Why Do I Even Bother With Starbucks Contest Promotions?

by joeheg

It’s the holiday season. This means it’s time for the annual “Starbucks for Life” contest promotion. It’s like the McDonald Monopoly promotion except employees can’t steal all of the hard-to-find game pieces themselves.

Instead, you earn “plays” by making purchases at Starbucks, by earning bonus plays by meeting certain challenges, or by redeeming your two “free plays” a day required by any contest that says “No purchase necessary.”

To show how uninterested I was in this year’s contest, it ends on 1/3/2022 and I hadn’t bothered to sign in to the website. I got tired of seeing the emails from Starbucks, broke down and clicked the link.

a screenshot of a sign in and play

After signing in and collecting my challenge prizes, I had a decent number of plays.

a snow globe with a coffee cup inside

Surely I could win one of the prizes, or at least an instant win prize, with 27 plays.

Here are the prizes offered.

a screenshot of a cell phone

a screenshot of a cellphone

a screenshot of a puzzle game

a screenshot of a menu

a screenshot of a social media campaign

a group of logos on a green background

It was only 10 plays in when I’d already filled in 2 of 3 spots of the top three rewards. Great! So I only have to hit the 1 in a million chance to get the rare third piece.

Instead, I kept getting repeats of those same pieces. Eventually, I earned three duplicates. This is supposed to earn me an extra play but that didn’t happen (more on this later.)

Eventually, I did win something.

a red card with a gold star and berries

10 stars. Yippee.

a man sitting in a chair

I reached the end of my plays with another trifecta of duplicate pieces and yet again no extra play. I looked for someone to complain to when I found the email link to HelloWorld.

If you’ve ever dealt with promotions before, you know that HelloWorld is one of the worst companies anywhere. Their websites are notoriously glitchy and if you have a legitimate complaint, they’ll review it and not give you any recourse. I stopped dealing with them when I didn’t receive the entries to an IHG promo where I had to send index cards to get entries and only received 75% of the entries I deserved. Their reply was “too bad, maybe you made a mistake on those entries.”

I Tweeted to Starbucks because maybe they’ll make good for a sponsored promotion when I know the people running it don’t give a spit. I don’t expect to win based on my 5 lost entries but maybe I would have won another 10 stars.

Remind me not to spend the 15 minutes “shaking a snowglobe” for entries when all I’ll get is 10 stars and a case of heartburn worse than I get from drinking their coffee.

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Tracy S December 30, 2021 - 4:48 pm

I just refresh the site and the bonus plays appear. If you go back to the site they should be there.

I don’t think their promos are worth going to Starbucks just for that, but I stop at one pretty much every day since it’s on my way somewhere and I can order ahead with the app, so why not?

There are absolutely better coffees, but I personally don’t think it’s horrible and the local better ones are well outside my normal driving radius.

joeheg December 30, 2021 - 7:14 pm

That did work today. So instead of being a ripoff, it’s just a poorly designed website and offers a coloring book page as a “prize”

Edward December 30, 2021 - 5:33 pm

Yes, this year has been horrible. Other years, at least some prizes occurred more frequently.

Danny December 30, 2021 - 9:50 pm

I never earned even one star or prize in the last game. I’m done with them.

Dustin Evans December 31, 2021 - 12:48 pm

Go to local shops. Was just in Mexico City. Well just look up the best coffee shops in Mexico City. Know you get a little free coffee. But in Mexico at least and most developing the third world countries. The local coffee is half the price. Which makes the rewards useless anyway. Plus the rewards don’t even transfer between countries anyways. Dont drink Starbucks. So many better options out there.


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