Starbucks Unveils Prepaid Alternative to Its Rewards Credit Card
A few months ago, Starbucks announced it was launching a new rewards credit card that would keep you swimming in stars. Okay, for those who don’t speak Starbucks, that means the card offers a ton of free drink opportunities that made it attractive to coffee fiends everywhere. Unfortunately, that card came with some major caveats, not the least of which was the $49 annual fee. Cut to this week as Starbucks has another new card to present — and this one comes fee-free.
In partnership with Chase, Starbucks has just unveiled the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card. That’s right — this isn’t a credit card, it’s a debit card. While it might not offer the same level of Starbucks savings as the regular Rewards Visa, there are some notable perks to this prepaid card that may actually be worth paying attention to.
First off, as mentioned, there’s no fee to use this prepaid card. Not only does that mean no annual fee (or monthly fee) but also means no per-use fee like some prepaid cards may charge. That said, unlike most debit cards and despite the Chase branding, you won’t be able to use your Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card to get cash at an ATM.
As for the big benefits, the first is that cardholders receive automatic Gold status at Starbucks. This means you can skip the 300-star requirement and get straight to earning free food and beverages. Being Gold will also make you eligible for various promotions like Starbucks Bingo, Double Stars Days, and the Starbucks Happy Hours that have been taking place over the past few weeks. On top of that, when you load your first $10 from the prepaid card to your Starbucks card, you’ll earn 125 bonus stars — equal to one free drink or item.
Like with the Starbucks Rewards Visa, the prepaid version also allows you to earn stars wherever you shop… although to a much lesser degree. With the prepaid card, you’ll earn one star for every $10 you spend outside of Starbucks. That means you’d have to spend $1,250 on your prepaid card just to obtain the stars necessary to nab a free beverage. Of course, you do still earn your two stars per dollar spent at Starbucks, which could help bring that insane ratio down considerably.
So is this new Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card worth it? In short, maybe. If you’re somehow not already a Starbucks Gold Cardholder but shop there with any frequency, getting automatic status is a great thing. And while the additional star earnings are pretty paltry, it’s at least something for those who may not have a proper rewards credit card. Plus, since this isn’t a credit card, there seems to be little harm in applying and holding the card even if you don’t end up using it all that often. With all that considered, I’d at least recommend this new prepaid card over the regular Starbucks Rewards Visa and would say it may be worth looking into as a way to subsidize your coffee habit (P.S. — you can find more info on the card and apply for it here).