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Delta Devalues Starbucks Partnership by Changing Mileage Earnings

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Stella Shon
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Stella Shon

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With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...
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Juan Ruiz

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Juan has extensive experience in writing and editing content related to credit cards, loyalty programs, and travel. He has been honing his expertise in this field for over a decade. His work has been ...

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Sipping your next Starbucks drink may be a little less rewarding for Delta flyers.

The loyalty partnership, which launched in 2022, allows Delta SkyMiles members to link their Starbucks Rewards accounts to earn miles.

The math was simple: earn 1 mile per dollar spent at the popular coffee chain. While that may not amount to a huge amount of miles, it’s a “set it and forget it” type of situation to link the 2 programs and effortlessly earn rewards.

However, Delta has announced that it has made “changes to how you earn with Starbucks,” and it will likely be a devaluation for most people.

Here are the details.

Reload Starbucks Gift Cards To Earn Delta Miles

There are many ways to earn Delta SkyMiles besides flying. From spending on Delta cards to shopping on its online portal, savvy travelers can rack up miles quickly for their next award flight.

Delta also maintains a roster of partners in which members can earn miles, including Airbnb and Lyft. However, partnerships come and go, as evidenced by the Instacart partnership that ended late last year.

Now, SkyMiles members will only earn rewards when loading gift cards (of $25 increments or more) to their account:

  • Reload $25 to $49.99, earn 25 SkyMiles
  • Reload $50 to $74.99, earn 75 SkyMiles
  • Reload $75 to $99.99, earn 125 SkyMiles
  • Reload $100, earn 200 SkyMiles

In terms of the good news, you’ll earn 2x SkyMiles when reloading $100 in gift cards (register here first). That’s double the rate you’d earned previously. In addition, the first 500,000 SkyMiles members to reload $25 (or more) in gift cards will earn an extra 50 bonus miles if they enroll for the promotion by Friday, June 14, at 5 p.m. EST and reload by Sunday, June 16, to earn.

In addition, you’ll still earn Double Stars when you make a purchase through the Starbucks app on Delta travel days.

Starbucks coffee in front of the pool
Delta has made changes to its Starbucks partnership. Image Credit: Katie Seemann

However, individuals who prefer paying for drinks on the go will no longer earn miles. Instead, you’ll only earn miles if you reload $25 or more in gift cards every time you order Starbucks and pay with them.

There’s no clear reason as to why Delta and Starbucks have changed their mileage earnings. However, we can only guess that encouraging people to reload gift cards in large sums — rather than paying for each drink separately — means more breakage for people who forget that they even had gift cards in the first place. (After all, a data study from Capital One found that 47% of Americans have unused gift cards in their wallet!).

Hot Tip:

For the 2025 Medallion year, Platinum and Diamond Medallion elite status holders can now choose 6,000 Stars as a Choice Benefit, increased from 4,000 Stars. But you’ll likely not want to choose this reward and go for global and regional upgrade certificates instead.

Final Thoughts

Unless you’re a serious Starbucks drinker, it’s unlikely you spent enough money to earn a meaningful amount of miles from this partnership. However, with these recent changes, it’s important to know that you will no longer earn SkyMiles at Starbucks unless you reload gift cards.

Stella Shon's image

About Stella Shon

With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in The New York Times, USA Today, and more.

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