December 1, 2022

Coffee Ordering

Devoted To Marvelous Coffee

Which Program Earns More Free Coffee?

Which Program Earns More Free Coffee?

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Which program reigns supreme?


Key points

  • Loyalty programs are a great way to earn freebies from your favorite brands.
  • If you’re a coffee drinker, you may want to join the Starbucks Rewards or Dunkin’ Rewards programs.
  • Find out which rewards program offers more opportunities to earn free coffee.

Loyalty programs can be an excellent way for consumers to earn freebies while supporting their favorite brands. If you’re a coffee drinker, your go-to coffee place might be Starbucks or Dunkin’. Both companies have a free loyalty program.

Dunkin’ has recently been in the news due to its newly updated rewards program. Some feel the new program changes are negative — especially for loyalists that use their rewards to earn free coffee. But are the changes all bad news? Maybe not.

As you read about the Dunkin’ Rewards program changes, you may wonder which program is better — Starbucks Rewards or Dunkin’ Rewards. Let’s take a look at how to use these rewards programs to earn free coffee and compare the differences between both.

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Starbucks Rewards: how to earn free coffee

The Starbucks Rewards program is free to join. How many rewards (stars) you earn depends on how you pay for your order.

If you pay with a credit or debit card, you’ll earn one star for every $1. Using a Starbucks gift card, you’ll earn two stars for every $1. You can easily buy a virtual gift card with a credit card in the app. You can redeem your stars for freebies.

How many stars you need for a redemption depends on what you want to drink.

  • You can get a free brewed coffee for 50 stars.
  • You can get a free handcrafted beverage, like a latte, for 150 stars.

Here’s what you’ll need to spend to earn free drinks through this program:

Drink of choice Paying with a credit card or debit card Paying with a Starbucks gift card
Free brewed coffee $50 $25
Free handcrafted beverage $150 $75

Birthday freebies: Starbucks rewards members receive an annual free birthday drink (any type of drink). It’s worth noting that the offer is only valid on your actual birthday.

Dunkin’ Rewards: how to earn free coffee

Next, let’s focus on the Dunkin’ Rewards program. It’s recently gone through some changes.

Dunkin’ Rewards is free to join. You’ll earn 10 points per $1. However, loyal customers will earn more rewards. If you visit at least twelve times in a calendar month, you’ll earn 12 points per $1. Once you do, you’ll earn at this higher rate for three months.

Similarly to Starbucks Rewards, different rewards cost different prices.

We’ll focus on coffee beverages just like we did above.

  • You can get a free hot or iced coffee for 500 points.
  • You can get a free hot or iced crafted drink, like a cold brew, for 700 points.
  • You can get a free premium sip, like a signature latte, for 900 points.

Here’s what you’ll need to spend to earn free drinks through this program:

Drink of choice Infrequent Dunkin’ customer Frequent Dunkin’ customer
Free hot or iced coffee $50 $42
Free hot or iced crafted drink $70 $59
Free premium sip drink $90 $75

Birthday freebies: It’s worth noting that Dunkin’ no longer rewards members with a free birthday drink. However, the brand gives members the chance to earn a 3x all-day points boost as a birthday gift.

Which program offers more rewards for coffee drinkers?

If you’re a brewed coffee drinker, you will benefit more from the Starbucks Rewards program if you use a gift card to pay for your beverage.

If you do this, you’ll only need to spend $25 to earn a free brewed coffee. If you’re a frequent Dunkin customer, you’ll need to spend about $42 to earn a free cup of coffee.

But what about cold brew drinkers? Dunkin’ Rewards wins. You’ll pay $59 or $70. Through Starbucks Rewards, you’ll pay $75 or $150, depending on how you pay for your order.

If you want something special, like a signature latte, you may luck out more with Starbucks Rewards. If you pay with a gift card, you can earn a free latte after spending $75. If you’re a frequent Dunkin’ drinker, that price is the same. If not, you’ll need to pay $90 to earn one.

Find what works for you based on the ins and outs of your favorite coffee shop

So, which is the better rewards program for coffee drinkers?

You’ll need to decide if the Starbucks Rewards or Dunkin’ Rewards program works best for you. Of course, your coffee and drink preferences are a big factor.

You may need to adjust your habits to benefit from each program, like switching to paying with a gift card at Starbucks or visiting Dunkin’ more frequently to earn rewards faster.

It’s also worthwhile to look at other ways to boost your rewards and save money through each rewards program. Both programs allow customers to earn bonus points within their apps.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to carefully review how your favorite coffee shop’s rewards program works so you can make moves that boost your rewards. After all, the more free coffee you earn, the more money you can keep in your bank account.

Are you looking for ways to save money in your daily life? You’re not alone. Check out our personal finance resources for guidance.

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