Starbucks Rewards Visa Card Review

Disclosure: We are committed to recommending the best products for our readers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to products, but this never affects our reviews or recommendations.

You might be a good fit for the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card (issued by Chase) if you’re a pot-a-day coffee drinker. It’ll take someone with that sort of drive to put up with this card’s clunky rewards system. But for those who do, the card offers amped up rewards-earning possibilities with every perk-up purchase.

Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card

overall rating
3.8
Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $49
Rewards Earning Rate Earn up to 3 Stars per $1 at Starbucks stores, 1 Star per $2 at grocery stores, local transit and commuting, and internet/cable/phone services, and 1 star per $4 spent outside of Starbucks stores.
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.9
for Fees
3.6
for Rewards
3.9
for Credit
4.0

As a new cardmember, you'll earn 6,500 Bonus Stars when you spend $500 using your Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card anywhere in the first 3 months from account opening.offer details reference link*

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Savvy Saver Persona
    Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need
    Savvy Saver
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
    Deal Seeker

We recommend this card if you already spend a lot of money at Starbucks every month and can benefit from the strong rewards earning potential. Otherwise, it’s not worth it—the rewards system is too awkward and the card itself is too expensive. 

With that in mind, we’d encourage you to consider your other credit card options as well. There are many dining rewards cards available that are easier to deal with, don’t pigeonhole you into one coffee chain, and don’t come with an annual fee.

Pros

  • Good sign-up bonus

  • Good rewards earning rate for Starbucks purchases

  • Free “Barista Picks” items

Cons

  • Annual fee

  • Clunky rewards program

Pros Explained

  • Good sign-up bonus: You’ll get 6,500 Bonus Stars if you spend at least $500 within the first three months of getting the card. That’s enough Stars to buy 43 lattes. 
  • Good rewards earning rate for Starbucks purchases: Coffee prices vary regionally, even at Starbucks, but depending on what you redeem your Stars for, they can be worth as much as 5 cents each. Because you earn 3 Stars per $1 spent, that’s as much as 15% back on your purchases. Plus, Stars never expire as long as your account is open.
  • Free “Barista Picks”: Your rewards account will be loaded with a coupon every six weeks for a Barista Pick, a free, pre-chosen food or drink item. 

Cons Explained

  • Annual fee: The Starbucks Rewards Visa Card doesn’t charge a super high annual fee, but it is unusual to see an annual fee at all for this kind of card. By comparison, many dining rewards cards and most retailer-specific cards don’t charge an annual fee
  • Clunky rewards program: You’ll need to digitally load money from your Starbucks Rewards Visa Card into your Starbucks rewards account and use this for payment in order to earn the most Stars. And once you earn Stars you can only use them for Starbucks purchases. 

Starbucks Rewards Visa Card’s Sign-Up Bonus

You can earn 6,500 Bonus Stars if you spend at least $500 within the first three months after getting this card. Despite the name of this card, you don’t have to use it just at Starbucks, so this spending threshold should be attainable for most cardholders. 

You can also earn another 300 bonus Stars the first time you use your Starbucks Rewards Visa Card to add money into your Starbucks account for making purchases. There isn’t an expiration date for earning this bonus, but you’ll want to do it before you start spending at Starbucks again because you earn a Star for every $1 you add to your account, bringing your earnings up to 3 Stars per $1 spent at Starbucks.

This is a decent sign-up bonus especially if you’re a true Starbucks fan. That’s enough Stars to purchase up to 43 lattes, 130 cups of brewed coffee, or 16 bags of whole-bean coffee. Prices vary for this stuff, but 6,500 stars works out to about $150 of value. 

Still, you might be able to earn a better sign-up bonus with another dining rewards card, or at the very least you can earn a sign-up bonus that you can use anywhere rather than at one brand of coffee shop.

Earning Points & Rewards

Earning the maximum number of Stars possible with the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card is … complicated. Unlike with most store credit cards, you can’t earn the maximum number of Stars simply by swiping your Starbucks credit card when you make Starbucks purchases. 

Nope—instead, you first have to load funds from your Starbucks Rewards Visa Card onto your Starbucks account. You’ll get 1 Star per each dollar you load into your Starbucks account, and then you’ll earn another 2 Stars for each dollar you spend at Starbucks using the funds in your Starbucks account. 

In other words, the best way to earn Stars with this card is to use it to load funds into your Starbucks rewards account. 

Make sure you load money into your Starbucks account online or by using the app, rather than asking a barista at the counter to do it. Otherwise, you’ll only earn 1 Star for every $4 you load onto your card—a much lower rewards earning rate.

You can also earn Stars by using your card to make purchases at other stores. You’ll earn 1 Star for every $2 you spend at supermarkets, for local transportation, and on internet, cable, or phone bills. All other purchases you make will earn 1 Star per every $4 you spend. 

On the bright side, your Stars won’t expire while your credit card is open. If you close it, all the Stars you’ve accumulated will expire within six months. 

Redeeming Rewards

Although earning Starbucks rewards is tricky, actually using them is blessedly simple. Once you’ve accumulated enough Stars for a reward, you can simply ask the barista to apply them as payment for your purchase. 

Each reward costs a different number of Star points:

  • 25 Stars for a drink modification, like an extra shot or sauce
  • 50 Stars for hot brewed coffee or tea, or a bakery item
  • 150 Stars for a handcrafted drink such as a latte or mocha, a pre-packaged snack, or a hot breakfast item
  • 200 Stars for a pre-packaged salad or lunch item
  • 400 Stars for a bag of coffee beans or an item up to $20 in value

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

You can get the most value from this card by using it to load a balance into your Starbucks account, rather than using the credit card itself to pay for Starbucks purchases.

You’ll get the best value for your Stars, as much as 5 cents each, if you spend them on bigger ticket items up to $20 in value, such as bags of coffee, per the list of redemption options above. With rewards cards, you want to aim for a redemption value of at least 1 cent per point, so this is a superior value. 

It’s also possible to earn Star points by using your card to make purchases elsewhere, but honestly the earnings rate is meager and you’d be better off using another type of rewards card instead. For example, consider this: You’d need to spend as much as $600 in order to earn enough Star points to purchase one latte. If you used a rewards card that earns 2% cash back on every purchase you make, you’d only have to spend about $150 to earn enough cash back to buy that same latte.

Starbucks Rewards Visa Card’s Excellent Perks

Although this card is meant to help you get your caffeine fix, it does come with one particularly good travel perk the editors at The Balance consider “excellent”:

  • Insurance coverage for trip cancellation, interruption, or delay: If you get sick or your trip is otherwise cancelled for reasons outside of your control, you could be reimbursed for up to $1,500 per person (up to $6,000 per trip) if you paid for the trip with this card. 

Starbucks Rewards Visa Card’s Other Features

  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
  • Extended warranties
  • Travel and emergency hotline
  • Roadside assistance hotline

Customer Experience

Chase is about average when it comes to customer satisfaction, according to a 2019 J.D. Power study, scoring 807 out of 1,000 possible points (industry average was 806), and ranking fourth out of 11 major credit card issuers. You can call Chase’s 24/7 customer service line if you need help, and as with other big banks, there’s an app and online access to your account. Chase also offers a free VantageScore credit score and credit monitoring alerts through its Chase Credit Journey service. 

Security Features

Chase offers industry standard security features including account monitoring and alerts, and zero liability for fraudulent purchases.

Starbucks Rewards Visa Card’s Fees

The Starbucks Rewards Visa Card doesn’t charge any fees that we think are out of line compared with its competitors. Still, there’s an annual fee to be aware of and be careful if you use this card overseas because there’s also a 3% foreign transaction fee.

For Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card

Compare This Card

See how this card stacks up to the competition
CURRENT CARD
Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card
overall rating
3.8
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $49
Rewards Earning Rate Earn up to 3 Stars per $1 at Starbucks stores, 1 Star per $2 at grocery stores, local transit and commuting, and internet/cable/phone services, and 1 star per $4 spent outside of Starbucks stores.

Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.