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HOME > > Ask the Slot Expert: When do you redeem your slot club points?

Ask the Slot Expert: When do you redeem your slot club points?

10 February 2021

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

When Starbucks has an online game, you can get entries without making a purchase by answering a few questions. One of the questions is about how you use your stars. (You earn stars by making purchases, completing challenges to purchase certain items or make a certain number of purchases, and playing games. You redeem stars for menu items.)

The question asked whether you use your stars as you earn them or save them for use at the right time or a mix of the two techniques.

I used to choose a mix, but then I decided that saving them is more correct. I don't think I've ever redeemed stars as soon as I had enough for a free beverage. I always seem to accumulate hundreds, if not more than a thousand, stars before I redeem them.

Just today, I could have made a purchase to start an order-on-consecutive-days challenge or turn in stars to try a Honey Almond Milk Cold Brew. The rewards for the consecutive orders challenge are pretty small (10 stars for two days, 75 for four days), so I turned in stars for the Honey Almond Milk Cold Brew. (Meh. I won't get it again. I'll stick with Cold Brew with Dark Cocoa Almondmilk Foam for my free beverage.)

Starbucks sent me an offer to get bonus points for a purchase tomorrow. A good thing about all of the offers I've received from Starbucks is that one purchase can be applied to multiple offers. So I'll get my bonus points for making a purchase tomorrow. Then I'm halfway to completing the first tier on the consecutive days challenge, so I'll probably make another purchase on Thursday. And then I'm halfway to completing the top tier on the challenge, so I'll probably make purchases on the next two days too. I might even have a weekend challenge that will influence what I purchase.

You can see how I end up accumulating hundreds of points.

There are Starbucks Rewards advantage players who analyze the challenges and figure out how to complete them with minimal cash outlay, but I just order what I usually get and leave the advantage play to video poker.

Slot club points are like Starbucks stars. You can either use them as you earn them or save them to use at the right time.

I've seen players follow a few different philosophies in using their points. A couple of well-financed players let their points accumulate until they have enough to redeem for $1000 cash, the maximum amount one can redeem per day at their casinos. This method has acquired an advantage in the past few years when casinos stopped awarding points when playing on redeemed points. Redeem points for $100 in free play and you earn no points on that play. Redeem points for $100 cash and give Benjy a ride through the bill acceptor in a machine, you earn points on that $100.

Another philosophy is to use your points as you earn them. Once you have enough points to redeem for a certain amount of free play (say $10, $20 or $50), you redeem them and play the free play.

A third philosophy is to save your points for a rainy day. When you run out of money, redeem points to keep you in the game.

The way I've settled into using my points fits into my hierarchy for funding play at the machines: First, use the ticket leftover from my last visit (if I don't have a ticket, use some cash). If that runs out, redeem points. And keep using points as needed before putting in more cash. Finally, when I'm out of points, resort to cash.

One thing to keep in mind is whether redeeming points for cash instead of free play might be a black mark on your account. Cash can walk out of the casino. Free play can't.

If I remember correctly, Bob Dancer recommended redeeming points for free play in one of his slot club talks for this reason.

I don't know whether how you redeem your points makes a difference, but I would guess that if you play enough to qualify for one of the premium tiers in a slot club, the doesn't really care how you redeem your points.

And if you don't play enough to be in a premium tier, the casino also doesn't care how you redeem your points.

When do you redeem your points? Drop me a line to let me know.

The first day of Trump Impeachment II just finished as I write this. Perhaps you can help me.

David Schoen said that the January exception described by the House Impeachment Managers was a canard because-- And then he lost me on how a President in the final days of a term could still be held accountable. What is the remedy in this case?

Didn't he and Castor argue that the trial should not proceed because Trump was no longer in office? How were they not arguing that any officeholder could commit an impeachable offense and then evade accountability by resigning before impeachment or trial? Did they ever say how officeholders could be held accountable for offenses committed at the end of their terms?

It reminds me of Alan Dershowitz's argument in the first trial. As I recall, he said that a president cannot commit an impeachable offense if he believes he is acting in the best interests of the country. And a president surely believes that being reelected is in the best interests of the country.

So, I ask, doesn't that mean that a sitting president has free rein to do whatever he wants in pursuit of reelection?

The most puzzling part of the day's proceedings is why Schoen always touched the top of his head when he took a drink of water like he was trying to keep an imaginary toupee from slipping off.

The participants in this and the past impeachment compared and contrasted the impeachment and trial with criminal proceedings, doing one or the other whenever it supported their position. The impeachment in the House has been likened to a Grand Jury indictment. There was some talk about due process today.

I was the foreman of a Grand Jury in New Jersey in the mid-1980s. This is what due process meant in our Grand Jury.

We never heard from the defendant's attorneys. I don't even know if it's correct to call the subject of a case presented to us the defendant. He or she hasn't been charged yet.

The Grand Jury decides whether the Grand Jury Prosecutor has presented a prima facie case to presume guilt and issue an indictment. There was no standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt" or even a "preponderance of the evidence". We were not determining guilt. We were not depriving the defendant of any freedom. We only had to determine whether there was enough evidence to prove the case.

We never heard any exculpatory witnesses. That's for the trial jury. We were not determining guilt.

The defendant's attorney was not present. The defendant does not have the right to present a case to the Grand Jury. Again, we were not determining guilt.

There were no spectators. The only people in the room, which was like a classroom not a courtroom, were the jurors, the prosecutor(s), and the stenographer.

Our proceedings were secret. We spoke through our indictments.

I had the worst job on the jury. When the jury was dismissed for the day, I still had to stay for another hour or more because I had to wait for the staff to finish preparing the indictments. Then I had to sign them and go the courthouse to deliver them to a judge.

The judge asks a series of questions about the indictments. I don't remember the questions.

The prosecutors rehearsed me on the questions and the answers. They said that I didn't have to worry about the questions. Just remember the order of the answers. The order of the answers was something like yes, yes, no, yes, and me, your honor.

Delivering the indictments went smoothly many times, but then a judge asked one of the questions out of order.

I panicked. I knew that the answer next in line was not the right answer to that question. I looked at the prosecutor for help. He mouthed the word "no". I said, "No." The judge moved on to the next question.

You can argue about how similar a House impeachment is to a Grand Jury. They differ in one significant way that makes the arguments moot.

The Grand Jury is a criminal proceeding. The House impeachment by its very nature is only political.

Here are the latest figures from https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_totalcases.

Totals Weekly Increases
Date Cases Deaths Cases Deaths Cases Deaths Cases Deaths
 02/09   26,939,515   463,659   284,590   4,522   779,305   21,828   5,444   244 
 02/02   26,160,210   441,831   279,146   4,278   1,007,777   22,004   7,249   249 
 01/26   25,152,433   419,827   271,897   4,029   1,312,565   23,385   10,324   250 
 01/19   23,839,868   396,442   261,573   3,779   1,317,119   21,318   11,324   279 
 01/12   22,522,749   375,124   250,249   3,500   1,790,345   22,660   17,217   294 
 01/05    20,732,404   352,464   233,032   3,206   1,499,561   18,435   14,655   233 
 12/29   19,232,843   334,029   218,377   2,973   1,258,540   15,460   12,493   186 
 12/22   17,974,303   318,569   205,884   2,787   1,656,411   18,537   16,472   239 
 12/15   16,317,892   300,032   189,412   2,548   1,494,763   17,247   18,825   229 
 12/08   14,823,129   282,785   170,587   2,319   1,375,502   15,483   18,418   175 
 12/01   13,447,627   267,302   152,169   2,144   1,114,175   10,286   15,942   121 
 11/24   12,333,452   257,016   136,227   2,023   1,197,199   10,784   14,130   106 
 11/17   11,136,253   246,232   122,097   1,917   1,099,790   8,501   11,115   65 
 11/10   10,036,463   237,731   110,982   1,852   767,645   6,838   8,868   68 
 11/03   9,268,818   230,893   102,114   1,784   588,207   5,809   5,936   35 
 10/27   8,680,611   225,084   96,178   1,749   492,026   5,585   5,238   (10) 
 10/20   8,188,585   219,499   90,940   1,759   401,037   5,053   4,501   48 
 10/13   7,787,548   214,446   86,439   1,711   351,270   4,886   3,910   48 
 10/06   7,436,278   209,560   82,529   1,663   306,965   4,962   3,232   36 
 09/29   7,129,313   204,598   79,297   1,627   303,616   5,136   3,058   54 
 09/22   6,825,697   199,462   76,239   1,573   288,070   5,370   2,196   82 
 09/15   6,537,627   194,092   72,043   1,491   250,265   5,404   1,825   65 
 09/08   6,287,362   188,688   72,218   1,426   282,919   5,638   2,734   92 
 09/01   6,004,443   183,050   69,484   1,334   251,790   5,291   3,237   104 
 08/25   5,752,653   177,759   66,247   1,230   330,411   7,889   4,076   125 
 08/18   5,422,242   169,870   62,171   1,105   358,071   7,463   4,973   114 
 08/11   5,064,171   162,407   57,198   991   365,353   7,203   5,776   117 
 08/04   4,698,818   155,204   51,422   874   418,683   7,532   7,367   109 
 07/28   4,280,135   147,672   44,055   764   460,996   7,042   7,130   91 
 07/21   3,819,139  140,630  36,195  674  463,682  5,395  8,181  57 
 07/14   3,355,457   135,235   28,744   617   422,861   5,102   5,607   57 
 07/07   2,932,596   130,133   23,137   560   351,367   3,394   5,006   24 
 06/30   2,581,229   126,739   18,131   536   278,941   6,406   4,367   26 
 06/23   2,302,288   120,333   13,764   510 

Will new cases start increasing again next week from Super Bowl superspreader parties?

There have been many news stories about people having difficulty scheduling vaccination appointments. A large number of people having to wait is inevitable. There are many people vying for a limited number of slots, which are limited by vaccine supply and personnel to administer the vaccines.

Still, there's no excuse for slapdash appointment websites. It's not like we haven't known for months that we were going to have to vaccinate 300,000,000 people. Why didn't Operation Warp Speed develop a website that jurisdictions could use to schedule appointments?

I thought about systems already developed that could be used for scheduling. How about airline reservations? It can handle no-shows and waiting lists for a flight.

Better yet, TicketMaster. It can handle thousands of people accessing the site without crashing. Sell an hour-long appointment block like a concert.

Snagging a vaccination appointment is going to be catch-as-catch-can until the supply of appointments increases and the demand drops.

Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at slotexpert@slotexpert.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

Copyright © John Robison. Slot Expert and Ask the Slot Expert are trademarks of John Robison.

John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming's leading publications. Hear John on "The Good Times Radio Gaming Show," broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoons. You can listen to archives of the show online anytime.

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