Starbucks Claims $181M in Revenue From Unused Gift Cards and Loyalty Credits


Starbucks reportedly claimed $181 million in revenue from money on gift cards and loyalty accounts that customers didn’t spend in fiscal year 2021 — a figure that amounted to about 1% of its sales and 4.3% of its net income during the year. 

The amount of unused credit claimed that year was up from $145 million in fiscal year 2000, Bloomberg reported Wednesday (Nov. 16). 

The growing amount of money left by customers on their stored-value cards and accounts was disclosed by the Strategic Organizing Center, an organization composed of labor unions, which filed a complaint Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in which it requested an investigation into how the company accounts for that unused money. 

Sources interviewed by Bloomberg said Starbucks’ disclosures around breakage — revenue from services that are paid for but not used — are less detailed than those offered by other companies, even though credit is a significant component of its financial health. 

About 43% of Starbucks’ revenue in fiscal year 2021 came from stored-value programs — a category of products that includes gift cards and rewards that are credits in the company’s loyalty app, according to the report. 

A Starbucks spokesperson declined PYMNTS’ request for comment other than to share a link to the companys most recent annual report.

This report comes about two weeks after Starbucks executives said the company plans to partner with additional companies for cross-brand rewards. 

During Starbucks’ latest quarterly earnings call, held Nov. 3, they said the recent rewards partnership with Delta Air Lines is the first such collaboration of more to come. 

As PYMNTS reported at the time, Starbucks is something of a leader in the restaurant loyalty space, with its loyalty program members contributing 55% of revenue — way over-indexing relative to the general restaurant customer population. 

In addition, the brand saw its base of active loyalty members grow 16% year over year.