TikTokers Share Secrets to Hacking Starbucks App for Discounted Drinks | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

These two TikTokers are among many hacking Starbucks’ app to get cheap beverages.
TikTok screenshots

  • TikTokers are hacking Starbucks’ mobile app to get drinks at a deep discount.
  • Many of the hacks start with buying iced espresso, then customizing it. 
  • “It feels illegal that I just bought this coffee for $3,” one TikToker said.

Savvy TikTokers looking to save more than pennies on their favorite Starbucks drink are showing coffee lovers how to hack the chain’s app to save money on premium drinks such as a pumpkin spiced latte.

One TikToker said she knocked off about 50% on a venti iced coffee with her mobile app hack.

“It feels illegal that I just bought this coffee for $3,” said a TikToker with the handle @sophiacelentano48.

In the video, the University of Virginia student demonstrates how she creates a large iced latte at Starbucks for half the price, or under $4, by hacking the chain’s app. The hack begins by ordering an iced triple espresso. It costs $3.35 and includes a choice of creamer. Then, for $1.25, you customize the drink by adding a cold foam, she said.

“Usually, this drink ends up being like right under $5,” she said.

There’s one additional hack for loyalty members.

“But if you have 25 stars in your account, which really isn’t that hard to get, you can customize your drink for free, so the cold foam was free, and the creamer is included with the espresso shots, so this drink was less than $4 and I usually end up spending at least double that,” she said.

Insider checked out the hack to see if it was legit. We discovered that a venti iced caffe latte with cold foam in Orange, California, costs about $6.70. We followed her instructions and were able to get the same drink for $3.60.

Another TikToker named @jadeleasy showed her followers how to get an iced pumpkin spice latte for under $4. She said the lattes she buys run around $8, but “I get mine for $3.75- $4 max,” she said. “Here’s what I do.”

Like the @sophiacelentano48, Jade starts with an iced espresso drink. She ordered a double espresso shot, which comes with “three to four ounces of milk free of charge,” she said.

“Then you’re going to ask for the pumpkin sweet cream cold foam, and it’s going to taste exactly like the pumpkin spice latte. And you spent maybe $3.50, maybe $3.75,” she said.

Some Starbucks menu hacks are less complicated. Take this hack by @taylormakesvideos.

She describes how to get more bang for your buck by ordering an iced drink with no ice. Then, on the side, she suggests asking for a free large ice.

“This is the money-saving hack Starbucks does not want you to know about,” she said. “If you’re going for an iced drink, get a small version of that drink with no ice, then order a venti on the side of just ice. They’ll give it to you for free. You’ll get more than an entire venti worth of coffee for the same price you would have paid for the small.”

Chances are Starbucks knows about the no-ice trick. It’s been around for at least a couple of years.

Starbucks said customizations, as it calls these hacks, are part of the brand experience.

“Our customers and partners are always coming up with creative customizations and sharing them on social media,” the company said.

The chain also confirmed that adding “up to four ounces of dairy or non-dairy milk” is free for any hot or iced brewed coffee or tea, or cold brew, or Americano beverages.

But, the chain disputed a TikToker’s suggestion that a pumpkin spiced latte could cost about $8. “The price of PSL will vary market-to-market. In company operated US stores, a grande PSL ranges from $5.75 to $6.75 and a venti PSL ranges from $6.25 to $7.25,” the company said.

Starbucks isn’t the only chain with customers who manipulate their digital apps in a quest for cheaper eats and drinks. Last year, Chipotle cracked down on a costly burrito hack of its menu. Customers were ordering a single taco for $3, adding unlimited toppings, and buying a 40-cent tortilla to create a $9 burrito.

Once the chain got wind of the hack, it removed tacos from its digital ordering channels.

Are you a Starbucks barista who is wise to these hacks? We’d like to hear from you. Contact Nancy Luna via the encrypted messaging app Signal 714-875-6218 or email [email protected]


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