Card-linked offer programs bypass the need for paper coupons and give users deals on a variety of everyday purchases – from dining to travel. Learn how you can save on the purchases you already make.
If you are looking for new ways to save, a card-linked offer program can be a straightforward, hassle-free opportunity. Hunting for deals is easier than ever, and discounts or rebates are automatically awarded when you use your card. Even better, you’ll still earn any credit card rewards on the purchase.
Card-linked offer programs bypass the need for paper coupons and give users deals on a variety of everyday purchases – from dining to travel. When you participate, you can automatically earn discounts or cash back rewards at participating businesses without having to find a promo code or coupon.
Several issuers offer these kinds of programs, making it easy to find a card to use for extra deals. For a more in-depth look at some of the top offerings, check out our guides below.
How do card-linked offer programs work?
Card-linked offer programs let users earn merchant discounts or cash back rewards when you use a qualifying card at a participating business. Depending on the program, you’ll either automatically receive a discount at the register or get a rebate in the form of cash back or a statement credit.Card-linked offers are much easier to use than a paper coupon or online promo code since you’ll automatically receive rewards on qualifying purchases. Some programs require you to activate deals before using them, so you might still have to select offers to link to your card via your bank’s website or app.
It is easy to find great savings within all these programs – often between 5% and 15% off – as card-linked offers benefit every party involved. Consumers get great deals on everyday purchases, retailers can attract new customers and card issuers see increased usage. Since everyone has something to gain from these programs, they continue to grow and add more deals every year.
The coupons offered by card-linked offer programs are diverse and often tailored to the user based on their location and spending patterns. Maribel Ferrer, communications director for payments at Chase Offers says “deals vary and there is something for everyone. They range from offers at popular retailers, travel, restaurants, pet shops, hardware stores and some of the most loved brands in the country.”
It’s clear that almost every card user has something to gain from taking advantage of one of these programs.
Which card-linked offer program is right for you?
For the most part, card-linked offer programs require that any card you link is only being used on one program. To make sure you are getting the best value, you’ll want to take a look at eligible cards, the type of rewards you can receive and participating locations before deciding which program works best with your everyday spending.
The most popular card-linked offer programs are presented by the card issuer itself, making it easy to know which program you fit into. But other programs can be used with any credit or debit card. Offers and how you earn discounts also vary widely between programs.
|Program||Qualifying cards||Types of deals||How it works|
|BankAmeriDeals||Bank of America credit and debit cards (excluding ATM-only cards)||Travel, dining, retail, entertainment|
American Express credit and charge cards (excludes prepaid cards)
Travel, dining, retail, entertainment
Certain Chase credit and debit cards
Travel, dining, retail, hardware stores
|Mastercard Easy Savings|
Mastercard business cards
|Hotel stays, dining, car rentals, business products, gas, vehicle maintenance|
|Visa Savings Edge|
Visa business cards
|Hotel stays, dining, entertainment, car rentals, electronics, auto parts, business equipment|
|Shell Fuel Rewards|
Most credit and debit cards (special deals for Mastercard holders)
|Dining, retailers in Fuel Rewards Network online mall, travel (Fuel Rewards Network travel portal)|
|Visa Local Offers with Uber|
Visa credit and debit cards linked to Uber account
Most credit and debit cards
|Rewards Network Dining programs|
Most credit and debit cards
Card-linked offers for everyday spending
Card-linked offer programs directly from the issuer tend to have the widest variety of available offers, making it easy to earn cash back or points on the spending you already do every day.
All three of these programs (BankAmeriDeals, Amex Offers and Chase Offers) require users to activate deals on each of their cards in order to redeem an offer. You’ll scroll through promotions available to you on your bank’s mobile app or website and link to the preferred card. Statement credits are automatically awarded after the qualifying purchase.
For another way to earn cash back, BankAmeriDeals offers a unique bonus system. You earn coins just for redeeming offers and work your way up through levels to earn extra cash bonuses.
While these bank-offered programs take a little more effort from the user, they offer the most potential value for general purchases.
Card-linked offers for business cardholders
The offers on both Mastercard Easy Savings and Visa Savings Edge are tailored specifically for business spending and only available to business cardholders. You can earn cash back on purchases such as car rentals and business equipment.
Mastercard Easy Savings is a very straightforward program, not requiring any sort of activation to redeem deals. You just have to link your cards to the program and watch as statement credits roll in automatically. Visa Savings Edge also offers automatic deals – called Everyday Offers – but limited-time promotions require users to activate individual offers.
Offers for frequent Uber riders
Visa Local Offers can be redeemed on any Visa card you have linked to your Uber app, but they come with a big drawback – cash back is awarded as Uber credits. Unless you frequently ride with Uber or order takeout using Uber Eats, this can be very limiting.
In addition, deals seem to be more limited than bank programs like Amex Offers. Remember, you can only have a card linked to one offer program at a time in order to earn deals. If the limited offers from Uber don’t fit your spending, you might be better off choosing another program. That being said, Visa Local Offers earn cash back automatically and don’t require you to activate deals.
Savings on gas
Like Visa Local Offers, discounts earned using Shell Fuel Rewards have limited redemption options. All the savings you earn are applied as a discount at a Shell pump. If you frequent Shell gas stations and are looking for a program that can specifically help you save in this area, the variety of offers in the Shell Fuel Rewards program is pretty good. Otherwise, you might be better off sticking with a bank or dining program.
On top of dining rewards, members of the Shell Fuel Rewards program can earn gas discounts by shopping through the Fuel Rewards Network online mall and Fuel Rewards Network travel portal. While going through these portals might limit your merchandise or travel purchase options, they are another great way to rack up savings.
Savings on dining
MOGL is a very flexible card-linked offer program, allowing users to link almost any credit or debit card. But deals are limited to dining purchases, making it a bit more difficult to rack up rewards. While the return rate on MOGL offers is typically pretty high (5% to 10%), the lack of variety can be a big drawback. On the plus side, you don’t have to activate deals. You also have the flexibility to choose from cash back, charitable donations and points for how you earn your savings.
Earning airline and hotel rewards
Rewards Network is a service offering dining-focused, card-linked offer programs tied directly to hotel and airline loyalty programs such as American Airlines AAdvantage, Southwest Rapid Rewards and Hilton Honors. You can only have a card linked to one Rewards Network program at a time, so these offers are most valuable for users who are loyal to a particular airline or hotel brand.
The programs in the Rewards Network are designed to reward dining purchases, making it easy to earn around 5 points per dollar on extra purchases. Plus, regularly participating in these programs can keep your miles from expiring if you need to show regular account activity but don’t have a trip planned in the near future.
See related: How to make the most of an airline dining program
How to get the most out of a card-linked offer program
Card-linked offer programs are rewarding for every user, but following a few simple tips can help you maximize your rewards:
Combine card-linked offer deals with paper coupons and promo codes
While it takes a little bit of extra time, finding paper coupons and promo codes for the same merchants advertising a card-linked offer can ensure you boost your overall savings. Since cash back or points from card-linked offers come just from using a particular credit or debit card, you can usually still apply any other coupons you can hunt down.
Shop using cash back portals to stack offers
By using cash back portals to do your online shopping, you can potentially stack multiple offers from the same site. By finding a deal at your favorite retailer on a site like Rakuten or Mr. Rebates and then paying with a card including a card-linked offer, you can multiply savings. Just be sure to read the terms and conditions of your card-linked offer program carefully, as some prohibit this practice.
Keep a close eye on terms and conditions
No matter which card-linked offer program you use, each individual deal typically comes with its own set of terms and conditions. Before attempting to redeem a promotion, read carefully to ensure you meet any purchase limits or expiration dates.
Doing more online shopping? Always check for offers first
With the coronavirus crisis leaving many stuck at home, doing more of their shopping online and spending less in rewards categories like travel, now is a great time to employ earning-boosting tools like card-linked offer programs. Though you might be racking up less cash back or points than you are used to, you can recoup some of that loss by adding a boost from promotions like these.
Before you shop online, make a habit to check card-linked offers for all your eligible programs. You might discover a deal that puts a little extra cash back in your pocket.
While choosing a card-linked offer program might be as simple as using your bank’s offering, there are plenty of other opportunities to maximize your savings. If you have cards from multiple issuers, you might even be using more than one. Check out our guides to each program before deciding which is right for you.