Starbucks and Chase have teamed up on a new credit card, the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card, that allows cardholders to increase the rewards they receive in the Starbucks Rewards program. Is this new Starbucks credit card for you? Read on…

Annual Fee

Before we look at the features of the Starbucks Visa, it makes sense to discuss the fact that this card has a $49 annual fee. We find this surprising, because we think the card offers less than many other credit cards on the market that do not charge annual fees. Starbucks and Chase are chasing away potential customers with that fee — is it intentional, to narrow the cardholder community to only the most rabid Starbucks fans, or is it just poorly thought out?

Earning “Stars”

The Starbucks Rewards program already allows you to earn 2 “Stars” (points) for every dollar you spend at Starbucks. This is important to note, because the Starbucks Visa offers points in addition to that, something that might not be clear if you’re new to the program.

What are those additional points? You’ll earn:

  • 1 extra Star for every $1 you digitally load to your registered Starbucks Card on the Starbucks app with your Starbucks Visa. So, you have to use the Visa to load money on to the regular Starbucks Rewards Card and then pay with the Starbucks Rewards Card via the mobile app in order to get that extra star per dollar. Seems needlessly confusing, but that’s the situation.
  • 1 extra Star for ever $4 in purchases made with the card outside of Starbucks. Remember, this is a Visa, so it’s accepted anywhere Visa credit cards are accepted — i.e., pretty much everywhere.

Gold Status

Starbucks Visa cardholders automatically get Gold status within the Starbucks Rewards program, meaning you are eligible to earn a free Starbucks drink or food item for every 125 Stars that you earn. If you already have Gold status as a regular Starbucks customer, this perk means little to you. (The program also has a lower Green status that makes you spend more money to get to the Gold tier. With this card, you’re already there.)

Bonus Opportunity

If you use the Starbucks Visa for at least $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of having it, you’ll earn an extra 2500 Stars, which equals 20 free Starbucks drinks or food items. While the exact worth of those 20 free items will vary based on what you choose, let’s assume that means you’re getting about $100 in free bonus Starbucks drinks/food if you hit the spending threshold. (This also tells us that Starbucks values each Star at about 4 cents, as 125 Stars will get you a $5 drink.)

Barista Picks

In addition to the other rewards, Starbucks Visa credit card holders will get 8 annual Barista Picks offers. These are free Starbucks drinks or food chosen by Starbucks. They might be specific drinks/food that Starbucks wants you to try off their menu, or just a random selection. Either way, Starbucks does the choosing, but you’ll get 8 different freebies as a cardholder.

Bottom Line

As you’ll see at the top of this review, we give the new Starbucks credit card 2.5 stars (not to be confused with Starbucks Stars). While this card offers some nice freebies and rewards for the hardcore Starbucks customer, it only marginally adds to the core Starbucks rewards program. Once you add on the $49 annual fee, the value becomes even more questionable. We like the one-time bonus opportunity and the Barista Picks, but, overall, only the most smitten Starbucks customer will feel this is a good value in comparison to other rewards cards they might choose, especially considering many others have no annual fee.