Just two visits with reusable drinkware can earn you enough stars for a free coffee.
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For years, Starbucks has been talking about, and searching for, a more environmentally-friendly alternative to disposable cups, notably via the NextGen Cup Challenge, of which the coffee chain was a founding partner. Finally, last month, Starbucks felt confident in announcing plans to "create a cultural movement towards reusables" by 2025. However, exactly what a "cultural movement" entails and how the brand planned to get there was still vague, hinting at a multi-pronged approach of convenience and incentives.

For the latter, in honor of Earth Day on April 22, this week Starbucks announced one of their first major incentive upgrades: Starting this Friday, customers who arrive armed with a clean, reusable cup for their drinks will receive an extra 25 Stars to their Rewards account — a major bump from the one or two Stars per dollar typically received on transactions (depending on payment type), and a significant additional bonus on top of the 10 cents off customers already receive for bringing their own cup. (Yes, the 10-cent discount will continue to stand.)

Various reusable cups from Starbucks in a basket
Credit: Beata Zawrzel / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks points out that, after just one trip with a reusable cup, a 25 Star bonus is enough to grab a free customization like an extra shot of espresso. A free cup of brewed hot coffee is available at 50 Stars, meaning if you keep bringing back your reusable cup, every third coffee you order would be free. Finally, the chain mentions that handcrafted beverages are available at 150 Stars, making a free Frappuccino just six visits away.

One small catch: This new deal is currently only available when ordering inside stores (and, of course, requires a Starbucks Rewards membership). Starbucks assures that they are looking for ways to allow reusable cups with mobile and drive-thru orders in the future.

But sweetening the deal, coffee lovers can take advantage of the 25 Star bonus up to three times per day — and a Starbucks spokesperson confirmed to us that, indeed, the new bonus program is permanent.

If the only thing left that you need is a reusable cup, Starbucks has that covered for you as well: To further celebrate Earth Day — and to further encourage customers to embrace reusable cups — on Friday, April 22, Starbucks is offering 30 percent off all drinkware.