July 1, 2015 6:50 AM   Subscribe

What are your favorite rewards programs? Online and off.

Having recently signed-up for ebates and Bing Rewards recently, what other reward programs do you recommend? Locally we use CVS/pharmacy a lot so we love the extracare card rewards. We also earn cashback with our credit cards. What else should we sign up for?
posted by heavyp08 to Shopping (19 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Depending on how much stuff you get on Amazon, the reward rates w/ an Amazon Visa are slightly better than standard cash back credit cards.
posted by griphus at 7:02 AM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you're a drinker of beverages from chain establishments, Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks both have programs that offer additional perks if you use their apps to pay for your purchases, and are willing to tolerate a boatload of email.
posted by gnomeloaf at 7:12 AM on July 1, 2015

I just signed up for a Target RedCard. I get 5% off of all Target and purchases. I got the debit card, so it debits my checking account directly, as if I were writing a check. It's not a lot, but I shop at Target anyway so what the hey.

One thing to keep in mind when you're signing up for loyalty programs is that in exchange for the discount or cash back or what have you, you're allowing the company to track your habits and your spending in minute detail. And probably allowing them to sell that data to other companies. If you're privacy-minded, it might not be worth it to you.
posted by donajo at 7:36 AM on July 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Chase rewards points: I transfer them to Amtrak, to purchase otherwise pricey train tickets in the Boston-Washington corridor. I know that's very specific, but it has made train travel (especially last-minute) far more possible for me. Which is AMAZING.
posted by the_blizz at 7:49 AM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

2nding Chase rewards points. My fiance and I travel a lot for work and the Sapphire card gives you double points on travel and dining. So far we have taken 2 non-work trips now and stayed for free with our points and we've had the card for less than a year.

The best part for us is that work reimburses us for travelling so its like we aren't even paying for it in the first place! YMMV.
posted by chainsofreedom at 8:02 AM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you use a fitbit or similar device you can link them to a number of sites, including Walgreens and Sears/Kmart, which give you rewards points for steps. It's not a huge payout and it does require you to give them some access to your exercise data, but after the initial setup you don't have to do anything else except do the exercise (or heck, just walking) you would do anyway. Psychologically it feels like I'm getting paid to work out.
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 8:04 AM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I haven't found anything better than Discover, which has cashback generally, and then specific 5% cashback areas every three months (at least one of which is always gas). Charging a few hundred a month on it gets me about $10-15/month back, which can be used basically anywhere, although generally I use it on amazon.
posted by likeatoaster at 8:07 AM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

If any of your local places use Spring Rewards, it can be very favorable. Our favorite sushi restaurant subscribes and it takes a big chunk out of the bill periodically.
posted by BibiRose at 8:09 AM on July 1, 2015

Ebates is my jam! Ebates and Fatwallet are owned by the same company; Ebates usually has the better deals, but occasionally Fatwallet wins, so it never hurts to check both.

Target's Cartwheel app is extremely useful for racking up lots of small discounts over time. You can scan items in the store with your smartphone camera to see if the item has any current sales. The easiest way is to fill your cart with the stuff you need to buy anyway and then check them for discounts.

It looks like Upromise has ended its gas card rewards, so no more lazy points accrual for me. WOE.

If you buy a lot of makeup and/or personal care products, Sephora and Ulta both have popular reward programs. Ulta carries both high-end and drugstore brands, and has more major sales, so I rack up more points there.
posted by nicebookrack at 8:34 AM on July 1, 2015

I have a Best Buy Mastercard that gives me Best Buy dollars for everything I charge on the card, no matter where I shop (it works out to about $5 free for every $200 I charge). This essentially means free batteries or cables every couple months, even at Best Buy prices.

We drive across the upper Midwest a lot, and I've got a handful of gas station reward cards -- pretty much every time I swipe I get a few cents off which pretty much just offsets the price, but every once in a while my points build up and I get a $0.25/gal off pump, which adds up more than $0.03 over 20 gallons.

Also, my local thrift shop has a punchcard which is $15 free for every $150 spent, but that might not be super useful to you.
posted by AzraelBrown at 8:38 AM on July 1, 2015

Birthday Rewards! I have a junk e-mail address that I use to sign up for all these different rewards programs. I only check it a few weeks before my birthday every year and it is coupons galore.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 9:42 AM on July 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

I signed up for the Shop Your Way program at KMart a few years back, and they frequently go through runs (like right now) where they send me free money ALL THE TIME. Almost every week I get either $5 or $10 in free "points" to use at the store, and they recently had a promo where if you spend $30 or more you got $30 in points. I bought a badly needed new air mattress, and have gotten in return enough points for: camping head lamp; those velcro sticky mitts and ball; four huge packs of men's underwear for my man-friend (one of which I returned for cash); shorty sleep shorts for myself; half-sleeved work top for myself; and I still have somewhere between $7-$10 of those original $30 in points to use. No idea how KMart is still in business.

I also love the Dunkin Donuts rewards program, I probably go there twice a month or so but they are always giving me free coffee and discounted stuff so you don't have to be there every day to get use out of it.

DSW has a nice rewards program. I don't buy a ton of shoes there, maybe 2-3 new pairs per year for our household, but they send me random $10 off $10 coupons a lot. If there's nothing there I want, I hit the clearance rack and pick up socks or an umbrella. I've gotten two Totes umbrellas with lifetime guarantees and about 5 pairs of socks there so far this year. You can never have too many quality umbrellas!

Nthing Ebates, but you can use the site Cashback Monitor to see who is offering the best rewards at a particular store before you make a purchase.

I also really like my local grocery loyalty programs. I shop at Safeway and King Soopers (a Kroger store), and after you shop there a while their online coupons start reflecting what you buy, and your favorite kind of yogurt/bread/whatever is always on sale. I'm not concerned about the privacy of my purchases, as you may have gleaned.
posted by jabes at 10:03 AM on July 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Cost Plus World Market Explorer. I use this mainly for coffee. You'll get a $10 reward for your birthday and $10 off on $30 coupons from time to time.

Cost Plus' coffee prices already beat supermarket prices at $9.99 for 24 ounces for many varieties. After purchasing five bags you get a free 12-ounce bag, which I usually use for a premium variety like Kona or something. To really game the system, shop on Wednesday for double coffee points, use a $10 off on $30 coupon, buy three 24-ounce bags (plus a chocolate bar to get it over $30), and earn six coffee points for a free 12-ounce bag later. That's the equivalent of seven 12-ounce bags for about $20. You can't beat that anywhere. And the coffee's pretty good!
posted by rekrap at 10:07 AM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

All of my local dessert shops have punchcards. Think about your punchcard game. Is it real?
posted by oceanjesse at 10:30 AM on July 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Do you have Regal Cinemas in your area? I love my Regal Crown Club card. Free movies and concessions every once in a while!
posted by zoetrope at 12:22 PM on July 1, 2015

I frequently get rewards from each of these:

GameStop Power Up Rewards Pro card
Best Buy Reward Zone card
Toys R Us loyalty card
Fred Meyer Rewards card
Panera Bread Rewards card
posted by tacodave at 3:12 PM on July 1, 2015

I like the Costco executive membership (2% back yearly in the form of a gift certificate to Costco). The membership is $110 a year (vs the $55 for a regular membership), but we live less than a mile form our closest Costco, so we use it for weekly grocery trips instead of Safeway. We usually get enough back the at the end of the year to cover the next year's membership plus a little extra.
posted by dogmom at 8:31 PM on July 1, 2015

$390 cash back via FatWallet so far.
posted by Brian Puccio at 10:23 PM on July 1, 2015

ShopYourWay was already mentioned—we bought a house last year and I'm learning to do minor car maintenance this year, so it's been great getting a steady drip of discounts on Craftsman tools at Sears. (It seems like there's always a $5 or $10 off $75 coupon on their app.)

We do most of our grocery shopping at Walmart, and the Savings Catcher thing they do has been really good for the few name-brand items we buy—you scan your receipt after checkout, they check advertised prices at the grocery stores around you, and you get $0.50 back on an e-gift card when it turns out Albertsons had $1.99 Golden Grahams and Walmart charged you $2.49.

If you have one or both of the rotating-category 5% credit cards (Discover It and Chase Freedom), the US Bank Cash+ card is a really nice supplement to them. It lets you choose two from a list of 5% categories every quarter, so you can adjust it around the ones Discover and Chase are already covering. (The card's been nerfed a little in the last year—the really great categories are popping in and out—but I can't get a consistent 5% on fast food anywhere else and I'm a philistine, as evidenced by my choice of grocery store.)
posted by Polycarp at 10:57 PM on July 1, 2015

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