The Chase Starbucks Rewards Visa Credit Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 4,800 Starbucks Stars, 8 “Barista Picks” each year, and it earns 1 Star per dollar spent at Starbucks.
The disadvantages of the Starbucks Visa are the $49 annual fee and the value for your spending in other places.
Starbucks Card Information
Application Link: Chase Starbucks Rewards Visa Card.
Current Sign Up Bonus: 4,500 Starbucks Stars after $500 in spending in the first three months plus 300 Bonus Stars instantly when you use your card to digitally load your Starbucks (gift) Card in the Starbucks App.
- The sign-up bonus is worth 136 cups of coffee or 45 espresso drinks or 34 lunch items.
Recommended Bonus: At least 6,500 Starbucks Stars.
Annual Fee: $49.
- 1 Star per $1 when digitally loading your Starbucks (Gift) Card in the Starbucks App. (Chase mentions 3 Stars per $1 spent, but 1 Star comes from this Visa card and 2 Stars are the normal rate for Starbucks Green and Gold Members)
- 1 Star per $2 spent at grocery stores.
- 1 Star per $2 spent at local transit and commuting.
- 1 Star per $2 spent at internet, cable, and phone services.
- 1 Star per $4 spent everywhere else.
Card Benefits at Starbucks
Gold Status– Cardmembers get Starbucks Gold status, which gets you all of the Green benefits below plus a Reward every 125 Stars and Monthly Double Star days.
8 Barista Picks Per Year– Starbucks will load eight “Barista Picks” throughout your cardmember year into your Starbucks Rewards account eight coupons. These coupons should come every 6-7 weeks and will expire within 30 days. Previous “Barista Picks” have included sandwiches and espresso drinks.
Stars Don’t Expire– Stars typically expire 6 months after earning them, but any Starbucks Stars earned with this card will not expire as long as the card is open. (Star earned through the Starbucks App still expire normally after 6 months.)
Travel and Purchase Protections
Rental Car Insurance– The Starbucks card comes with rental car insurance when you pay for the rental car using your card. The coverage is secondary in the United States and primary outside of the United States. Primary Insurance pays before your insurance, but secondary insurance only pays for what your insurance doesn’t cover.
Purchase Protection– This benefit covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance– This coverage reimburses you up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for pre-paid and non-refundable travel expenses if your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, injury, severe weather, or other covered situations.
Extended Warranty– This benefit extends the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less.
Doing the Math: Redeeming Starbucks Stars
The Starbucks card is unique in that you earn Stars instead of cashback or points. To come up with a value of a Starbucks Star, we looked at the price of menu items and calculated a “Cents per Star” or CPS. This helps you calculate the return on your spending to compare it to other cashback or points cards.
25 Stars for a drink customization, such as an extra shot of espresso or a dairy substitute.
- Extra Shot of Espresso = $0.90 (CPS = 3.6)
50 Stars for a brewed hot coffee, bakery item, or hot tea.
- Venti Coffee = $2.65 (CPS = 5.3).
- Almond Croissant = $3.25 (CPS = 6.5).
150 Stars for a handcrafted drink, hot breakfast, or parfait.
- Venti Latte = $4.45 (CPS = 3.0).
- Bacon, Sausage & Egg Wrap = $5.45 (CPS = 3.6).
200 Stars for a lunch sandwich, protein box, or salad.
- Chipotle Chicken Wrap = $7.95 (CPS = 4.0).
- Chicken Quinoa Protein Bowl = $8.45 (CPS = 4.2).
400 Stars for a bag of coffee, a signature cup, or select coffee accessories.
- Bag of Coffee = $13.95 (CPS = 3.5).
- The signup bonus is worth $238.
- Your spending is worth a 3.5% return at Starbucks; 1.75% return at grocery stores, local transit, and internet/cable/phone; and 0.88% return everywhere else.
If you value Starbucks Stars at 5.0 cents per star:
- The sign-up bonus is worth $340.
- Your spending is worth a 5% return at Starbucks, 2.5% return at grocery stores, local transit, and internet/cable/phone; and 1.25% return everywhere else.
Advantages of the Starbucks Card
Good Return at Starbucks– You can earn the equivalent value of 3.5% to 5% cashback when spending money at Starbucks, which is good for those frequent Starbucks fans.
Decent Sign-Up Bonus– The sign-up bonus is worth between $238 and $340 based on how you redeem your Stars. While it is not as good as the $750 bonus you would get with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, it is pretty decent for Starbucks lovers.
Disadvantages of the Starbucks Card
Foreign Transaction Fees– If you use your Starbucks card outside the U.S., you will incur a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Chase 5/24 Rule– The Chase 5/24 Rule means that you will be automatically denied for the Starbucks card if you have opened 5 or more cards in the last 24 months, even if you have perfect credit. This also means that when you open this card, you forgo a potential bonus on a higher value Chase credit card such as the Chase Hyatt, the United Explorer, or the Sapphire Reserve.
1% Return Most Places– The Starbucks Visa provides you with the equivalent of about 1% cashback when you use your card for one of the non-bonus categories such as on travel, Target, Walmart, Costco, restaurants, etc. A 1% return is no competitive when many no annual fee cards give you 2% cashback such as the Citi DoubleCash or 1.5x points with Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Annual Fee– The Starbucks Visa has a $49 annual fee, so we will need to look for value in the card to see if it justifies paying it on an annual basis. You get eight “Barista Picks” each year, which are likely worth about $4 each. That provides $32 in value.
The Starbucks Visa provides Gold status, but most people interested in this card likely have Gold Status through frequent trips to Starbucks or a promotion.
The remaining $17 in value ($49-32) must come from the travel and purchase protections. However, most of the spending on travel and other purchases earn only about a 1% return for your spending. You could have the same travel and purchase protections plus 5x points in rotating categories with no annual fee with the Chase Freedom card.
The Chase Starbucks Visa card can be a pretty good deal for Starbucks super fans, but for most people, the card is not worth the $49 annual fee.