The $20 Starbucks latte -- free!

Elaborate transfers of credit card rewards work wonders -- if you're crazy enough.

By doubleace May 17, 2011 11:48AM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.


He must be the Lex Luthor of credit card manipulation, a genius gone wrong. Like Superman's archenemy, he has decided to use his immense powers in perverted ways.


On, poster "CreditCardGuru" begins by promising -- innocently enough -- to show you how to score free drinks from Starbucks, whose products are described as his guilty but overpriced pleasure.

And he delivers, taking you on a compelling journey that begins with maxing out the 5% cash rewards from the Discover More card, then redeeming them through a Starbucks gift card that gives you $50 for every $45 in Discover dollars ("that's an 11.11% boost in value," he exclaims). 


Next, the $50 is loaded onto an old Starbucks Rewards card that has achieved "gold" status by being used to buy 30 or more drinks. The payback here: free syrup and milk options. And every 15 drinks purchased on the gold card earns you a free one. 


CreditCardGuru, his money-saver's heart still pure at this point, details how you can, by building your own using the free syrup and milk options, get a "ghetto latte" costing $2.30 that's identical to the $4.65 Grande Café Latte. Post continues after video.

His eyes now feverish with bargain lust, he notes that the best way to maximize your free drink certificate is ordering "the most extravagant beverages imaginable" off what's available on the Starbucks menu. That would be, he says, a $13 or $14 version of the 20-ounce white chocolate mocha.


Here he goes serious off track, fantasizing on just how expensive a creation he could get for free. "I knew I could do better," he rationalizes.

So he clogs up the line at the Starbucks on Highland in Hollywood -- I've been there. Not a wise thing to do; the customers tend to be a bit edgy -- and orders this: One pump of every single syrup available, extra caramel sauce, soy and 22 extra shots (24 total) of espresso containing the same amount of caffeine that's in 22½ cans of Red Bull.


A $20.65 drink -- free! Check here to see the receipt.


How did it taste? CreditCardGuru sniffed it -- "smelled like burnt pine cone" -- and tossed it into the trash. He had come to the brink and stopped. This time.


More on MSN Money:


What a waste of time, energy and a potentially good coffee.  Ugh.
Jun 12, 2011 1:52PM
A genius gone RIGHT more like it!  I actually have a Discover More card and didn't know about the extra points associated with Starbucks.  
May 17, 2011 2:08PM
"CreditCardGuru", I laugh in your face. Any idiot who would waste that much time trying to score that swill Starbucks tries to pass off as coffee must be a brain-dead retread.

Shame, how many people haven't got the slightest idea what *good* coffee tastes like. And those sissy lattes don't count.
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