Nov 15, 2023 - Economy

Red Cup Day returns to Starbucks Thursday with free cups

Two hands (one wearing beige shirt and other red shirt) holding a red Starbucks cup

Starbucks Red Cup Day is back for the sixth year. Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks

Starbucks is giving away free reusable cups Thursday for its sixth Red Cup Day.

Why it matters: The coffee giant's highly anticipated day is considered the start of the holiday season by many and comes two weeks after holiday drinks returned.

Starbucks free Red Cup Day: How to get reusable cup

How it works: Order any size handcrafted holiday drink or fall beverage on Thursday, Nov. 16 and get a reusable red cup for free, while supplies last.

  • The free holiday cup will be included for orders placed in store, at the drive-thru, on the Starbucks app and delivery with Starbucks Delivery.

Of note: At most Starbucks locations, the beverages won't actually be served in the reusable cups on Thursday.

  • The reusable mugs will instead be offered on the side, and drinks will come in regular disposable cups.

Starbucks strike could affect some stores

Driving the news: Around 200 unionized stores are planning to strike in a "Red Cup Rebellion" over staffing and scheduling on Thursday, which is considered one of Starbucks' busiest days,

  • Starbucks Workers United said in a news release that thousands of baristas will wage the company's largest strike and the walkout is expected to cover twice the number of stores than last year.
  • The union is also calling on Starbucks to "turn off mobile ordering on future promotion days."

What they're saying: "We are aware that Workers United has publicized a day of action at a small subset of our U.S. stores this week, but expect that customers interested in our reusable red cup will be able to participate in the giveaway, as planned," a Starbucks spokesperson told Axios.

  • Customers can use the Starbucks app or store locator to find an open store, Starbucks said.

Starbucks holiday drinks 2023

Qualifying holiday beverages for Thursday's giveaway include the Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte, Gingerbread Latte, Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai, Oleato Gingerbread Oatmilk Latte, Peppermint Mocha and Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte.

  • Fall drinks like the — Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato, Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso, Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew and Pumpkin Spice Latte — also are eligible for a free cup Thursday.
  • Hot chocolate drinks are included in Thursday's offer.

Red Cup 2023 reusable cups

Details: This year's free cup is made with 75% recycled material, which is up from 50% recycled content last year, per Starbucks.

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