We all love Starbucks because they have decent coffee, offer a nice place to work or hang out, and even provide free refills. Wait, what? Does Starbucks offer free refills?
Starbucks free refills are part of the Starbucks Rewards program that allows its members free and unlimited Starbucks refills at participating stores. However, you must purchase a barista-made drink using your Starbucks app or card to qualify for the refill.
Read on to learn more about how to get free Starbucks refills and other benefits of the Starbucks Rewards program.
What are Starbucks’ free refills?
As the premier coffee house in the United States, Starbucks is always looking for ways to cement its place as an integral part of American culture.
When you think about it, some of Starbucks’ competitors provide arguably better products at lower prices, yet this world-renowned coffee house remains the brand of choice for most people. How does Starbucks achieve that feat?
It is through ingenious marketing techniques, such as providing free Starbucks refills.
The concept is simple; providing its customers with free refills ensures that its stores are always packed full of people, signaling to the rest of the population that the quality must be exemplary, thus attracting even more people.
That is why you cannot get a refill if you leave the store for whatever reason. More on this later.
Nevertheless, Starbucks refills are also beneficial to customers since they allow you to spend all the time you want at Starbucks without spending more than a few bucks.
Therefore, they offer a win-win scenario for Starbucks and its customers.
If you want to learn more about why Starbucks is so popular, check out this in-depth guide.
How do Starbucks refills work?
As mentioned, Starbucks’ free refills are part of the Starbucks Rewards Program that incentivizes customers to make purchases using the Starbucks mobile app or Starbucks card.
As such, you must be a member of the Starbucks Rewards Program to be eligible for free refills. Fortunately, subscribing to this membership is free, meaning there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do it.
Nonetheless, you must purchase your drink using the Starbucks mobile app or card to be eligible for free refills, regardless of whether you are a member or not.
If you insist on paying using cash for your first drink, you can get refills at a discounted price.
It is worth noting that not all Starbucks stores offer free refills; this program is only eligible at participating stores.
Therefore, confirm whether a Starbucks shop offers free refills before making your first order and expecting the rest to be on the house.
Needless to say, you cannot get Starbucks refills at drive-thrus. That is because you can’t hang around a drive-thru, and the program stipulates that you must stay in a store to score refills.
Talking of not leaving the store, the Starbucks free refills policy has a clause that prevents you from getting a free refill once you leave the premises.
For instance, let’s assume you bought a drink using your Starbucks app or card. That means you should be eligible for unlimited refills.
However, if you step outside even for just a few seconds, you will have to buy another barista-made drink to continue getting refills.
That is because Starbucks considers your visit over once you exit the premises, the reason notwithstanding.
What do you get when you ask for a Starbucks free refill?
Before we get into what you can score when you ask for a refill, let us first look at the type of drink you must purchase to be eligible for a refill.
As mentioned, you need to buy a barista-made drink to score refills. That means it must be handcrafted by a Starbucks barista.
As such, beverages such as sodas, juices, and bottled water cannot get you refills. You can learn more about Starbucks’ handcrafted drinks in this article.
Nevertheless, regardless of the handcrafted beverage you bought, Starbucks only offers the following drinks during refills:
- Brewed coffee – can be hot or iced (includes cold brew)
- Brewed tea – can also be hot or iced but shouldn’t include lemonade
Therefore, that means if you order a Frappuccino, do not expect unlimited Frappuccino refills; instead, you’ll get all the brewed coffee or tea you want.
While you might be bummed out to discover that Starbucks’ free refills consist only of “basic” drinks, it does make sense from a profit perspective.
If Starbucks were to provide free refills for all custom beverages, the company would go out of business since such drinks take lots of time, expertise, and money to curate.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go to Starbucks and spend tens of dollars on your favorite beverage.
Consider reading my article on how to make a mean Frappuccino at home and then score unlimited free refills at Starbucks by spending only a few bucks on one drink.
Besides, the brewed coffee Starbucks offers for refills is exceptionally good. Its stellar quality results from the coffee being always fresh since it is constantly being brewed due to the high demand for refills.
Moreover, it is against Starbucks’ policy to serve coffee that has sat for more than 30 minutes.
Other benefits of the Starbucks Rewards program
The Starbucks Rewards program offers you more than just basic drink refills. This program uses a star system that awards stars for every dollar you spend in Starbucks.
You will earn 2 stars for every dollar when you pay via the Starbucks app and 3 stars if you pay using Starbucks’ visa card. You can then cash in on rewards depending on your accumulated stars.
The rewards range from free drink customization with as little as 25 stars to free hand-crafted beverages, bakery items, and Starbucks merchandise when you accumulate more than 150 stars.
You can learn more about the best ways to earn stars at Starbucks by reading this in-depth article!
Starbucks’ free refills are yet another testament to this coffee house’s dedication to pleasing its customers.
The beauty of it all is that there’s no hidden agenda; simply enroll in the Starbucks Rewards program to enjoy unlimited refills of freshly-brewed coffee or tea.
However, remember to ask whether a Starbucks store offers free refills, as not all establishments participate in the program.