My new favorite piece of plastic, er, metal in my wallet…

As a stay-at-home blogger I’m more of a Starbucks fanatic than I care to admit. It’s not that I think their drinks are especially good, but when you work from home it’s nice to make your local Starbucks a temporary “office” for a few hours for a change of scenery.

Even though I’ve been going to Starbucks several times a week for years, I only really learned about the Starbucks Rewards program last June, and earned Gold status with them within a few weeks (Gold status takes 30 “swipes” per year). It’s nice to get a few extra perks for the drinks you buy anyway…

Then my Gold card arrived in the mail, and I thought I was badass. I figured there would be a secret handshake, a priority Gold ordering line, and that Barista’s phone numbers would be flying my way. And then I realized that everyone else was Gold, and that there was none of that.

Fast forward to a few days ago. A friend of mine who doesn’t drink coffee was telling me how he has the metal Starbucks card. A what…?

He explained it to me. Late last year Gilt and Starbucks sold 5,000 limited edition metal Starbucks cards that come with Gold status, and they sold out instantaneously.

Have you ever had elite status in a program and then had that epiphany that there’s a higher secret tier? Yeah, I felt kind of like that. I’m not going to lie, I was kind of ticked that he didn’t tell me about these cards before they went on sale, given that he knows how addicted I am to Starbucks. Apparently he thought I knew about it, which is why he didn’t tell me.

He’s far too good of a friend, because yesterday one of these bad boys arrived in the mail:

I took it for a spin yesterday, and the fanfare is downright uncomfortable. Think comments like “OH MY GOD THIS IS ONE OF THOSE CARDS,” or “hmmm, there’s something wrong with your card, we’re going to have to confiscate it.”

Anyway, while at the end of the day there are no benefits of substance to this card (other than Gold status which I earn anyway), it has had the effect of convincing me to at least shower before visiting my local Starbucks, which I guess is a win-win.

Any fellow metal cardholders out there?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. A “secret” club that gets you almost no benefits? Kinda like being AA Gold. HEYOH!

    Starbucks recently went through a bit of a PR crisis when they removed certain benefits from Gold status (who knew people loved their free soy milk that much?!) so I’m wondering if this is somehow related to that. Status that doesn’t actually bring you status to mend fences.

  2. A great PR move that clearly worked to create buzz for a day or two. I use the Starbucks and Passbook apps on my iPhone so I don’t have to carry a card around. This really is a niche group that would use this in person.

  3. Once upon a time I would have been all over this, but like DeltaTraveler above, I use the Passbook app. It’s one less card to carry and it continuously shows my updated account balance. So it feels about a year too late.

  4. Good PR as DeltaTraveler said. I don’t even know where my Gold Card is since I use my iPhone. And Nathan is right, too. The only thing worse than Starbucks coffee is Starbucks food, although they are every so slowly improving it (a few stores have fresh-baked cookies that are at least better than United’s).

  5. My siblings and I purchased one for my mom for Xmas … and it was one of the coolest things we’ve found for her and as someone that starts every day there, We knew there was nothing else we could get her for Xmas. Her local baristas know her “complicated order” even at the drive thru.

  6. I belong to a nationwide club going through some significant restructuring, and one of the hot points was whether or not to issue membership cards. The ability to look up info online was one reson put forth to not spend the money on physical cards. Ultimately we decided to do the cards, because more people wanted to hold a real card in their hand.

    So, sure, a lot of people use their smartphones and whatnot instead of a card. I still have one of the original, black cards I use every day. (Literally, every day.) I could switch to a smartphone, but I prefer to hand a card over for swiping.

    I would have bought one of these, but I had a lag before the funds were available, and they were gone before I could get one. Bummer.

  7. Starbucks is gross, and it’s a shame you’re wasting your time in one when there are so many rad coffee shops scattered throughout the Seattle area.

  8. OK I actually have one too — It was an easy $400 to reach a minimum spend faster on $$ I’d spend throughout the year anyways.

  9. meh … i’ll skip the card in my wallet and stick with using the ‘touch to pay’ feature of the starbucks app on my iphone.

  10. I never use physical cards any more (iPhone Starbucks app for me, too). I gave my physical card to my wife so she gets gold status, too.

  11. How I wish posts were editable!

    I think I’ll just buy the Starbucks (referring to the physical shop, not a cup of coffee) near me. (Using my own metal card (Sapphire and not Starbucks Gold) of course to get points.)

  12. Two words: Jura Capresso. If I’ve made a better purchase in the last several years, I don’t recall it. I will still go to my local coffee shop to be sociable from time to time, but not for the coffee.

  13. Who cares about a physical card at Starbucks anymore? 100% of the time I’m using Passbook or the Starbucks app.

  14. I was a fellow card holder of 11 of these bad boys! Then I flipped them for about $4000 profit. Gotta love the iSheep culture!

  15. my niece bought one for my dad as a christmas gift and he was as thrilled as a peacock, although we knew nothing about the card! she paid $450 on gilt and it came loaded with $400 in s’bucks credit. grandpa and the bad boys (4 men in their 80’s) sit and chat at s’bucks every morning for hours and buy drip coffee :)… they about had apoplexy when grandpa showed up with the card and told them all about it.

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