You Can Now Earn 2X Delta SkyMiles on Starbucks Purchases -- but There's a Catch


A smiling person sitting at a table in a coffee shop and looking at a phone in their hand
A smiling person sitting at a table in a coffee shop and looking at a phone in their hand

Image source: Getty Images

In October 2022, Delta and Starbucks announced a partnership. The two brands teamed up to offer Delta SkyMiles and Starbucks Rewards members additional opportunities to earn rewards. After linking both rewards program accounts, members could earn bonus Delta SkyMiles when making Starbucks purchases. However, due to a recent program update, the way you earn miles is changing. Find out what you need to know before you make your next Starbies run.

You'll earn miles when you reload a Starbucks gift card

Previously, those who linked their Delta SkyMiles and Starbucks Rewards accounts could earn bonus rewards in the following ways:

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  • Earn one mile per $1 on Starbucks purchases

  • Earn 2X stars on purchases made at participating Starbucks stores on travel days when flying on a Delta or Delta-operated flight

Travelers will continue to earn 2X stars when making Starbucks purchases on days when they're flying on a Delta or Delta-operated flight. But Delta SkyMiles are now earned differently.

Instead of earning one mile per $1 spent at Starbucks, members will only earn bonus miles when reloading Starbucks gift cards in their Starbucks Rewards account. Reloads of at least $25 or more earn miles -- but members who make larger reloads can earn more. You can earn up to 2 miles with a reload of $100. The Starbucks mobile app makes it easy to buy and reload gift cards.

Here's an overview of how you'll earn miles under the new program rules.

Reload amount

25 miles

75 miles

125 miles

200 miles

Data source: Email from Delta Air Lines

Here's why this could be a good thing

Your initial reaction may be that this is all bad news -- but it's not. Sure, you won't earn bonus miles automatically when you order a coffee like you previously did. Instead, you'll need to reload at least $25 to earn miles.

This change encourages you to reload Starbucks gift cards. And that is a win for your star rewards balance, too. Why? Starbucks Rewards members who pay for purchases with Starbucks gift cards earn more stars than those who use other payment methods.

  • Earn one star per $1 when you pay with cash, mobile wallets, debit cards, or credit cards

  • Earn two stars per $1 when you pay with a physical or digital Starbucks gift card

When you use Starbucks gift cards as your payment method, you'll earn more stars to get closer to your redemption goals. If you've been using a different payment method, this program change might not be so bad because it'll encourage you to maximize your earnings.

Reload with a credit card to boost your rewards

I have more good news: You can reload your Starbucks gift cards using a credit card. But only charge what you can afford. For example, if you're considering reloading your Starbucks Rewards account with $100 to earn 200 bonus miles, only do this if you can afford to pay this debt off entirely as soon as your credit card statement arrives.

However, paying with a rewards credit card is an excellent way to boost your rewards. Consider using a cash back credit card to earn cash on your Starbies runs. Check out our list of the best cash back credit cards to learn more about the features of each card on our list.

If you're a Delta SkyMiles and Starbucks Rewards program member, remember this news the next time you open the Starbucks app. Don't miss out on the chance to earn bonus rewards.

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We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Natasha Gabrielle has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Starbucks. The Motley Fool recommends Delta Air Lines. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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