Hand holding phone with starbucks app(l), Woman talking(c), Starbucks frozen drink(r)

Vladimka production/Shutterstock @hii.bren/Tiktok mangpor2004/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Customer shares hack for cashing out Starbucks rewards balance after people complain about ‘boycott fatigue.’ But does it work?

'They have to give it to you.'


Rachel Kiley


Posted on Nov 7, 2023

A frustrated former Starbucks customer claims to have found a solution for anyone hoping to get back money they loaded onto the app.

Pro-Palestine customers have called for a boycott of the company in the wake of a legal dispute between Starbucks and Starbucks Workers United. In October, Starbucks sued the union claiming that a pro-Palestine social media post they made caused damage to the company’s reputation.

In response, the union filed a lawsuit of its own alleging that Starbucks implied they support terrorism because they are pro-Palestine, which they feel similarly caused damage to their reputation.

Many former Starbucks customers have denounced the company as a result. Many customers load up a balance on their Starbucks app to engage with the linked rewards program, so some of those boycotters are trying to get their money back rather than allow it to sit unused on their Starbucks cards.

Some people have had no problems making that happen, while others have faced issues or delays, including being told that they can only receive a refund via check through the mail.

According to TikToker Bren (@hii.bren), there may be another solution.

After calling Starbucks’ customer support, she said she was able to speak to a helpful representative who said they could send her a check but stressed that it could take up to 20 days to arrive. She said she made it clear she just wanted the money back one way or another and said he offered up another option she had never heard about.

“He tells me, ‘Well how about you do this instead so you can get your money quicker, and we can get this over with? Go to a store and show them the balance that you have, and just tell them that you want it in cash, and they have to give it to you,’” she recalled.

@hii.bren #stitch with @Taylee ♬ original sound – Bren ~ skincare + healing

The official terms and conditions of the Starbucks Card claim that any value is “nonrefundable and may not be redeemed for cash,” except where it’s required by law, with an exception in place for a 20-day period following any modifications to the TOC that the customer may disagree with. And the requirements for refunding gift card balances in cash vary by state.

Bren’s suggestion ignited a debate in the comments section, as people weren’t sure whether the advice was legitimate, or where it could be utilized.

“This is 100% real BUT not all states do this,” wrote @evan._.i._.guess. “I’m a partner in California and we no longer pay out cash from the app. We used to but don’t anymore.”

“7-year Starbucks employee here, I have never heard of this. Not saying it’s not real but at least very unheard of,” @musketjones countered.

Several claimed they were only offered a Starbucks gift card with the remaining balance when they tried to close their accounts, while others say they were allowed to request a check.

“Just tried this in a Minnesota location but they turned me away,” @dilithium reported back. Another user suggested that people ask before demanding baristas process a refund for them in this way, as they said they’ve worked in two states where it was not allowed.

Bren didn’t clarify whether or not she was able to get her money back by going to the store directly, but the Daily Dot has reached out to her via TikTok comment as well as to Starbucks via email.

Share this article
*First Published: Nov 7, 2023, 3:45 pm CST