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Is the ShopRunner service worth your while?

ShopRunner can save you money on shipping fees and get your online orders to you faster

Summary

ShopRunner offers free two-day shipping from dozens of retailers, but is it worth it?

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We’ve all been in this situation: You rack up an online shopping cart – prepared to pay the price you’ve seen all along – only to watch it skyrocket due to shipping charges. Even worse, you won’t receive your items until the next week, unless you are willing to fork over an even higher fee.

If you are eager to cut some of the costs of online shopping and get your orders a bit faster, programs like ShopRunner provide free, two-day shipping with dozens of merchants. The service comes with an annual fee, but many credit card holders might already receive the perk – and could be saving money on the shopping they already do.

What is ShopRunner?

ShopRunner is a paid service that provides free, two-day shipping for online shopping at more than 100 retailers. Rather than pay shipping charges on several purchases throughout the year, ShopRunner users can pay one annual fee to skip the charge on qualifying purchases. Free returns are also included.

Merchants include Bloomingdale’s, Kate Spade, Neiman Marcus, Staples, 1-800-Flowers and much more. You can view the full list on ShopRunner’s website.

How does ShopRunner work?

After you sign up for ShopRunner and create your account, receiving your perks is easy. You can shop with your favorite online retailers through the ShopRunner website or app to see all participating brands or choose to shop on the merchant website as normal.

When you shop on the ShopRunner website, you can view search results from 100+ stores that qualify for free, two-day shipping.

Alternatively, check for a ShopRunner logo as you shop normally with participating merchants.

You’ll always complete your payment through the retailer’s website. Just sign in to your ShopRunner account to unlock the free, two-day shipping and returns.

In addition to quick shipping and returns at no extra cost, ShopRunner offers special deals with its participating merchants that can help you save even more money.

From discounts to special promotions, ShopRunner has all kinds of offers that can save you more on your online shopping.

Restrictions with ShopRunner

Unfortunately, there are some restrictions that limit ShopRunner’s perks. For example, many of the retailers that participate in the program require a minimum purchase amount to qualify for the free, two-day shipping.

Due to size, shape, weight or other factors that affect shipping, not all products qualify for the deal either. That means you might have to receive your order in two separate shipments – if your whole cart doesn’t qualify.

While ShopRunner includes free returns in addition to free, two-day shipping, some merchants charge a restocking fee on returned items. So you still might be charged some extra fees, despite using the service.

Additionally, ShopRunner does not allow users to combine shipments from multiple stores. While you can shop multiple brands on ShopRunner’s site, you’ll still have to pay on the merchant website and ship orders by brand.

Which cards come with a ShopRunner membership?

For most users, ShopRunner charges a $79 annual fee for its services. But many credit cards include membership as a card perk, allowing you to enjoy free, two-day shipping at no extra cost. All American Express business and consumer cards come with the benefit, in addition to World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercards. Here are a few of our favorite cards that include a ShopRunner membership:

CardRewards rate
Blue Cash Everyday

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
  • 1% cash back general purchases
  • Terms apply
Blue Cash Preferred

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%)
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations
  • 3% cash back on transit
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • Terms apply
American Express Cash Magnet

American Express Cash Magnet® Card

  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • Terms apply
American Express Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

  • 4 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1x)
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • Terms apply
American Express Platinum Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
  • 5 points per dollar on eligible hotels booked with amextravel.com
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
  • Terms apply
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

  • 2 miles per dollar on general purchases
  • 5% bonus miles when you redeem for travel statement credits

To enroll in ShopRunner with an eligible card, check out your card’s benefits page. You can also enter your eligible American Express or Mastercard information on the ShopRunner website.

ShopRunner vs. Amazon Prime

Both ShopRunner and Amazon Prime offer free, two-day shipping for members for an annual fee, but they differ quite a bit from there.

ShopRunner

Amazon Prime

Annual fee

$79

Annual fee

$119

What it includes

  • Free 2-day shipping with 100+ merchants
  • Free returns
  • Special discounts with online retailers
What it includes

  • Free 2-day shipping for over 100 million items
  • Access to Prime Video movies and tv shows
  • Access to Prime Music
  • Free 2-hour Whole Foods delivery in select cities
  • Discounts on certain items


While Amazon Prime has a higher annual fee, it includes several extra perks and more qualifying items. However, frequent shoppers of brands with products that can’t be found on Amazon still might get more value out of ShopRunner.

Is ShopRunner worth it?

If you own a card that includes ShopRunner membership – or can qualify for a free trial period with a PayPal membership – signing up for the service is a no brainer. You can save money on shipping fees and get your online orders quicker.

If you don’t have a free membership, the annual fee is a bit high for the amount of merchants that qualify, especially when compared with similar services like Amazon Prime. Calculate how much you spend per year on shipping from eligible retailers before deciding if ShopRunner is right for you.

See related: Bank of America Cash Rewards vs. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, Earn Membership Rewards points on Ebates shopping with new offer

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Published: March 13, 2019

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