Starbucks Holiday Promo: Free Drinks For Life, Or At Most 30 Years

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Starbucks doesn’t want your cash. It doesn’t want your credit or debit card, either. The chain coffeeteria wants its customers to pay using Starbucks gift cards or mobile apps, so they can keep track of what you, personally order, and send you promotions and coupons accordingly. That’s the unstated reason why Starbucks will have a promotion this holiday season: a chance to win “Free Starbucks for Life.”

There will be a total of ten winners, and the promotion will last from December 2 until Christmas. It may be debatable how long your life would be with a daily dose of espresso, but “life” in this case is capped at thirty years. The prize isn’t unlimited, but allows the recipient to receive one food or beverage item for free for thirty years. Presumably, single drinks made in vases, coolers, and jugs will not be permitted. Assuming that beverage prices don’t rise too much in the next thirty years, the total cost of could be under a million dollars.

If the promotion is intended to sell more Starbucks gift cards as holiday gifts, those gift-givers will need to hurry: the promotion ends at Christmas. Instead, Starbucks is giving customers an incentive to visit Starbucks stores, but more importantly an incentive to pay using Starbucks currency: the company’s own gift cards, reloadable stored-value cards, and mobile apps.

CEO Howard Schultz told the Wall Street Journal that people actually ask him whether it is possible to gift someone a lifetime supply of Starbucks drinks. The people who ask him this are celebrities and fellow CEOs, he claims.

Starbucks Unveils Reimagined In-Store and Digital Innovations for Holiday 2014 and Beyond [Starbucks]
Starbucks to Offer Customers a Chance to Win Free Drinks for Life [Wall Street Journal]