clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Racked Mailbag: Starbucks Cards Not So Rewarding

New, 4 comments

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Once in a while, we pull letters from the Racked Inbox and post them for your enjoyment and/or enlightenment. Want to contribute? We're listening. Anonymity always assured.

Those Starbucks pre-paid cards you can purchase at the counter sound like a nice deal: you pay ahead for your coffee and get perks like free refills and gratis shots of syrup in your drink. On paper, it looks good. But what if Starbucks can't ensure that you'll actually receive those perks? To the customer service department we go, as a Racked reader emails his exchange with the coffee chain:

I started to use a Starbucks pre-paid card when i saw your promotion that when a purchase is made with a registered card, syrups would be free. After looking at the transaction history on my card, only one time was the syrup free, that was the transaction on 04/17/2008 for $3.92. All the others i was charged the full price. It's not that big of a deal, its a matter of Starbucks advertising one thing but actually not delivering. Has this promotion been terminated? If not, what is the issue? One would think with sales slowing down and the stock price at half of what it was, something like this for loyal customers would work properly.

Their response:

Thank you for taking the time to contact Your questions and comments are valuable to us.

We apologize for the inconvenience you experienced with our Starbucks Card Rewards Program. Please know we are currently reaching out to store partners to make sure they have the resources they need to provide discounts consistently to all eligible customers. In addition to partner education, we are also working to make it easier for partners to ring up your purchase correctly at the point of sale.

While we expect these measures will significantly minimize future errors, we will continue to escalate any incidents to the appropriate store and field personnel.
Translation: check those receipts carefully.
· Starbucks Card []