(I’ve updated this popular post from 2013 to include 7 places where it might be possible to get a discount on your cup of coffee when you bring your own cup–good to know if you are giving or have received a reusable coffee mug or tumbler as a gift or stocking stuffer.)
Starbucks is hardly alone in the coffee shop world in selling reusable tumblers. In 2013, Starbucks introduced a refillable cup that was supposed to save customers money and cut down on waste. That is, customers would pay $1 upfront for the cup (which was designed to last for a finite number of refills only). Then, when they used this refillable cup at Starbucks, they will get a $.10 discount. Starbucks promoted this as an initiative for going green by cutting down on waste because customers would not need their drink in disposable cups. Also, this refillable cup was said to be recyclable.
But is it worth $1 to buy a cup that won’t last you indefinitely? Starbucks already offered the 10 cent discount if you brought your own reusable mug or tumbler in with you. In fact, in searching the Starbucks corporate website, I couldn’t find any updated information about how well (or poorly) this $1 refillable cup did in the marketplace.
Here’s what I did know–reusable coffee mugs and refillable tumblers are popular gifts throughout the year. If you’re giving one of these mugs to someone or you received one, you should know where you can go with a reusable cup and receive a discount on your purchase.
Turns out that Starbucks isn’t the only coffee chain that offers a discount when you bring your own cup. Here are a few others that I’ve found:
- Caribou Coffee: According to this 2011 Caribou Coffee’s Facebook page, you’ll save $.50 off the purchase price of your coffee when you bring a Caribou Coffee-brand reusable mug or cup, not just any reusable cup. I found one such mug on Amazon, though it’s not a travel mug–but pretty!
- Cumberland Farms: Cumberland Farms doesn’t give a discount on coffee but it is priced at $.99 every day–a good deal in its own right. However, from May to Labor Day, customers can purchase a refillable Chug Jug mug for $2.49 and refill Chill Zone slushies and soda for $0.49 cents throughout the promotion.
- Dunkin Donuts: This DD press release on the company’s sustainability mentions a discount program when you bring your own mug. Not sure if it has to be a Dunkin mug, but you can buy one on Amazon!
- Peet’s: Peet’s used to offer a discount not only on coffee with a reusable mug but also a discount when you reused the bag for whole beans. Still checking to see if that’s still true.
- Pilot Flying J: This roadside convenience store launched a coffee discount program in April 2015–$.60 off your coffee when you bring one of their branded PhilMor mugs in with you.
- 7-Eleven: You can definitely use a refillable mug at 7-Eleven. But getting a discount upfront won’t happen. What you can do is download the 7Rewards app and use it with each drink purchase. After six you get your seventh cup free. So not quite a discount but at least a freebie at some point.
- Wawa: A PR person for Wawa once told me that you’ll save 20% on a cup of coffee at Wawa when you bring a reusable mug. You can actually buy a reusable Wawa coffee mug and K cups at a discount on Amazon!
I have heard through the grapevine that Panera Bread might offer discounts to customers who bring a reusable tumbler or mug from home. If I can get that information confirmed, I will update this post. Even so Panera is one of those shops that allows you unlimited free refills of your coffee, which isn’t something you can say for every coffee joint.
In the meantime, if you know from personal experience of chain restaurants that offer a discount for a refillable cup, please let me know.