Correction Appended: Dec. 7, 2012
If anyone is having a good end of the year, it’s Starbucks. For the past month, the beverage giant has seemingly made the news every other day, and business seems to be booming. Three weeks ago, the coffee corporation acquired tea vender Teavana. Last week, the chain announced it would offer a $7 cup of coffee, so far available in only 46 of its locations. Yesterday, the company announced at its New York City investor event that it will add 1,500 cafés throughout America over the next five years. And today, USA Today reported that Starbucks’ most lavish offering yet has gone on sale: a $450 stainless steel gift card.
Officially named the Starbucks Metal Card, the steel rectangle comes loaded with $400 — the extra $50 cost covers the manufacture fee — and a gold-level Starbucks card membership. Gold members, who are expected to make 30 transactions a year, receive benefits such as free drinks on birthdays and free items for every 12 beverages purchased, according to the company’s website. Starbucks produced only 5,000 of the cards, which went on sale Dec. 6 on luxury goods website Gilt.com; the sale opens to the general public Friday Dec. 7 at noon EST.
“Some stores will never even see this card,” Ryan Records, Starbucks’ vice president of card and payment, told USA Today. He said he will purchase a Metal Card for his mother.
Jason Goldberger, executive vice president of Gilt.com, said consumers would be attracted to the program’s exclusivity.
“When you’re waiting in line at Starbucks, the next person in line won’t have it,” he told USA Today. “We’ve never sold anything like this.”
The Metal Card should keep even the biggest coffeeholic satisfied with its purchasing power. With its $400 worth of Starbucks purchasing power, USA Today estimates, you could buy 106 grande Frappuccinos, 119 grande lattes or 205 16-ounce cups of brewed coffee. If cardholders prefer to enjoy their morning joe at home, they could buy enough beans to brew 1,517.5 6-ounce cups of Starbucks’ Pike Place Roast. Alternatively, the gift card could buy 57 grande cups of the “Geisha” blend the company debuted last week or even 16 Venti-sized cups of the company’s most expensive beverage.
Some aren’t feeling the buzz around Starbucks’ newest product, however.
“This is a card for the 1%,” cultural anthropologist Robbie Blinkoff told USA Today. “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.”
A previous version of this story stated that Starbucks gold members are expected to make 30 transactions per month. In fact, gold members can retain their status by purchasing 30 items per year.