to be approved for the card you want. Visit Experian CreditMatch™ to match with cards you may qualify for based on your credit profile.
All information about the Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card has been collected independently by Experian and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card.