The Drinks That Won't Earn You Any Starbucks Stars

Starbucks fans know that when you sign up for the chain's rewards program through the app, you can reap a plethora of benefits. You'll get a free drink on your birthday, free refills on coffee or tea, and you can place your orders ahead of time for mobile pickup, skipping store lines completely. But the best benefits come from earning stars. Every time you purchase a drink, food item, or almost anything else from Starbucks, you'll receive a star for every dollar you spend in stores (two when you use a preloaded store card). When you hit certain thresholds, like 25 or 50 stars, you can get free food, drinks, or items like mugs or tumblers.

Sound too good to be true? While it's no doubt a beneficial system, it does have a few limitations. You can rack up stars by purchasing your favorite Frappuccino or breakfast sandwich, but buying alcoholic beverages from Starbucks won't get you any rewards. Likewise, if you buy a Starbucks card or reload yours, you won't earn any stars to allocate toward your reward balance.

Where you can find Starbucks' alcoholic drinks

Luckily, this star-earning limitation shouldn't make too much of an impact on your Starbucks rewards experience — after all, most people go to the stores to get coffee, not booze. However, the chain has been experimenting with serving alcohol in select stores since as far back as 2010, when it began offering wine and beer at its Capitol Hill location in Seattle. In 2015, it expanded the menu even more by incorporating booze in 70 stores across the country in cities like Denver, Miami, and Manhattan. The selection included craft beer, Malbec, pinot noir, and Prosecco, along with little bites like chicken skewers, bacon-wrapped dates, and meatballs with tomato basil sauce.

The alcohol and appetizer menu, known as "Starbucks Evenings," was cut in 2017 in the U.S., although it's still possible to buy booze from the chain if you know where to go. The Reserve Stores and Roasteries, which are scattered worldwide, still serve select alcoholic beverages — everything from an espresso martini to an old-fashioned — amidst other coffee and food delicacies. So although you can't trade any boozy purchases in for stars, this shouldn't be an issue when visiting typical Starbucks stores. However, you may want to keep this limitation in mind when visiting Reserves Stores and Roasteries if you're hoping to cash in.