How To Get Free Refills At Starbucks

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It sounds crazy, but the rumors are true: it is possible to get free refills at Starbucks! 

It is one of the many amazing perks that come from being a Starbucks Rewards member and you definitely should know how to use it!

The perk comes with some rules and there are exceptions as well, so read on to learn everything you need to know about this amazing perk.

Join Starbucks Rewards

The first, and most important step, to get your free refills is to become a Starbucks Rewards member. This is so easy to do (and free as well)!

You can do it online, but it’s also very easy by just downloading the app. Once the app is downloaded, open it and follow the prompts to sign up. 

They’ll need your name, phone number and date of birth (to sign you up for birthday perks too). That’s it, you’ve now joined the Starbucks Rewards Program.

Make a Purchase

In order to activate your Starbucks Rewards account, you must make one purchase and make sure to either pay via a saved card on the app, or pay regularly and scan the barcode in the app for points.

Once this is done, your account is activated and all your perks begin. 

Sidenote: It’s the same for birthday rewards. You need to make an initial purchase on the app before you receive your birthday reward so be sure to do that with enough time!

How To Get Free Refills

Not every drink qualifies for a free refill, so be sure to know the rules before asking for one.

If you order a brewed hot or iced coffee, hot or iced tea, or cold brew, they will refill it without question.

If you order a Frappuccino, Latte, Refresher, or any other specialty drink, they will not refill the same drink. The only way to get those for free is on your birthday with the app.

However, if you want your “refill” to be a hot or iced coffee, hot or iced tea,or cold brew, they will give you a new cup with that drink instead.

As always, cream and sugar is provided for free at the counter so you can add that as you’d like. 

If you would like any additional pumps of syrup or cold foam, that is up to the discretion of the store. Usually, they do charge a minimal fee for those add ons, but they’re still worth it when the refill is free!

List Of Free Refills At Starbucks

The menu at Starbucks is huge. Most of the flavored drinks do not come with refills. Here is a list of those that do.

Hot Brewed Coffee

Dark Roast coffee

Decaf Pike Place Roast

Pike Place Roast

Veranda Coffee

Iced Coffee and Cold Brew 

These would be free with no add ons. 

Hot Teas

Chai Tea

Earl Gray tea

Emperor’s Clouds and Mist Tea

Jade Citrus Mint Tea

Mint Majesty

Peach Tranquility

Royal English Breakfast Tea

Iced Teas

Black Tea

Green Tea

Passion Tango Tea

How It Works

When it comes to figuring out how to get your freebie, this is what we found.

You must enjoy the first drink in store

Once you know what you’re going to order (and have your refill planned!), go ahead and order as you normally would. You can order in store or order ahead using the app.

Pick it up and be sure to enjoy your drink in the store while you catch up on some reading, catch up with a friend, or do some work. 

Technically the only way to get a free refill is by staying inside the store at all times, so unfortunately even going out to your car would void your free refill.

How to Order a Free Refill at Starbucks

To get a free refill, simply order your beverage as you normally would and consume it in store. You need to be sure not to leave the premises.

Once you have finished your drink, head back to the barista at the register and let them know you’d like a refill. They will scan your account again. 

Choose the type of coffee you’d like and you should be good to go, as long as you don’t ask for any add ons (those are charged separately).

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to figuring out all the details, we have you covered. Here is a look at the most common questions.

Can I switch my drink for the refill?

The majority of Starbucks locations will allow you to switch drinks for your refill. So if you ordered an iced coffee to start and want a hot tea instead for your refill, just let them know.

Can I bring a cup from earlier this morning for a refill?

No, you can only get a refill if you order, enjoy in store and ask for the refill without ever leaving the premises. Once you step out of the store, you forfeit your rights to a free refill.

Can they scan my gift card barcode for the refill?

No, it needs to be your Starbucks Rewards barcode. Make sure to clarify it’s for a refill because they scan a different barcode for the drink to be free of charge. 

Can I get refills at Starbucks locations that are within department stores or airports?

Each store and airport has different policies on this refill rule, however most do follow. We do know for a fact that all Starbucks locations within Target will give free refills, so take advantage of that!

Can I pay for add ons?

Yes! If you want to add sweet cream cold foam to your iced coffee or strawberry syrup to your hot tea, just let them know! 

Simply ask for your free refill and ask if you can pay for your desired add on. The add ons are typically less than $2 so even if you pay for that alone, you’re still saving money!

Can I order my free refill in the drive thru or via the app?

No, since the only way to get a refill on a drink is by visiting (and staying) in a store, ordering a refill via drive thru or app is not possible.

Summary

We all know Starbucks trips add up, so any hack we can get to save some money is welcomed! This hack is advertised by the company itself, so you’re not doing anything wrong in asking for it.

You can always earn and win free gift cards and put them towards a Starbucks gift card.

Next time you’re in store, try getting a free refill. Get a coffee, shop around Target and then pick up a refill on the way out sounds like a marvelous idea!