Starbucks for Life

How to Rock #StarbucksForLife Without Breaking the Bank (Featured Image)

So unless you’ve been under a sizeable rock for some time, you’ll know that Starbucks is back with their #StarbucksForLife contest, rewarding droves of java junkies with chances to win several prizes if they complete the contest challenges!

My buddy Zach and I spoke recently about #StarbucksForLife, thinking about the most efficient route to scoring the contest badges in a race to catch ’em all! (Because, you know, who would I be without an obligatory Pokémon reference?)

So, using the information we have so far, here’s a look at how I’d go about getting the maximum impact from the #StarbucksForLife campaign for my fellow Canadians!

How to Rock #StarbucksForLife Without Breaking the Bank—Starbucks for Life Challenges
The full list of #StarbucksForLife Challenges—likely an early prototype, as Afternoon Coffee Break seems renamed to BRB and This One’s On Me is absent from the current board.

Here’s how the Canadian challenges work out:

  • Getting the Hang of It: Play Starbucks for Life 3 days in a row.
  • Hot Streak: Make a purchase for 5 consecutive days in a row.
  • Regular Joe: Make 10 separate purchases at the same Starbucks® store.
  • BRB: Make a purchase between 2-4 pm.
  • BF 4 EAE: Complete this challenge by referring a friend to play through the Facebook and/or Twitter buttons below. Please note, your friend must register for the Starbucks for Life1 promotion for you to complete this challenge.
  • All Day: Make a purchase with your Starbucks® app or registered card before 12 pm and one after 12 pm in a single day.
  • Jump the Line: Make 3 separate purchases by ordering ahead through the Starbucks® app. (Mobile order and pay is not available in Quebec. Residents of Quebec can complete the challenge by requesting free plays via the link in the footer and following the steps on site.)
  • Early Riser: Make 3 separate purchases before 7 am.
  • Coffee Ranger: Make a purchase at 5 different participating Starbucks® stores. (Note: While this is the condition needed to get Coffee Ranger, for many players, they get the checkmarks, but the game doesn’t award them the completion. I assume it’s a bug and that Starbucks is well aware of it….)
  • Weekender: Make a purchase on a Saturday or Sunday. (Thanks to Wendy for the confirmation!)
  • Recharge: Make a purchase of $10 or more with your Starbucks® app or registered card between 2-5 pm.
  • Best Barista Ever: Submit the name of your favourite local barista and one thing you love about them.
  • Social Butterfly: What would you order every day if you had Starbucks for Life? Post a pic of your choice on Instagram and use #StarbucksforLife and #contest. Then connect with your Instagram account using the button below.
  • Badge Collector: Complete 7 challenges.
  • Coffee with Friends: Make a purchase of $15 or more in a single order.

Now, like any good couponer could tell you, the real value in mastering #StarbucksForLife comes in stacking—using overlapping challenges to complete them all in the least trips possible! As long as you don’t start on a Monday, you should be able to do this in five days.

A couple of things before starting:

  • You’re going to want a Starbucks you can visit several times for five days in a row
  • You’ll need to be able to hit Starbucks before 7 AM a few times

Those in mind, here’s how it breaks down:

DAY 1 MORNING (before 7 AM)

  • use the mobile app to order ahead and hit your local Starbucks before 7 AM to start your day
  • log in to #StarbucksForLife and send your barista a nice note (Best Barista Ever)
  • share your drink on Instagram with the #StarbucksForLife and #contest hashtags (Social Butterfly)
  • coerce convince a friend on Twitter or Facebook to sign up with your referral code (BF 4 EAE)
  • also, make sure to ask your barista for a one-time use code so you can get an extra play for #StarbucksForLife! (The codes are obtained either in-store or online over the course of the game and can only be used once no matter where you get it from, so may as well get it out of the way.)


  • you’ll need to make a large order through the Starbucks app of $15+ and order ahead (BRB, Coffee with Friends, All Day, Recharge, Badge Collector)

DAY 2 MORNING (before 7 AM)

  • use the mobile app one last time to order ahead and hit your chosen Starbucks before 7 AM (Jump the Line)
  • log in to Starbucks for Life


  • get your Starbucks

DAY 3 MORNING (before 7 AM)

  • visit Starbucks (Early Riser)
  • login to Starbucks for Life (Hang of it)


  • hit Starbucks one more time


  • visit Starbucks twice


  • visit Starbucks twice (Hot Streak, Regular Joe)

And there you go! Assuming you didn’t start on Monday, you’ll have a weekend day in there and presumably score the Weekender, and only be left with Coffee Ranger, which is still a mystery to us all.

Now if you’re like me and know there’re certain badges you haven’t a ghost’s chance of getting (because any parent with a toddler who can get out to a Starbucks before 7 AM is downright impressive), worry not—there’re other options available!

If you look near the bottom of the #StarbucksForLife screen, you’ll see a disclaimer marked:

**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A purchase of any kind will not increase your chances of winning. To enter without making a purchase, click here.

If you do as it says, it takes you to a page where you can earn 2 plays per day against a challenge of your choice! Great way to fill in the blanks if you—say—don’t have an Instagram account, or you’re playing with a Starbucks Rewards card and don’t have the app, you can still stay well in the game.

So good luck trying to get your #StarbucksForLife—if you happen to win, don’t forget the guy who pointed you in the right direction; you have until January 16th to get in on the action!

Enjoy the java!

Until the next,

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

By Casey E. Palmer

Husband. Father. Storyteller. Calling the Great White North his home, Casey Palmer the Canadian Dad spend his free time in pursuit of the greatest content possible. Thousand-word blog posts? Snapshots from life? Sketches and podcasts and more—he's more than just a dad blogger; he's working to change what's expected of the parenting creators of the world. It's about so much more than just our kids. When Casey's not creating, he's busy parenting, adventuring, trying to be a good husband and making the most of his life! Casey lives in Toronto, Ontario.


    1. I got at least 24 duplicated game pieces, which mean 6 extra plays. That’s suck. Do Starbucks want it to be works for us?

      1. Coffee ranger isn’t about multiple stores since I only have one more check mark to go and I only visit two stores, I think it just has to do with purchasing coffee because that’s usually what I get.

  1. Hey Casey, don’t forget about the No Purchase Necessary option. There is a link in the tiniest font ever at the bottom of the screen. Enter your contact details and they’ll email you a free play daily! Good luck & thanks for the tips!

      1. All of the paid challenges can be instantly completed with no purchase. Just select the option in the no purchase necessary form and click the link they email. No purchase necessary means you can get the most out of this promotion with $0 spent.

        1. Yes, with the caveat that you’ll lose plays on any challenge that awards more than 2 plays since the game will only give you 2 free plays per day, thus reducing your chances to get the big prizes. I need to revise the strategy for sure, but I think the one-time payment of $15 still stands to maximize the number of plays you can get from Starbucks for Life. It’ll take some rethinking to make sure all the pieces come together correctly.

          1. The ‘2 free plays per day’ is only for the ‘daily entry’. I just started this morning and had 25 free plays (all ‘purchase’ challenges + 2 daily entries).

          2. FYI — getting fewer plays does reduce the chance of winning, but it is all about WHEN you click on the game piece: Randomly generated time-of-day is when the very few “rare” game pieces become available. When they DO enter the system at a random time, the next person who clicks on their game piece, WINS it. Here are the official rules:
            “Each Rare Game Piece will be associated with a random, computer generated winning time during
            the Promotion Period. If you are the first player to play the Game at or after the randomly generated
            winning time you will be awarded a Rare Game Piece.”

    1. Thanks, Michael!

      At the bottom of the window for BF 4 EAE, it has Facebook and Twitter icons similar to what you see below:

      How to Rock #StarbucksForLife Without Breaking the Bank — Challenges — BF 4 EAE

      Clicking either of these will take you to the appropriate service to share your referral URL.

      1. Thanks! Found the ID number within the link it creates. Problem is getting someone to sign up without offending them XD

        1. No, they’re the same code so people don’t grab a stack of them. Also, testing this theory today, but I think coffee ranger is to go to different stores

  2. Ack I wish I saw this post I started playing, would have used your referral for sure.

    Thanks for the play map! I was trying to think it through over my first game cup lol.

  3. Coffee Ranger I’m pretty sure, it’s to visit different Starbucks’ and makes a purchase. Cause my husband ALWAYS goes to the same Starbucks and I go to one on occasion at work. Before I went to my work one today, I had one check mark, now after my work visit, I got another check mark.

  4. I wonder if the Coffee Ranger has to do with purchasing from more than one location, perhaps even 3 different stores, since it is worth 3 plays. Regular Joe is all about being loyal to one store; it makes sense that they would also reward customers who go all over. Curious to see if anyone tests this out.

    1. I saw a message on Twitter that indicated Coffee Ranger means you have to go to five different Starbucks stores. Since I was heading out for my afternoon coffee anyway, I went a few blocks away from my regular store to a different store, then came back to check my points. Sure enough, I had a new point added to Coffee Ranger, so I’m guessing that’s correct. Might upset the beautiful plan that Casey outlined, but we still don’t have to go broke…we just might have to add a few days to our agenda.

      1. Yeah, I’m definitely thinking along the same lines. I’ll have to consider some options — using the option of two free plays a day should help to keep the number of days to a minimum, but it’ll take some thinking ????

        1. Ooh! Maybe you can work it out so we could still pull it off within a week…without going broke! I’ve been following your beautiful plan to a tee and now have just two Coffee Ranger checks and three Regular Joe checks to collect. Wahoo!!

  5. Re:Coffee Ranger
    At 4pm I bought two bags of Christmas Reserve, and 1 shot of espresso in one purchase and now have 1 check in the Coffee Ranger box. So for variables, could it mean buying a Christmas blend, a Reserve coffee, two bags of coffee or even a 1 shot of espresso?

    1. I have three check marks right now and only buy one item at a store. I ordered a peppermint mocha and chestnut praline latte at those stores. I can’t vouch for if it is/not Christmas blend, food or drink related but I will try out this morning by ordering an americano or cappucino. Either way I will be going to my fourth different store. If I get a check for that, I will let y’all know…I will let you know anyways. 🙂
      I’m more on the lines that we just need to visit different stores, which connects “Ranger” to that challenge. Have to travel for this badge, maybe. :/ 🙂

    2. I think you may have just helped me figure this one out, I know it has nothing to do with different stories because I have 4 checks and have only visited two stores, I think it involves getting the five different versions or varieties or sizes of coffee. I routinely get short, tall, and venti coffees and refills. I will get a grande today and test my hypothesis!

  6. I think RANGER is: You get a checkmark for each DIFFERENT STARBUCKS STORE you make a purchase from.

  7. Have you figured out what Coffee Ranger challenge may be? Is it acquired by purchasing each at different Starbucks locations? #StarbucksforLifetips

  8. where do I enter the BF 4 EAE thing? I posted the Facebook link for my mom to join and she did, but can’t figure out where to put a referral code? Is this how it’s done? I don’t have a check mark yet for her joining.

  9. I was thinking Coffee Ranger Might be buying just a regular cup of joe. I have a couple of checkmarks, and I buy a Pikes Place regularly. I do however, visit other stores, so that idea about 5 different locations may work, but have just been going to one lately. Also, I live in the US.

  10. All I have left is the same store visit I am 6/10 and coffee ranger 3/5. I go to grocery store and target in addition to the 3 regular starbucks I frequent (home, work, and gym) so apparently the kroger/target visits do not count for the coffee ranger. I have tried buying multiple ways at my home store app, multiple app orders and in store and it reads all 3 as one visit. I got the weekend check from my daily morning order of skinny mocha and black mango tea lemonade.

  11. Coffee Ranger is hitting up 5 different Starbucks locations. Not sure if the ones inside Target count toward this or not.

  12. Sharing because your post still says speculation:
    Weekender is make a purchase on Saturday or Sunday.
    Coffee Ranger is make a purchase at 5 different locations, I will say with this one I’d try to do actual stores and not those in grocery stores or theme parks just in case. Doesn’t hurt to purchase at those locations but sometimes they don’t apply to all of the options.

  13. I second the Coffee Ranger speculation. I have been to three different stores, and I have three checkmarks at this point.

  14. Hi All-

    I am on my way, but have one challenge that’s difficult to finish because I’m not on facebook. If anyone is feeling generous please sign up using my referral link so that I can get the BF 4 EAE badge! Thanks!

  15. Hey all,

    Just piping in regarding the “Coffee Ranger” challenge. My partner and I have both acquired all 5 check marks, but the box still doesn’t turn red! We don’t know if this means there’s still something we need to do to finally “unlock” the challenge (the description hasn’t changed to reveal what the challenge is, like it does for other fulfilled challenges), or if it’s because this is a challenge that can be fulfilled multiple times even though there are no more check marks to tick off…we haven’t been keeping track of where our extra plays are coming from, so we aren’t sure if we’ve gotten extra plays from this challenge or not.

    We also don’t believe that the purchases are specific to coffee, since my partner only purchases coffee, and I don’t purchase coffee at all, and we were both able to get the 5 check marks. We’ve also visited a more than 5 locations, purchased drinks, food, and merchandise, and received no additional check marks and the challenge remains unfulfilled.

    So it seems that in addition to the 5 visits to 5 different stores, there is an extra thing that must be done aside from just making purchases!

    1. Thanks, Gabriella – the only reason I haven’t updated it yet is because I need someone to send me a screenshot showing the completed badge, but everyone seems to have problems getting it to convert over to red =/

      1. I’ve completed it, not even realizing I was doing it. I do drive all over town and pop into different stores. I have the screenshots, if you want to see the badge in red.

  16. A tip for Early Riser:

    There’s no way I’m getting to a Starbucks store on my way to work before 7am.

    However, I ordered a coffee via the mobile app at 6:55. Went to the Starbucks in my sweats and picked the coffee up at 7:01 and brought home to finish my morning routine with personal cup full of my favorite coffee. 🙂

  17. coffee ranger isn’t about actual coffee, as I only drink lattes and I have one check mark for it, im going to go to diff stores to see if it is 5 diff locations, also for fave barista you don’t need a actual name I just put all of them and it accepted it

    and for the refer a friend one if anyone is willing to take my code let me know and I will post thanks

  18. Coffee ranger is NOT about different locations. Sorry Y’all I have 4 checks and I have only been to two locations.

    1. I have 5 checks and have note been to 5 locations, but the badge is not turning red. This could mean that you get a check for each store, but it doesn’t turn red until you’ve hit 5.

  19. Anyone else keep getting an error message when they try to link their Instagram account? I have tried everything I can think of to try and get it connected and I keep getting the error message. Very frustrating!

  20. Ok I have 5 checks for coffee ranger however it did not light up red or give me my extra plays. I had 4 yesterday and today I went to my normal Starbucks and got my regular pile place with an extra shot no room! Nothing special and the same Starbucks I stop at everyday…….

  21. I had five check marks for Coffee Ranger yesterday. The box did not change colors. Today, I have no check marks and no free plays for Coffee Ranger. Help!

    1. Me too! Is that the mystery? Where did the check marks go and why? Is there a time element about how soon you do whatever triggers a check mark?

      1. Hooray! Success at last! I had all five check marks but no red Coffee Ranger badge. Like others, I had them wiped clean to zero. Today I tried a completely new location, and now the Coffee Ranger badge is red. Give it a try everyone. Hope you are successful too.

  22. Coffee Ranger is not about visiting locations or buying coffee. Per comments elsewhere, and my own experience, it has to do with how many challenges you complete. I have been doing free game plays only, just completed my first challenge, and got a check mark for Coffee Ranger today.

    1. Actually, I’m going to have to disagree there.

      One reader sent me a look at what the completed Coffee Ranger description looks like and here it is:

      Completed Coffee Ranger Description

      So it clearly states that it’s about visiting 5 different participating Starbucks locations to get the badge.

      Even if it wasn’t, here’s a look at my map and the incomplete Coffee Ranger badge for additional proof:

      Casey Palmer's Starbucks Challenge Map

      Incomplete Coffee Ranger Badge

      Hope that helps!


      –case p.

      1. Is there a time limit to coffee ranger? Or did they realize there was a glitch and reset the ones that had 5 but had not been to 5 locations? I had 5 checks last night but had only gone to 2 locations. Today I went to my 3rd. When I checked tonight they were all gone! 🙁 anyone know?

          1. Oh, totes believe you — it looks like many of us had accumulated a bunch of Coffee Ranger checks, but they realized it was glitchy, and I guess in fixing it they wiped a bunch of people’s progress?

            Can’t confirm that it’s actually fixed, though.

            1. Yes, it’s fixed. See my earlier post explaining how it turned red for me. Just to clarify, there was no intermediate stage of gold, it went straight from white to red. So the full steps for me were – white, gold (accumulate five checks but no red), back to white (no checks), red.

              Go out and purchase at a new store (anything- I bought cashews only) and when you have bought at 5 stores you should go red. Happy Starbucking!

            2. They came back 🙂 but I still need one more! Has anyone won one of the Starbucks for life prizes?

  23. Duplicate badges gave keys but no extra plays. In stag ram connection never worked. No purchase necessary “click here” link is not on any of my info.

  24. Just to clarify: In relation to the ‘no purchase necessary’ way of playing, the ‘daily play’ maximum is 2 plays per day BUT you can send that form with your address multiple times and get the other challenges completed ALL in the same day. I have completed most of the challenges this way in the last hour except the mystery challenges (currently coffee ranger and weekender). I’m leery of this competition now as it seems the chances of winning anything at all are very low. Checking on Twitter it seems everybody has identical scoreboards that tease by giving you 2 out of 3 of everything and then just clocking up duplicates. Even getting a few more stars for our efforts would be something but it seems they are being stingy with those too after the initial ‘hook’.

    1. FYI, winning a “Rare Game Piece” depends on WHEN you click on your game play. There are randomly generated times when a Rare piece is available. When that random time arrives (say, 12:51 ET), the next person who clicks, wins that “Rare” piece. SO, when you play, it is TOTALLY based on WHEN you ‘click’ on the box!
      Here are the official rules that explains this:
      “Each Rare Game Piece will be associated with a random, computer generated winning time during
      the Promotion Period. If you are the first player to play the Game at or after the randomly generated
      winning time you will be awarded a Rare Game Piece.”

  25. Social Butterfly challenge doesn’t work. When you try to Connect your Instagram account the App logs you out, and when you sign in again, it generates an error, asks you to refresh the screen, gives you the Sign In screen again, then generates an error again.

    Using the No Purchase Necessary link I was able to complete the Social Butterfly challenge. Not that it means anything, unless you’re the type of person that likes to catch ’em all, which I am 😉

  26. Could you please do the same article based on the new Starbucks bingo. Plz

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