Posted in Credit Cards and Loyalty Programs

Be Sure You Know What Type of Starbucks You are at When Using Deals!

I like Starbucks but don’t frequent them as much as I once did.  By eliminating them from my Routine I do 2 things 1) Save $5 per visit and 2) Save a lot of calories that I do not need!  But, I still like to keep money on my loadable card just in case.  I may want to stop there when I am traveling or on a crazy day of errands when I really need a cup of coffee.


Starbucks Store Types (unofficially)


There are 3 different types of Starbucks that I have encountered.  At a glance, they all look the same which is where the problem comes in.  Unless it is the Starbucks you always go to and you just know, how do you know what kind of Starbucks you are at?

Franchise Starbucks

  • Have all the advertised food, drinks and specials
  • Accepts your Starbucks loadable card (not to be confused with the new credit card)
  • Participates in app games and rewards
  • Your sale rings up as Starbucks

Non Franchise Starbucks

  • Usually has most of the advertised food, drinks and specials
  • Accepts your Starbucks loadable card (not to be confused with the new credit card)
  • Participates in app games and rewards
  • Your sale may or may not ring up as Starbucks!

Dumb Starbucks

  • May have some but not all of the advertised food, drinks and specials
  • Will not accept your Starbucks loadable card (but will accept the credit card)
  • Probably wont participate in app games and rewards
  • Probably wont ring up as Starbucks!



A few years ago my son was home on holiday and we watched the Nathan For You episode Dumb Starbucks.  It was pretty funny!  Here is a link:

Nathan For You: Dumb Starbucks Episode


What I learned was that the Starbucks that took over the coffee shop at our hospital was a Dumb Starbucks.  It didn’t ring up as a Starbucks, I couldn’t pay with my loadable card and I couldn’t earn points for app games and rewards.

The free standing Starbucks on the other side of my town is a Franchise Store.  They have everything, plus lots of merchandise and a several employees on staff.  They take all the payment methods and you can earn points and rewards on your purchases.

There is also a Starbucks at my favorite Barnes and Noble location.  It is also a Dumb Starbucks owned by the bookstore.  It doesn’t ring up as a Starbucks, you can’t pay with your loadable card and you don’t earn points for app games and rewards.

I have been using the Starbucks located in my regular grocery store for a number of years.  It is a Non Franchise Starbucks.  It usually has all the advertised food, beverages and specials.  I earn points on my purchases toward app games and rewards.  I can pay with my loadable card and use rewards for my purchases.  Seems just like the Franchise stores.  That was why I was surprised when it didn’t qualify for a credit card offer I was trying to achieve.



We have a few different credit cards that are promoting Starbucks offers right now.  If you make a purchase using that card, you get 10% credit back.  I added the offer to one of my cards since my loadable card balance was low and I planned on buying some gift cards over the holidays.  I was at the store this weekend and added some funds to my loadable card and paid with the appropriate credit card to take advantage of the offer.

I always check my card about 3 days after I use an offer to make sure everything went as planned.  When I did this my heart sank a bit because I knew at a glance that it wouldn’t work.  The purchase rang up as the Grocery Store and not as Starbucks.  Fortunately for me, it wasn’t a huge loss…just a few dollars.  But lesson learned!

I also found this could happen with other credit card offers.  I was trying to use a BP Credit Card Offer a few months ago and because I paid inside, instead of at the pump, my gas rang as a Convenience Store purchase instead of Fuel. 


The moral of the story

Using credit card offers is a great way to save some money on your purchases.  I check my available offers at least once a week because there are always new ones being added.  The American Express offers are actually pretty robust.  My husband and I were each able to save $10 on a $25 fuel purchase last week.  I also saved $25 on a clothing purchase and $5 on my vacation photo book order.  It adds up!

BUT you have to make sure that you 1) read the offer details carefully to make sure your purchase will qualify and 2) that you are sure your purchase will be rang out in the way required in order to qualify for the offer.  Just ask first!  I hope this little bit of knowledge saves you some frustration down the line.  And if you haven’t been checking out your credit card offers, take a look and see what you can take advantage of.  Especially with holiday shopping at hand.


Dream, Plan, SAVE, Adventure!


Just an Art and History Nerd from MI Who Loves to Travel, Explore, Save Money, Share Tips, Enjoy the Best Foods & Adult Beverages🍷🥂🍸 Then Blog About It!