1) I love doubling up on point programs. Getting stuff for free that I would have paid for anyway = awesome.
2) It isn’t just a college savings fund, although I have a 529 plan for my kid’s education. After my kids finish school, Upromise will pay me in other ways (a savings account, student loan repayments or a check).
I’ve been a Upromise member since 2004. I knew going in that Upromise is a marketing plan. They want to watch me shop. Normally, this would scare me almost as much as catching my parents skinny dipping. In this case, the rewards justify the means. They aren’t interested in AverageJoe who lives at my particular address. They’re interested in the fact that I’m a 44 year old money nerd with 16 year old twins. I’m a statistic. Sigh.
Signing up is free. There are no strings attached. You won’t get billed later if you decide to stay in the plan. Nothing. Nada. Free.
The Bad News
Whenever there’s a free service, you’re going to somehow pay for it. Upromise is no exception. When you try and sign up, they’ll immediately pitch you their reward credit card. While this isn’t a bad choice of cards, if you’re living a cash only lifestyle, it’s usually a better choice to press the “no thank you” button on the lower right corner of the screen.
You’ll also receive emails from them about partner offers. If you don’t like these, give Upromise an email address that you use for this sort of thing.
The Good News – Double and Triple Dip Point Plans
You can score double or triple rewards with this program. Let me show you how:
1) Let’s say you’re dining out. Before heading for the restaurant, you pull up the Upromise dining plan page. Restaurants are arranged by your zip code, so it’s easy to see what’s close by. Pulling up a random zip code 63108, I find many restaurants that pay Upromise points. Notice also that these restaurants don’t necessarily give points every day. There are so-called black-out dates, so watch for those.
2) Sign up for another program such as iDine. If you head to the iDine website, you’ll be able to pull up their list of restaurants. Go ahead and plug in the random zip code (63108) again…. Wow! Most of the same restaurants are in both plans. With iDine I’ll have to fill out a survey about by experience, but now I’ve received points from Upromise and from iDine.
3) Check out your bank or credit card point plans. You may also receive points by using a card with reward features.
You’ve just triple-dipped points.
More Good News – Upromise Pays for a Wide Range of Merchants
I’ll tell you a secret.
I don’t pay much attention to whether Upromise pays points at a retailer or not.
I could totally game this system like I showed you above, but I don’t as much as I should. However, I still rack up points accidently.
An example: although I’m not really a Walmart fan, there are two in my town. It’s impossible not to end up searching the aisles of Walmart nearly once a week. Walmart used to pay Upromise Rewards at a 1 percent rate. Had I not been writing this article right now, I would have never known they have a promotional rate until 2/23/12 of 5 percent rewards. I would have scored even more rewards doing what I normally do, and not noticed any difference in my lifestyle.
…all because I took 10 minutes to sign up.
How It Works
You’ll accumulate points in the program. Once you reach $10 (in some cases it’ll need to be more), you can sweep your earnings to a high-yield savings account, a 529 plan, pay down a Sallie Mae student loan, or request a check.
- The plan takes 10 minutes to sign up for
- I link credit and debit cards to the account
- Whenever I use those cards at participating retailers, I receive rewards
- I ALSO get rewards through other programs, such as my credit card or other reward programs
- I redeem rewards when I hit $10 or more
When I was a practicing advisor, I recommended that all my clients sign up for Upromise. The firm I worked with wasn’t affiliated with Upromise and I received no compensation from them. My job was to help my clients improve their financial situation. I’ve been a Upromise member since 2004. Although I do receive affiliate income from them now, it’s something I’d recommend regardless (similar to Mint and an ING savings account….two other plans I recommend and have enjoyed personally).
How to Find Upromise
Here’s a link to the Upromise website: Upromise Reward Program.
Do you use Upromise? How do you double and triple dip reward points? Join the discussion in the comments below.