Starbucks’ new holiday cups have airline passengers jingling all the way to the front of the line at airports nationwide.
The festive cups, the culmination of a year-long effort to boost sales and exposure during the critical holiday season, compliment the limited-time beverage lineup that launched Wednesday. Customers can also return the reusable cups for a 50-cent discount on their next holiday beverage, such as the popular Peppermint Mocha drink.
Although the promotion centers around the holiday drinks, Alaska Airlines says that "any Starbucks beverage (hot or cold) in any Starbucks holiday cup" qualifies for the promotion. Further, it says, "if you’ve already finished your beverage, your cup will still get you priority boarding."
While Starbucks customers will board ahead of the general rabble in a dedicated "Espresso Lane," they won’t be the first on the plane. That luxury remains reserved for the airline’s first-class passengers and elite members of its frequent-flyer program.
Not all Starbucks locations offer the holiday cups, including those in the high-traffic Atlanta, Minneapolis, and San Francisco airports, because they are testing the coffee giant’s compostable cups. Starbucks says holiday cup sleeves along with their regular cup at these airport locations are also eligible for priority boarding.
The “Espresso Lane” debuts this year, but Alaska and Starbucks share a history of collaboration. The airline has served Starbucks products onboard since 2012.