Starbucks Card Celebrates 20th Holiday Season

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on December 7, 2020

While the holidays are looking different than in year’s past, people are seeking out ways to stay connected to one another. And when it comes to gift giving, the gift card is poised to be one of the most accessible ways to show someone you care during this unprecedented gift giving season, with a recent study finding over half of consumers surveyed are more likely to buy additional gift cards this season than years past.

This year marks twenty holiday seasons since the first Starbucks Card debuted, a milestone moment for the popular holiday gift. At a time when we’re all thinking of how we celebrated holidays past, Starbucks is opening the vault to share a nostalgic look back at two decades of Starbucks Cards, complete with a digital re-release of the first-ever holiday gift card, available for a limited-time as a Starbucks eGift!

Here’s how the Starbucks Card has evolved over the years:

  • The first Starbucks holiday card debuted twenty holiday seasons ago in 2001. Starbucks was among the first major retailers to offer a reloadable card and sold nearly 200,000 in the first week alone. This card came complete with a tiny owner’s manual and a toll-free number!
  • The Starbucks Card gained its benefits in 2008. Originally loaded with a specific dollar amount, in 2008 the cards could be used to enroll in the new Starbucks Rewards program to accumulate stars for free drinks.
  • In 2011, every iPhone became a Starbucks Card with the launch of mobile payment through the Starbucks App. By February of that year, Starbucks also rolled out the option to send gift by email.
  • As of 2020, Starbucks eGift cards can be instantly purchased and gifted online, through the Starbucks app and in iMessage! A recent study found that 63 percent of consumers report they’re less likely to travel for the holidays and will buy gift cards for those they can’t see, and 82 percent of employees said they’d like to receive a gift card from their employer as a holiday gift, making this the perfect contactless gift to show family, friends and colleagues you are thinking of them and you care.