My Starbucks Rewards
Long holiday shopping trips and cooler temperatures make cocoa and coffee a part of the shopping routine pretty quickly. You may as well get something other than jitters and an impromptu trip to the ladies' or gentlemens' convenience for your trouble.

Starbucks' ( SBUX) rewards program is one of the best in the industry based solely on just how little is required to earn rewards. Just buying a card and registering it gets drinkers a free beverage for their birthday. Five purchases unlocks free syrup and milk options, free refills and a free drink when you buy a one-pound bag of beans.

It's a bit tougher to make the 25 extra visits to reach "gold" level by the holiday's end, and a free drink comes only every 15 purchases after that, but it still beats competitors' dollar-based rewards systems that give only a dollar back for every 20 spent and provide none of the other perks. It takes a lot of loyalty to earn that personalized gold card, but the freebies that come before make Starbucks' card worth the wallet space.

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