You Now Earn Delta Miles For The Starbucks Purchases You Make Anyway

Delta and Starbucks have a new reciprocal earning partnership, which is only upside. There’s even a bonus for linking your accounts, which you should do in order not to leave miles on the table.

Then on an ongoing basis you’ll earn:

  • Earn 1 Delta mile per mile spent at Starbucks (excludes gift cards, tips and alcohol)
  • On days you’re flying Delta, you’ll earn double Starbucks Stars

In addition Delta is introducing a new 2024 choice benefit for Platinum and Diamond members of 4000 Starbucks Stars. I value a Starbucks star at 3 cents apiece, recognizing that depending on how you redeem them it’s possible to get up to 7 cents apiece.

Compared to new choice benefits like a $250 travel credit or $500 statement credit for Diamonds with a co-brand Reserve card, taking Starbucks stars as a choice benefit seems silly – though better than donating your choice benefit to Delta’s own sustainable fuel efforts that they are doing anyway.

This isn’t the first Starbucks earning relationship with an airline. Starbucks Canada earns with Air Canada Aeroplan. The intention has been to roll out the Aeroplan earning relationship to the United States as well, but it’s been slower than anticipated.

The only reason I can come up with not to link your Delta and Starbucks accounts is if you expect (1) the Aeroplan relationship to expand, and (2) to be unable to change partner earning preferences once it does. In other words, because Aeroplan miles are far more valuable than SkyMiles.
However I’d go ahead and link accounts, on the hope that if the Aeroplan earning partnership expands it will be possible to make the switch at that time.

This brings Delta customers into Starbucks, and Starbucks customers into Delta. Both are premium customer segments, and the Delta-Starwood relationship (while expensive) worked for both parties. It also helps Delta marginally in Seattle, where it competes heavily with Alaska Airlines. Indeed, Delta passengers departing Seattle today receive a card to redeem for 150 Starbucks stars.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. @ Gary — Well at least SkyMiles don’t expire. Starbucks has basically the worst awards program of any company. I won’t go out of my way to do business with them. FWIW, I rarely pay for coffee, as this is a giant waste of money.

  2. @Gene “a giant waste of money” FOR YOU, but maybe not for others. We all find the and spend money on the things we value the most.

  3. Well I already use the discounted gc’s that I buy from Chase and Amex Then use them to purchase their Sugar Plum Danishes…

  4. Given that Delta has served Starbucks coffee for years, this is a logical expansion of their relationships.
    This also highlights that it isn’t about the big ticket items that will drive increases in the volume of loyalty program transactions but many of the little purchases that now get wrapped into a larger loyalty program.

    You do have to wonder how humankind existed for millenia before expensive coffee on every street corner became the norm. Yes, people prioritize how they spend their money and much of that increased spend is by pushing further up the QOL bracket for what has otherwise been commodities for most of the existence of humankind.

  5. @ SOSE SER DOC — If you want to pay a 1,500% mark-up on coffee, more power to you. I’ll stick to making mine at home.

  6. I don’t mind paying for Starbux beverage occasionally. But not for coffee, which is burned and tastes bitter. My bev of choice is green tea. Completely agree with you @Gene, it’s way overpriced. But I like the service (it unfortunately went down during pandemic), ambience and selections.

  7. Delta to Starbucks link isn’t linking. Says to try again later. (after everything verifies)

  8. @Gene – to each his own. If I feel like making a pot of coffee I do (usually Starbucks or Seattle’s Best which is owned by Starbucks). However, there are times I just want to grab a cup and either run by Panera (coffee not as good IMHO but got hooked on the approx $10/month for unlimited drinks promotion) or my local Starbucks. Personally I prefer very strong coffee so always get the Starbucks dark roast.

    @Gary – I get at least 6-7 cents a point since I only redeem them for Venti dark roast coffee which is 50 points to cover $3.25-$3.50. Also, a small correction – you get 500 SkyMiles (I know not really worth more than the 150 you listed) for linking and then the 150 Starbucks points after you make a purchase.

    IMHO anyone that has a Delta account and a Starbucks one is crazy not to link these up.

  9. The link “deltastarbucks.com” does not work and shows me: Access Denied
    You don’t have permission to access “http://www.deltastarbucks.com/” on this server.
    Reference #18.6e4e4e68.1665596524.b35c58cd

  10. Seattle might be one of the least Starbucks dominated cities in the US – far more people go to the local shops. Not to say there’s not still plenty of Starbucks, but the decrease in density is very noticeable.

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