I love rewards programs that bypass having to carry a separate rewards card and, instead, reward you automatically when using an enrolled credit card at specified merchants. It’s not really the convenience that I love about this (but that’s good too!), but the fact that with most of these programs you can buy anything at qualifying merchants and still get rewarded. And, the rewards stack with other rewards such as credit card category bonuses, shopping portal rebates, store rewards, and even with other similar linked credit card programs. Here are a few programs like this that I’ve written about in the past:
- MasterCard Easy Savings: Enroll your business MasterCard for automatic savings (in the form of statement credits) at various merchants.
- Visa Savings Edge: Enroll your business Visa card for automatic savings (in the form of statement credits) at various merchants (such as 1% cash back at Staples for purchases of $200 or more).
- Amex OPEN Savings: All Amex small business cards are automatically enrolled. Receive statement credits for purchases at various merchants (e.g. 5% back at Hyatt).
- Amex Sync Promotions: The specific deals change regularly. You must enroll each Amex card separately in each promotion (see “Maximizing Amex Sync offers. Part 1: sync multiple cards”).
- Discover Extras: These are similar to Amex Sync Promotions, but available to Discover cardholders only.
- Rewards Network: Earn rewards automatically when you use your enrolled credit card at various restaurants. There are many variations of this program: American Airlines, Delta, United, Hilton, uPromise, etc.
- Plink: Signup for Plink, add a credit card to your account, and add offers to your Plink Wallet. Receive Plink Points (worth a penny each towards gift cards) when making qualifying purchases.
- Thanks Again: This one is similar to the Rewards Network in that you can earn various points, miles, or cash back. Oddly, merchants are mostly limited to airport vendors, spas, and dry cleaners.
The current #milemadness tournament has uncovered two nice double/triple dip opportunities that I wasn’t previously aware of:
Fuel Rewards Network (FRN)
FRN lets you earn fuel rewards automatically when you use your linked MasterCard at certain merchants. FRN apparently has ongoing offers and limited time offers. Milenomics took advantage of an offer that ends 3/31/2014 to earn 5 cents per gallon savings for every $100 spent at grocery stores. He double dipped when buying gift cards by earning grocery store fuel points and Fuel Rewards Network points. You can read more in Milenomics’ post here. It will be interesting to see next month if FRN continues the grocery store promotion or adds something else lucrative instead (drug stores would be nice!).
If you’re interested in signing up for FRN, please consider using Milenomics’ referral link, or Mileage Update’s referral link (he is the one who tipped off Milenomics). If you prefer to use my referral link for some reason, you can find it on my Sign-Up Links page.
I was previously aware of ShopKick, but I didn’t know that it offered rewards at Office Depot. This is especially interesting now that Plink has an Office Depot offer as well (through April 10, 2014). While you can no longer buy variable load Visa/MasterCard/Amex gift cards or reload cards with a credit card at Office Depot, you can still buy fixed value $200 Visa cards or variable value merchant gift cards (e.g. Whole Foods, Home Improvement, etc.). At least, the registers allow those purchases. Whether or not the cashier/manager will allow them is another story and will vary by store. Anyway, a simple triple dip should now be possible: Buy gift card with your Chase Ink card to get 5 points per dollar, earn ShopKick points and Plink points.
In the #milemadness tournament, Bengali Miles Guru earned an Efficacy point with a double dip at Office Depot (Plink was not yet available there). However, it was fellow contestant Miles, Points & Mai Tais who apparently first wrote about the Office Depot Shopkick opportunity. She is also, incidentally, the first one to clue me in on the benefits of using ShopKick at Best Buy.
Do you know of any other useful rewards programs like those described above where rewards are triggered automatically through credit card purchases? Please comment below.