Looking for a way to cut back on your Starbucks expenses? There’s no better way than by figuring out how to get Starbucks for free.
Being that it’s one of the largest coffee franchises in Canada, there are plenty of ways to win (or earn) free Starbucks in Canada.
From free refills to winning Starbucks gift cards, I’ll show you every method that I know of. I’ll also show you how to take advantage of the Starbucks Rewards app to maximize your free coffee rewards!
How to Get Free Starbucks In Canada
Although I’ve been trying to cut back on my caffeine intake, Starbucks has plenty of non-caffeinated options, like its teas and refreshers. Whether you like coffee, tea, juice, or creamy frappuccinos, Starbucks offers something for everybody. The cafe’s sandwiches are also surprisingly good as well.
Most of the methods that I’ve outlined below reward free Starbucks for one of the following:
- Earning points through the Starbucks Rewards app
- Taking advantage of free refills and incentives
- Getting paid in Starbucks gift cards by completing promotional activities
If you really want to maximize your free Starbucks rewards, you can try combining several of these methods.
Are you ready to win some free coffee?
1. Join The Starbucks Rewards Program
- Learn More: create a free Starbucks account
- How It Works: earn rewards on purchases and periodic prizes
If you buy Starbucks regularly, then you should really sign up for the Starbucks Rewards program. It’s 100% free to sign up for, and all you need to do is provide your name and email address. Once you sign up, you can earn stars (rewards points) whenever you buy drinks, food, or other merch from Starbucks.
To earn rewards you can either:
- Scan the barcode on your Starbucks app
- Pay for your order using a reloadable Starbucks card linked to your account
You’ll typically earn one star for every dollar you spend. If you use a reloadable card or link your card and pay for your purchase through the Starbucks app, then you’ll be able to double your rewards and earn two stars for every dollar spent.
The rewards are as follows:
- 25 stars – customize your drink for free
- 50 stars- free coffee, tea, or bakery item
- 150 stars – free handcrafted drink, breakfast item, or parfait
- 200 stars – free lunch sandwich, salad, or protein box
- 400 stars – free bag of coffee, Starbucks cup, or other merch (up to $20)
It wasn’t until I started using the Starbucks app that I actually realized how much I was spending at Starbucks. Towards the end of the month, I checked to see how many stars I had accumulated and was surprised to see that I had accumulated 300, meaning that I spent over $300 that month!
That definitely prompted me to reign in my spending a bit and start keeping closer track of my budget.
In addition to the traditional star rewards system, having a Starbucks Rewards account also allows you to get free Starbucks on your birthday and take advantage of special promotional offers.
Most recently, the Starbucks Rewards app had a promotion that allowed users to play mobile games for a chance to win free Starbucks for life.
- Learn More: Sign up for Swagbucks
- How It Works: Earn points for playing games, watching videos, and surveys, then cash out for a Starbucks card
Swagbucks is one of the largest paid survey sites in Canada and the site has paid out over $800 million in rewards over its lifetime. Plus, with a 4.3-star TrustPilot rating, the company has received the widespread approval of the internet (which is a feat in itself).
Earning free Starbucks with Swagbucks is relatively easy. All you have to do is spend some time completing promotional activities on the platform. After completing each activity, you’ll be awarded SB points. Each SB point is worth one cent, which means that $10 is equivalent to 1,000 SB points.
The minimum amount you need to cash your points in for a Starbucks gift card is $25, or 2,500 SB points. While this payout minimum is a bit higher than other paid survey sites I’ve reviewed, it does encourage you to save your points up for a higher-valued Starbucks card.
Once the card is mailed, you should receive it within a week.
If you maximize all of your Swagbucks earning opportunities, you may be able to earn between $40 and $50 extra per month. It may not sound like much, but hey – that’s at least ten of your favourite coffees!
Pro Tip: If you want to really maximize your rewards, you can link your Swagbucks-issued Starbucks card to your Starbucks Rewards account. This will allow you to collect star rewards points as you spend the balance on your gift card, which can earn you even more free Starbucks.
- Learn More: Sign up for Survey Junkie
- How It Works: Participate in consumer research surveys and earn free Starbucks gift cards
Survey Junkie is somewhat similar to Swagbucks, as both are paid research platforms.
The only difference is that Survey Junkie primarily focuses on opinion polls and consumer surveys, whereas Swagbucks allows users to earn points for watching video ads, browsing the internet, and even playing desktop computer games.
How does it work?
To start with, you’ll need to create an account. After creating your account, you’ll be presented with a brief demographic survey asking you about your age, location, interests, and more.
To ensure that you’re paired with the greatest number of paid survey opportunities, make sure to list everything that you’re remotely interested in.
After completing your demographic information, Survey Junkie will automatically pair you with surveys that are best suited to your user profile.
If you take all of the available surveys, you should be able to earn anywhere from $10 to $15 worth of extra rewards per week, just by participating in some simple surveys.
One of the things that I like most about Survey Junkie is that it has a low minimum payout of just $5. Personally, I’d recommend saving your points up until you can get at least a $10 Starbucks gift card, though. $5 won’t get you far in Starbucks.
4. Drop App
- Learn More: Sign up for Drop
- How It Works: Link your cards to your Drop account to earn cashback rewards on your purchases
The Drop App is one of the latest cashback apps to hit the Canadian market. Based out of Toronto, this company allows users 18 and older to create a free account, link their credit/debit cards and start earning cashback rewards on everyday purchases.
Drop works similarly to coupon apps like Checkout 51 and Rakuten. Once you create your account, you’ll be able to view your current cashback offers on your Drop dashboard. Depending on the offer, you may be able to earn anywhere between 1% and 5% cashback on select online and in-store purchases. Some offers may offer even more.
The nice thing about Drop, though, is that you don’t need to scan receipts or manually enter your purchases. Since Drop links directly to your spending accounts, it will automatically scan your transaction history and apply any eligible cashback credits to your account.
Once you meet the minimum payout threshold of $25, you can redeem your Drop points for a Starbucks gift card, PayPal credit, or other rewards.
Drop also allows users to earn points by referring their friends. Each friend that you refer to the app will earn you an additional $5 worth of credit, which can be applied towards a Starbucks gift card (or your other chosen reward).
5. Daily Rewards
- Learn More: Sign up for Daily Rewards
- How It Works: Take surveys, earn points, and redeem for a Starbucks card
Daily Rewards is the Canadian branch of the large US-based survey site Inbox Dollars. While the two platforms are practically carbon copies of each other, each caters to a different market and offers surveys from different brands.
Daily Rewards is very similar to Survey Junkie and allows users to earn rewards for completing various promotional activities, primarily centred around survey-taking.
Compared to Survey Junkie and Swagbucks, Daily Rewards doesn’t offer as many survey opportunities. The site is smaller and has fewer partnerships with major brands. Still, the average user can earn upwards of $20 or $30 per month by taking all of the surveys presented to them.
6. Harris Poll Online
- Learn More: Become a Harris Poll member
- How It Works: Participate in surveys and focus groups, earn free Starbucks rewards
Harris Poll is owned by Nielsen, which is one of the more established (and professional) market research companies in Canada. The nice thing about becoming a Harris Poll member is that you only need to be 13 years old, which makes it one of the few ways for teens to earn free Starbucks in Canada.
Compared to the polls you’ll complete on sites like Daily Rewards, Harris Poll surveys tend to be a bit more detailed. As such, you may be able to earn higher rewards.
Another thing that I appreciate about Harris Poll is that the site doesn’t give me a bunch of “cash offers,” which are where you’ll earn rewards for signing up for free trials. Some of the lower-quality paid survey sites are known for spamming users with these offers.
Unfortunately, many of these so-called free trials actually bill you after the trial period if you forget to cancel, which defeats the purpose of the offer.
7. Buy Reduced Price Starbucks Gift Cards
- Learn More: See the best gift card exchanges in Canada
- How It Works: Buy Starbucks gift cards at a reduced value and get free credit
One of the best “hacks” to get free Starbucks in Canada is to buy Starbucks gift cards that have already been pre-loaded with money. Exchanges like Gift Card Granny and Card Swap allow users to buy, sell, and trade gift cards.
The benefit of buying secondhand Starbucks gift cards is that you don’t have to pay for the full price of the gift card. For example, you could purchase a $50 Starbucks gift card for $45 (or less), essentially giving you $5 worth of free credit.
Alternatively, you could trade an old unwanted gift card for a Starbucks gift card of equal value, allowing you to turn an otherwise worthless card (to you, at least) into free Starbucks.
8. Pinecone Research Surveys
- Learn More: Read my Pinecone Research review
- How It Works: Participate in paid research surveys, get free Starbucks
Pinecone Research has been in business since 1998 and is one of Canada’s oldest consumer review panels. Although the company started offline, it has since adopted a 100% online business model.
Similar to Survey Junkie and Daily Rewards, Pinecone Research allows users to participate in consumer reviews and test products in exchange for rewards.
In the past, Pinecone Research was known for being one of the higher-paying survey platforms in Canada. Today, however, the average survey payout is just $3, which doesn’t make it much better than other survey sites.
That being said, Pinecone Research periodically offers high-value surveys that can pay up to $50, so it’s worth checking out all the same.
9. Use A Starbucks Gift Card For Free Refills
- How It Works: You can use a Starbucks card to get free coffee or tea refills
If you’ve been gifted a Starbucks gift card or have a reloadable Starbucks card, then you can use it to get free refills on hot or iced coffee and tea. This allows you to get free Starbucks in Canada and saves you the 55 cents that you’d otherwise have to pay for a refill.
Just remember that refills only apply to plain coffee and tea, not specialty drinks. You must also have purchased the drink in the cafe and cannot get the free refill as a returning customer.
10. Use Your Credit Card’s Cashback Rewards
- How It Works: Earn cashback rewards on your credit card and redeem them for free Starbucks.
Many credit cards offer cashback rewards for every dollar you spend on the card. These cashback points can be redeemed and applied to purchases made at Starbucks, which essentially allows you to get free Starbucks – just for using your credit card.
For instance, I recently booked a $1,000 round-trip flight and got $30 worth of cashback thanks to my card’s 3% cashback rate. That was enough to pay for several coffees and lunches during my trip.
- Looking for a credit card that offers 2% cashback and has a $0 annual fee? Check out my review of the Tangerine Cashback Credit Card.
Starbucks is far from the cheapest cafe in Canada, and if you’re trying to save money, I recommend more frugal options. If you do want to treat yourself, though, I recommend taking advantage of the hacks I mentioned above to get free Starbucks in Canada.
Looking for more free rewards?
Keep on reading to see my list of 50 birthday freebies you can take advantage of in Canada!