You might call it the Starbucks card for the 1%. Or this year, perhaps, for the 0.5%.
For the second year in a row, Starbucks is rolling out an ultra-limited edition, $450 metal, gift card for the holidays — pre-loaded with $400. But this year, it's literally five times more exclusive. Last year, the coffee giant made 5,000. This year, it's making a mere 1,000.
If you want one, you gotta act fast. Really fast.
(Read more: What NOT to buy your boss for the holidays)
Not one Starbucks store will sell them. The offer will be available only on the luxury goods website Gilt.com on Friday at noon EST. Last year, the 5,000 designer cards sold out in about six minutes. With just 1,000 offered this year, they may not last as long.
"Will it be one minute or two?" poses Cliff Burrows, group president of the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
For Starbucks, just about anything goes at holiday time. Consider: 1 in 10 adults last December received a Starbucks gift card of some sort. Starbucks cards are the most "gifted" item in America, says Burrows. That makes the hard-to-get Starbucks Metal Card — even in a tough economy — an apparent must-have for the well-to-do. Some of last year's cards have been posted on eBay for as much as $1,000.
(Read more: No time for online? Shoppers rush to actual stores)
"If something is hard to get, it takes on irrational value," says Steven Addis, a brand consultant. "By making it even harder to get, the irrationality goes up."
At the same time, he notes, Starbucks protects itself from taking heat for its pricey card by also selling so many $5 gift cards. "It's a fail-safe gift," he says of conventional Starbucks cards.
Besides the $400 pre-loaded on the designer card, it also has Gold-level status — meaning free refills on iced or brewed coffee or tea, along with other perks.