Tags: starbucks | luxe | gold | card

Starbucks Coffee Ups Ante: $450 Luxe Gold Membership Gift Card

Wednesday, 05 Dec 2012 03:59 PM

By Dale Eisinger

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International coffee retailer Starbucks just spilled the beans on the release of a $450 super-premium gift card.

The cards are made from specially-etched stainless steel, instead of plastic, and each one costs $50 to manufacture. It comes loaded with $400 in credits — hence the hefty price tag total of $450.

Following in the footsteps of its popular gold-level membership cards, the card boasts extras and freebies, like refills on brewed coffee. And, if you’re already a Starbucks card member, you’ll have a chance at an exclusive online sale of those cards happening Thursday. For non-members, the card will hit the net Friday -- if they aren’t already sold out.

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Only 5,000 of the cards will be released. To make them even more elite, they only will be available on the membership-based ultra-lux goods website Gilt.com. The cards will not be sold in stores.

"This is a card for the 1%. It's all about status, and to tell you the truth, I don't know if I'd want to be seen with one of these,” cultural anthropologist Robbie Blinkoff told USA Today.

"Some stores will never even see this card," Ryan Records, vice president of card and payments at Starbucks, told the publication.

Starbucks gift cards are an extremely popular holiday gift. The global chain, that boasts 20,366 stores in 61 countries, announced that over the Black Friday shopping weekend it sold 44 gift cards per minute.

This steel gift card falls under a new high-end category of products the company is rolling out, including a pair of ultra-limited coffee roasts. One version, the Costa Rica Tarrazu Geish, sold out in less-than 24 hours online. The other, the Costa Rica Finca Palmilera, is the most expensive cup of coffee the notoriously spendy chain has ever rolled out: $7 for a 16 ounce cup.

Some people collect limited edition Starbucks gift cards, with some selling for thousands of dollars on eBay.

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