Monday, December 21, 2020

My favourite Starbucks Rewards redemption

We don't cover Starbucks Rewards very often here on Rewards Canada, in fact the last time I wrote about them was when the program was going through changes early in 2019 (read that post here) that were for the most part worse than better. However I've been meaning to write about the program, well more so about my favourite redemption for sometime now and am I finally getting around to it.

As our long time reader Harry B. commented nearly two years ago when we discussed the changes (see the link above) to the Starbucks Rewards program that he is only redeeming 50 points at a time for basic Venti coffee or a bakery item and I am doing the same thing. If you recall the old program had a simple 125 Stars redemption process - that is 125 Stars for basically most food or drink items so it was wise to redeem for the more expensive food items at that time. I would always redeem for a $7-$8 sandwich. However when to program switched to its new redemption format it brought in varying levels of Star requirements:

 So now you have these new redemption levels and that value for sandwiches went out the window. Now going back to what Harry said the redemption that provided and still provides the best value seems to be the 50 point level. For example here is one of my recent redemptions:

I redeemed 50 points for a bakery item that costs $3.25. And as you can see in the screen shot of the redemption a Hot Chocolate that is $1.45 more takes three times the points to redeem for. So do you redeem 150 points for a $4.45 item or use the same amount of points to redeem for three bakery items worth $9.75? That's more than double the value. If you look at it as a per Star value it's 6.5 cents per Star for the bakery item whereas the hot chocolate is 3 cents per Star. That's why this is my favourite redemption! 

Of course everyone is different and Starbucks Rewards may be different for you - perhaps you don't like their bakery items and only get drinks so then of course you'll want to redeem for those. Ultimately there is no bad redemption just varying redemption values and you have to redeem for whatever makes sense for you. If you only buy Venti Lattes and never anything else from Starbucks then redeeming for a Venti Latte is the way to go for you and that would be your favourite redemption. 

What it comes down to is what you see value in - whether it's chasing the most possible value (in my case it is those bakery items) or do you chase the redemption that suits you the best? Neither methodology is wrong but I wanted to use this post to show that not always is the highest point redemption option in a reward program the best option if you are one who chases value.

Finally as always some payment tips! When you pay for your Starbucks purchases (or reload your app) make sure you are utilizing a credit card that has a multiplier for dining/restaurants/fast food/cafes purchases. For example I always use my American Express Cobalt Card to reload my Starbucks app as it earns 5 points per dollar for those reloads. To me that is no less than 5% back when I redeem for travel but in most cases it will be higher than that and then on top of that I am still earning my Starbucks Rewards. Another good option is the Scotiabank Gold American Express card as it also earns 5 points per dollar which with the Scotia Rewards program is a straight 5% return towards any travel.  Also don't forget that TD also has a Starbucks bonus running on their TD Aeroplan cards that offers 50% more miles on all Starbucks purchases until November 2021.

Let us know in the comments section as to what your favourite Starbucks Rewards redemption is, are there ones with even better value and what credit card you use there!

Image via Starbucks

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