I had long heard rumor of being able to get free refills of coffee and iced tea with a Starbucks gold card, but until a recent trip to Disneyland I had not had the chance to test this rumor for myself.
I bought an iced tea in the Downtown Disney Starbucks location nearest to the park entrance (yes, there are now two locations, the other is next to the Lego Store). I sipped on the tea for a few hours while I fought the crowds in Disneyland. Rather than tossing the drink when I finish, I held onto my empty cup. Eventually I made my way back to Main Street of Disneyland and decided to see if I could get a refill at the one Starbucks location inside the park with my wife’s gold card. After inquiring about the refill policy, one employee politely said that this location didn’t offer gold card refills, but they did at the Downtown Disney location which was where I had originally purchased the iced tea. So I made my way back to that location and sure enough I was able to get a free refill of iced tea. After further research, I found out that the company policy is that you are only supposed to get free refills on the same visit, but at least at this location they didn’t seem to mind. It was clearly indicated on the sticker on my cup that my drink was purchased more than 4 hours prior.
Here is the exact wordage of the refill policy on the Starbucks website:
This revelation has made me rethink my original review and increase its rating to . While Starbucks iced tea is still quite expensive, it does taste really good and being able to get a refill is a huge plus.
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If you don’t have a registered Starbucks card with gold privileges, the refills are 50 cents instead of free. It’s pretty easy to get to gold level, but even without that, the refills aren’t a terrible deal. On the other hand, I have often been asked “have you been in the store the whole time” and had to assure them that yes, indeed, I had, and sometimes it didn’t seem like they really believed me… (even though I wasn’t trying to cheat them!) Normally they do pay attention, though. Every barista is different.
Starbucks is basically my go-to for iced tea when I’m out. Yes, it’s expensive, and yes, there’s a lot of ice, but the refills are free and it’s always, always, always fresh. There’s nothing quite so wonderful as hearing “we don’t have any more made right now, can you wait five minutes?” when I’m planning on waiting anyway, and knowing it’s going to be as fresh as possible.
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