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Ted Rossman has seven years of experience in the credit card and personal finance industries as a member of the award-winning communications department at CreditCards.com and its sister sites The Points Guy and Bankrate.
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There’s an easy way to save money with your credit card that you may not be aware of.
The industry term is “card-linked offers,” but you might be more familiar with brand-specific examples such as Amex Offers, Chase Offers and BankAmeriDeals. Essentially, these are digital coupons that you select ahead of time on a computer, smartphone or tablet. They’re applied to one of your credit cards, and when you make an eligible purchase with that card, the discount is automatically applied.
One of my 2019 credit card resolutions is to take better advantage of these promotions. I have two eligible cards, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the Chase Freedom. I get occasional emails from these card issuers with information on the latest offers, but I admit I don’t pay as much attention as I probably should. Part of the problem is that the promos don’t necessarily jump out to me because I don’t always know I’m planning to buy something from that retailer.
For example, I have a Chase Offer for 10 percent back at Advance Auto Parts. I did recently buy something from Advance Auto Parts, but I didn’t notice the available discount until much later. Fortunately, it was a small purchase and I didn’t miss out on much, but even if it had been a larger car repair, I wouldn’t have selected the Chase Offer since I didn’t foresee buying anything from them in the near future.
This is why I should revisit my Chase and Amex Offers more regularly. I do better when I know something is coming, like the Amex Offer I activated last year for 10 percent off my cellphone payments. Since those were purchases I already knew were coming, signing up for the Amex Offer was a no-brainer.
See related: Maximize savings on in-store shopping using rewards cards
More ways you can benefit
Another example of a promotion that could be valuable but is easily missed is an Amex Offer that I have from DoubleTree by Hilton (spend $225 or more, get $45 back). When planning upcoming travel, I should remember to view my card-linked offers. What if a DoubleTree charged $225 per night and I booked a rival hotel for $210 because it was cheaper? The DoubleTree would have actually cost $180 thanks to the Amex Offer, so I should factor card-linked offers into future hotel searches.
Card-linked offers can be especially relevant when you’re buying a gift for someone. I have a Chase Offer for 5 percent back at Under Armour. The next time I’m buying workout wear for one of my brothers, I should look for a discount like that one and compare with prices on other sites. Buying directly from Under Armour – particularly with the 5 percent discount – might be a better deal than purchasing the same item from a reseller such as Amazon.
That brings me to another important point: You can and should stack discounts with card-linked offers. If Under Armour was offering 30 percent off the shirt I was planning to buy, I could get that deal and the 5 percent back via Chase Offers.
Yet there’s even more: stack shopping portal discounts, too. That will further juice your savings, whether you prefer third-party cash back sites (such as Ebates and Ibotta), an airline portal or a card issuer’s portal. Sticking with the Chase example, clicking through their Ultimate Rewards portal to UnderArmour.com will score you an additional 8 percent cash back (on top of the 5 percent Chase Offer and any discount you get from UnderArmour.com).
Just make sure to read the fine print of each offer before redeeming. Some offers might apply only to online purchases, others might disqualify your purchase if made through a third party.
These are all excellent reasons to check in on your card-linked offers more frequently. They amount to a revenue-share agreement between a retailer, a card issuer and you. Make sure to get your piece of that pie.
I would normally use my Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card (1.5 percent back on everything) at a store like Advance Auto Parts or Under Armour, because my other cards offer just 1 percent back on that kind of spending. But with a little bit of advance planning, I could have gotten many times that thanks to Chase Offers and the Ultimate Rewards portal.