Chase Starbucks Visa Card Review: Get 2,750 Stars Signup Bonus, 1 Star/$1 at Starbucks, 1 Star/$4 Elsewhere, $49 Annual Fee

The leaked Chase Starbucks Visa card is now live for applications. Here’s our review of the card.

Direct Application Link | Press Release

Rewards and Key Details

  • $49 annual fee, not waived first year
  • 3% foreign transaction fee (even international Starbucks transactions will probably be hit with this fee)

Reward Details

First, a quick overview of the Starbucks rewards program: All Starbucks Gold members get 2 stars per $1 spent at Starbucks. Get a free drink or food item after reaching 125 stars ($62.50 in spend).

Credit card rewards offering:

  • Get instant Gold status on the Starbucks loyalty program which typically takes 300 stars ($150 in spend) to reach
  • Earn 1 star per $4 spent everywhere outside Starbucks (free item after $500 in spend)
  • Earn 1 star per $1 spent on Starbucks purchases only when reloading your Starbucks balance via the app (if you pay directly at Starbucks you’ll earn the regular earn rate of 1/$4). The 1 star per $1 earned on Starbucks app reloads is in addition to the standard 2 stars per dollar earned by Gold members on all purchases. In total, you’ll end up with 3 stars per dollar, but again, the credit card is only adding 1 star extra per dollar.
  • 8 Barista Picks: Curated food or beverage Rewards selected by baristas and automatically loaded to the cardmembers Starbucks Rewards account. These are random picks that get sent to you, not something you can choose. This benefit will load to your account 45 days after becoming a cardmember and will reset each cardmember year. Barista picks expire after 30 days.

Signup Bonus

  • Earn 2,500 stars (20 free drinks) after spending $500 within the first 3 months. Update 7/16/18: Now comes with 4,500 stars bonus after $500 in spend. Update 3/6/19: Now comes with 6,500 bonus stars after $500 in spend.
  • Earn 250 stars (2 free drinks) when using the Starbucks Visa card to load your Starbucks card in the app for the first time.

Other Details

It’s important to note that the Starbucks Stars program comes with a 6-month expiration on stars, and this expiration is the same for credit card holders. This is especially important to keep in mind with regards to the signup bonus since you’ll have to use up all 22 free items within 6 months.

Also remember that Starbucks stars can be used for almost any free item – it’s not limited to a drink. I don’t know what the most expensive item available is, but there could be some good value for those who anyway find themselves buying expensive food items from Starbucks. On the other hand, a typical drink runs $2 – $5, so keep that in mind when determining the value of the rewards program. Chime in below if you have a better analysis on what good values can be had.

The Chase Starbucks Visa card is not available to current cardmembers or previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months. The Chase 5/24 rule does apply to this card.

Upon approval, you’ll be able to use a digital version of the credit card immediately in the Starbucks app (but not elsewhere).

Card comes with standard Chase card benefits like purchase protection, extended warranty, price protection, and car rental insurance.

Our Verdict

The $49 annual fee is quite a surprise – doesn’t seem like the way to target a Starbucks audience. The foreign transaction fee is a surprise to me as well. And they definitely should not have a 6-month expiration on stars for credit card users.

When analyzing the regular earnings rate on the card, it’ll depend entirely on what you buy for your free item. Most drinks are $3 – $5. If we take a $4 average redemption value, that’s less than 1% back on everyday spend, and it’s slightly over 3% back on Starbucks purchases. If there are $10 items to be had at Starbucks, that would give us a valuation of 2% everywhere ($500 spend gets $10) and 8% at Starbucks ($125 spend gets $10).

Overall I consider this a pretty bad card for almost everyone. The sole exception would be someone who spends a lot at Starbucks and likes to buy the most expensive food items, and even then it has to be calculated against the annual fee. Also, remember you’re losing out by loading the Starbucks app directly and not going through MPX or other venue to buy a discounted Starbucks gift card to load to the app.

If not for the annual fee, there would probably be Starbucks aficionado’s who would go for the card, but I think the annual fee will hinder most of them – that annual fee is a huge mistake, as I see it, since it’ll knock off a good percentage of the base they’re after. They should make it fee-free with only 2 or 3 free baristas (if that’s what they are worried about cost-wise).

RelatedStarbucks vs. Dunkin’ Donuts: Which Has a Better Rewards Program?

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raj
raj

This card is obviously a meme, but I just wanted to run the numbers.

125 stars gets you a drink. Assuming a drink is $5 (??? I don’t pay for this shit) that’s a value of $.04/star. So this card gets you 4% CB at starbucks ($.05 per $1 spend). The value of organic spend is somewhere between 2% (plenty of cards offer this) and 2.5% (plastiq) so generously this gives you 2% “extra” CB at starbucks. In order to make this card worth it, you’d need to spend $49/.02 = $2450 annually at starbucks. Which is like 500 drinks.

But one might argue the 8 free items a year could come fairly close to $49…

So as distasteful as it sounds, if you go to starbucks almost every day, this card might be worth considering, if you don’t mind wasting 5/24.

calwatch
calwatch

I would tend to value stars at about five cents each because you can also get a Venti size drink or food. Some of their boxes can be $8.50, although I would not value them that high for fair market value, but $6.25 would be a good FMV for a chicken wrap box or salad when you look at what supermarkets charge for the same product from the deli aisle.

Adam
Adam

I want to be the person who wrote this gem for the press release:

“Cardmembers will also become members of the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program, receiving exclusive perks and benefits already enjoyed by more than 14 million members daily.”

Alex
Alex

I mean it’s obviously not meant for anyone on this board. But who knows, maybe lots of other (less informed) people will apply for it and use it. Even with the annual fee there is some value in the first year. And maybe the small annual fee will appeal to some millennials who typically avoid annual fee cards; sort of a first toe dip into what is perceived as a premium card?

Vincent Jimenez
Vincent Jimenez

Dead on Arrival

maro
maro

Any reason to believe the MLA annual fee waiver that Chase does will apply to this card? That’s the only way I could see it being worth it.

William Charles

Don’t see why it wouldn’t

JD
JD

what does MPX mean?

Ryan
Ryan

Nice card but AF is a deal breaker for such a niche card. I value stars at 5c each as a $6 free drink easy to obtain since you can add extra shots. But 5% CB at starbucks isn’t worth $49 a year.

Credit-Boy-Toy
Credit-Boy-Toy

How many stars does it take to get to the center of the $49? … FYI, I just wrote a nice email to Starbucks about giving out a free $100 gift card with the credit card. (at least)… They replied by saying “They are happy to hear my input if I gladly provide information as to why your interested in the card.” .. Me: Free coffee?!!

AL
AL

Reminds me of the Walmart card where the sign up bonus was a 2 liter of soda. This card would go head to head with that. At least the Walmart card didn’t cost $49 a year.

Vic
Vic

I was still amazed at yesterday’s 1star / $4, and now they announced it with $49 annual fee. Nothing is impossible I guess lol