The Starbucks Refill Policy is the Secret To Free Drinks

If you read this title and thought to yourself, 'Starbucks doesn't have a refill policy. Everyone knows thi - what's that? They do have a refill policy? How did I not know about this,' then you aren't alone. The Starbucks refill policy is a sly secret that only a few people have known, or even used, in the past few years.

We've all been living in the dark for the entirety of our coffee-drinking lives. Starbucks, the undeniable favorite amongst coffee drinkers in many circles, isn't cheap. They offer a wide variety of high-quality beans as well as teas, snacks, and sweet, caffeine-packed beverages that many would be more comfortable seeing on a dessert menu.

To completely access the Starbucks refill policy, you'll want to become a Starbucks Rewards member if you aren't already, even though it's no longer a necessity. However, we'd argue that becoming a rewards member is one way to save money once you reach Gold levels and you have that registered Starbucks gold that's all gold everything.


Yes, you'll pay a small arm and probably half of a small leg to get a Venti Iced Americano from a Starbucks in New York City (or anywhere else), but it usually tastes good enough to keep you coming back for more. The chain has also sneakily raised its prices to boot. As it turns out, though, you can get a little more out of that high price tag than many had thought. They've been sitting on a "secret" refill policy this whole time.

An article by Michal Addady on Fortune says that "Starbucks Melody, an unofficial Starbucks news website, shared news surrounding [their refill] policy." Addady goes on to say that the policy has been in place for ages. All that the 'bucks has really changed about it is some of the language surrounding it.

"Free refills are limited to brewed coffee (hot, Iced Coffee, or Cold Brew), and tea (hot, iced or shaken) during the same store visit at participating Starbucks stores, says Addady. "And if you decide you want hot coffee after your cold brew, that's fine—your second drink could be any one of those refill-eligible coffee or tea drinks."

There's only one stipulation, and that's that you use your Starbucks Card or their mobile app to purchase the drink, be it a tea refill or hot brewed coffee. You then need to use that same card or login on the app again to purchase a second drink.

However, some restrictions apply. You can't start with a Tall Latte and expect to have a Venti Iced Passion Tea as your refill - upgrading the size would count as a new purchase. You also don't need to refill with the original drink you purchased.

The Starbucks Rewards program also gives birthday rewards and free drinks when it's your birthday!

On your birthday (as indicated in your Starbucks Rewards account), you will receive one (1) complimentary handcrafted beverage OR one (1) complimentary food item OR one (1) complimentary ready-to-drink bottled beverage ("Birthday Reward")

So to be clear, the following four orders are completely within refill boundaries, no matter what your original beverage order was: iced tea, hot tea, iced coffee, or hot coffee. You shouldn't be charged refill charge as long as you used a registered Starbucks card to order it and you have not yet left the Starbucks in question. Yes, this refill policy only works when you are at one Starbucks location (such as a grocery store) for a period of time. Yes, you can get free refills of brewed coffee if you ordered an iced tea as your first drink. No, This does not apply to espresso-based drinks such as frappuccinos, or mochas sadly.

No, you can't do this at the drive-thru, but we think that it may be a great option for anyone looking to spend over an hour lounging around, lazily writing freelance articles (read: checking up on Facebook) and wanting to sip on free Starbucks coffee.

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