Friday, December 5, 2008

The Benefit of Starbucks Gold for Small Business Owners

OK, I’m almost hesitant to write about this. In my attempt to live large on little, I rarely go to Starbucks anymore, opting to make my own Starbucks treats at home. However, I can see how this could benefit entrepreneurs who work from home and rely on Starbucks for client meetings and to utilize Wi-Fi when they simply aren’t able to work at home. Yes, there are a lot of places that offer free Wi-Fi but Starbucks is pretty comfortable and is often a preferred place to network with other small business owners. So here’s the deal… For an annual membership of $25, you can purchase a Starbucks Gold Card which entitles you to:

- 10% off most purchases in participating U.S. Starbucks stores
- A free drink when you purchase your membership in-store
Then when you register, you get:
- Free Wi-Fi access for up to 2 hours each day in participating Starbucks stores
-A free beverage on your birthday
- Exclusive offers and discounts throughout the year

Starbucks is in the process of transitioning from being a TMobile Hotspot to AT&T. If you only have occasional use for Starbucks Wi-Fi, you could always simply purchase a $5 gift card, make a purchase, register your card and you’ll then be entitled to use their hotspot each day for up to two hours for 30 days from the purchase of the card. If you already have AT&T for your internet service, you’ll already have free access to Wi-Fi at Starbucks and other nationwide hotspots.

On another note, if you’re buying a beverage from 11/27/08 to 1/2/09, make it a Red Exclusive Beverage (Peppermint Twist Mocha, Espresso Truffle or Gingersnap Latte). For every Starbucks Red Exclusive beverage purchased, Starbucks will contribute five cents to the Global Fund to invest in AIDS programs in Africa.


  1. Here in Australia, if you give someone a kickback you need to declare it to the tax dept.
    But... if you get a gift card the rules are different... so giving someone a gift card for starbucks or a large department store is ok.

    I know one person who buys a gift card for himself, and uses it for all his meetings (coffee/wifi) at starbucks.

  2. In the US, Publication 463 of the IRS tax code states, "If you give gifts in the course of your trade or business, you can deduct all or part of the cost. You can deduct no more than $25 for business gifts you give directly or indirectly to each person during your tax year." So, yep, I read that to mean that you can buy a fellow business owner a Starbucks gift card and you can deduct it on your taxes. OK, so here's an interesting question...what would happen if one was to buy a Starbucks gift card in Australia and send it to someone in the US? Would anything register on this end or would the balance come up as zero?


What are your thoughts? Your comments are welcome!