Ghetto Lattes: Getting Value Out of Starbucks

Why am I not surprised this is being discussed on Flyeralk? It isn’t miles and points, but it is getting the most for your buck at an upscale merchant.

The Seattle Times reports on Starbucks patrons buying less expensive drinks and upgrading themselves at the condiments counter.

    If someone pays $2 for espresso, then fills half the cup with milk at the condiment bar, is that stealing?

    People are saving $1 to $2 a cup — sometimes more, if they use half-and-half or get extra shots — with creative ordering from the complicated menus of the coffee world.

    There are lots of ways to save. In one scenario, using Starbucks pricing in downtown Seattle, customers pay $2.05 before tax for three shots of espresso over ice. The same beverage with milk — also known as an iced latte with extra espresso — would cost $3.50 before tax.

One Flyertalk commenter suggests:

    1. Ordering a hot chocolate with a shot of espresso. Cheaper than a mocha and exactly the same thing.

    2. Ordering a couple shots off espresso and doctoring it up with large amounts of sugar and half/half at the condiments bar.

    3. Buying their coffee of the day, throwing it in the freezer downstairs and then pouring it over ice later. (*bucks charges almost a dollar more for “iced” coffee.)

(Actually, it strikes me this discussion is more up the alley for the folks at, though I assume — without my actually checking! — that it’s being discussed there as well…)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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