The Reason You Can't Use Starbucks Rewards Stars At Disney

Hand holding a Disney-themed Starbucks drink with stars and Disneyland in the background
Hand holding a Disney-themed Starbucks drink with stars and Disneyland in the background - Static Media/Shutterstock

For many Starbucks aficionados, the allure of earning Rewards Stars and redeeming them for free drinks or treats is a major perk of the Starbucks Rewards program. And as expensive as visits to Disney can be, it's understandable that guests would want to minimize spending by using their Starbucks Rewards Stars while visiting one of the parks. However, there's a catch that may leave some coffee enthusiasts disappointed: Starbucks Rewards members cannot use their hard-earned Rewards Stars to pay for Starbucks drinks at locations within Disney parks. But why is that?

The answer lies in the unique relationship between Starbucks and Disney. While Disney parks boast several Starbucks locations, these are not corporate-owned stores like the standalone locations you'd find on city streets. Instead, they are licensed franchises operated within Disney properties. This distinction is crucial because it means that, while Starbucks Rewards members can earn Stars for purchases made at these locations, they cannot redeem those Stars for free items.

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Disney's Starbucks Locations Are Franchises

Close-up of a Starbucks cup sleeve
Close-up of a Starbucks cup sleeve - Gunek Wina/Shutterstock

The reason behind this limitation is simple economics. When a customer uses Rewards Stars to pay for a drink or food item, Starbucks corporate covers the cost of that item. However, in the case of licensed franchise locations, Starbucks corporate does not directly reimburse the franchisee for redeemed Rewards. This means that if Starbucks Rewards members were allowed to use their Stars to pay for items at Disney Starbucks locations, the franchisee would essentially be giving away free drinks or food without being compensated for them, resulting in a loss for the franchisee. So, to avoid this financial strain, Starbucks and Disney have opted to restrict the use of Rewards Stars at Disney Starbucks locations.

While this may come as a disappointment to Starbucks Rewards members visiting Disney parks (especially after they've waited in one of two lines at a Disney World Starbucks), it's important to understand the business dynamics at play. Fortunately, there are still plenty of other perks to enjoy at Disney Starbucks locations, such as unique Disney-themed beverages and the opportunity to experience the magic of Disney while sipping on your favorite Starbucks drink. So, while Rewards Stars may not be usable at Disney Starbucks locations, there's still plenty of caffeinated fun to be had in the Happiest Place On Earth. And if you really want to use your Rewards, head to a nearby corporate Starbucks store located at Downtown Disney in California or Disney Springs in Florida.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.