I don't know about you guys, but I love birthdays! Family birthdays, friends' birthdays, strangers I've just met's birthday -- you name it, I love to make a deal about it. So it probably goes without saying that I especially love my birthday! And what better way to celebrate your birthday than by being showered with gifts and freebies??
So last week, as I celebrated a rather non-momentous birthday, the DC Refined team decided to personally find out exactly where in D.C. you'd be treated like a queen/king on your big day! Turns out plenty of places claim to offer a birthday gift, but have many stipulations on how you can claim it, so be prepared to sign up for a lot of "clubs" if you want birthday perks!
Bangkok Joe's: Free dessert and the staff will sing happy birthday upon request! No membership required, just show your ID and enjoy.
Good Stuff Eatery: Free cake batter milkshake that is SO good! No membership required, just show your ID and enjoy. Oh, and if you ask them to take a picture with you they totally will.
Corner Bakery: Free sweet from the bakery. Must be a member of the Corner Bakery eCafe. Once you sign up, they will send you an email a week before your birthday and you have until a week after your birthday to claim your freebie. You must print out the email they send though so they can scan the coupon code.
Panera: Members of the MyPanera club get a free gift loaded onto their card annually for their birthday. The email I got said I would receive a free treat from the bakery, but when I went to claim it and swiped my card, it said I had a free coffee reward. The Panera team was so nice they gave me both and wished me happy birthday several times! You will also regularly get emails about freebies from Panera, even when it's not your birthday.
Starbucks: Starbucks Rewards members get a free beverage or treat to celebrate their birthday, plus 15% off StarbucksStore.com. To qualify you must join 30 days before your birthday. You'll receive an email (or notification on the app if you use their app) when your reward arrives. But be warned, you only have two days to use the reward.
Gordon Biersch: This was one of the few restaurants we found that have options both for members of their rewards program, and non-members. If you don't feel up for a membership commitment, you can receive a free dessert on your birthday. But if you have signed up for the Passport Rewards program (ideally a week in advance) GB will offer you a full meal for free.
Melting Pot: I realllly wish I had known about this one in advance because chocolate=totally worth signing up for a rewards club! Club Fondue members will receive an email two weeks prior to their birthday with a coupon to redeem for six free chocolate covered strawberries. Guests will also receive a welcome voucher for signing up for Club Fondue that includes a box of chocolate covered strawberries, with the purchase of $60 or more. Since the berries are prepared fresh daily, guests should call to let the restaurant know they are planning to redeem a voucher.
Auntie Anne's: Oh, how I love their fried doughy goodness! But oh how I do not love their complicated method of receiving a free pretzel on your special day! First of all, instead of just signing up for an email list you have to actually download the My Pretzel Perks app. Even then, you have to wait until your reward is loaded on the app. I am a week past my birthday, and no reward has arrived!
Cinnabon: They win least favorite place of the day award as they refused to give me a free Minibon even though I could show them my coupon on my phone because it wasn't printed. Really, Cinnabon?? Get with the 21st century and be environmentally friendly! Ok, rant over. If you really want a Minibon, join Club Cinabon and make sure you PRINT your free reward that they will email to you. In their defense, I have to give them props as I signed up for Club Cinabon on my actual birthday and received my email with the free gift within five minutes of signing up.
Sephora: The stop at the Sephora store was definitely a highlight of the big day! If you are a Sephora Beauty Insider, you automatically get a free mini set gift on your birthday! Currently the options available are a blush and matte lip paint set from Tarte or a moisturizer and serum from Caudalie -- I chose the Caudalie products since the number of candles on this year's cake was a leetle scary. You can redeem your gift online or in stores, but I recommend a visit to the store if you can because they ring a little bell and make you feel super special!
Ulta: I haven't had a chance to visit Ulta yet but because I am part of their Ultamate Rewards program, I got an email with a coupon to print to redeem for a Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Face Primer. Luckily, they give you a month after your birthday to pop into the store and grab your gift.
Benefit: I have not been able to personally verify this one, because we were confused on where to use it, but according to Benefit's website, anyone can get a free brow arch at your local Benefit BrowBar beauty lounge anytime during your birthday week, with a valid photo ID. The offer is not valid at any of Ulta Beauty's Benefit BrowBar lounge locations. From what I can tell via online research, the only Benefit Brow Bar is inside Macy’s in Tysons Corner.
Barre 3: There are a few places around town that help you work off that extra piece of cake for free, including all three of the DC Barre3 locations. Call or email the studio in advance to reserve your space at the barre! If you're a member, you are welcome to gift your free class to a friend so that the two of you can enjoy a workout together.
Zengo Cycle: Anyone who has taken a Zengo class before will receive an email on their birthday for a free zengo class credit. Simply show (on your phone is fine) the email the next time you ride or stop by a studio, and one of the hosts will comp a credit into your account good for 30 days after redemption.
Tranquil Space: Get your om on at Tranquil Space with a free class on your birthday. Anyone can enjoy the free class by calling in advance to reserve their spot or by just showing up and showing your ID. But premium members get 30 percent off in the boutique as well as a free workshop credit each month.
Flow Yoga Center: You can also practice your down dog for free during your birthday week here. The offer is good for all Flow classes except Mysore.
Redbox: If you're tired after a long day of being treated to free goodies, chill out with a free one-night rental from Redbox. Just make sure you are signed up for their Redbox Play Pass program. Just be sure to return it within 24-hours to avoid any fees.
Did we miss any local spots with birthday freebies? Send us an email and we will add it to our list: firstname.lastname@example.org