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Home » Credit Cards, Reviews

Make Online Purchases without THIS Rewards Card? You’re Losing Money

Last updated by on December 19, 2014

I haven’t plugged a new credit card offering in over a year, as few (if any), have stood out from a pile of mediocrity.

But here’s one worth plugging, and one that I have added to my rewards hacking arsenal – the Upromise World MasterCard®.


If you make purchases online without this card, you’re losing money. It presents a massive cash back reward hacking opportunity with most major online retailers and no annual fee. There is also outside cashback rewards benefits in other categories. And you can get your cash back in the form of quarterly checks, deposits into a Sallie Mae high-yield savings account, towards a Sallie Mae serviced loan, or a Upromise 529 savings plan.

Got your attention? Good. Here’s a review of the Upromise World MasterCard.

Upromise Credit Card Overview:

upromise card reviewHere is a quick summary of some of the biggest perks of the Upromise card:

  • You can earn 10% or more cash back on eligible online purchases through
  • $50 cash back bonus after first use
  • Earn 4% cash back at thousands of participating Upromise dining restaurants
  • Earn up to 3% cash back on eligible gas purchases at Exxon or Mobil locations
  • Earn 2% cash back at eligible movie theater locations
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12-months

I’ll go in to the main perks in a bit more detail…

Earn 10% or More Cash Back on Eligible Online Purchases Through

So here’s the deal on this benefit – and it’s a big one. As a Upromise member, you earn 5% or more cash back with your Upromise account when you shop online and an additional 5% when you use your Upromise World MasterCard.

To earn and receive cash back earnings, you must be a Upromise member, you must pay for purchases with your Upromise MasterCard and your card must be registered to your Upromise account. To become a member and register your credit card, visit

Then, if you make a qualified purchase through the links on the Upromise website or Upromise emails, or by using the Upromise toolbar and/or browser add-on to a participating retailer, you get the bonus cash back.

Going nuts with online purchases can get dicey, of course, if you’re not careful. Here’s the thing: buy only things you were going to buy anyways. You know, the perceived “necessities”. Don’t go trolling for stuff just because you’ll get a discount.

In case you’re curious, here’s a list Upromise online retailers – and the bonus cash back %’s that are in addition to the 5% through Upromise. There are hundreds, and many of the post popular online retailers are in the program. Here are a few of the top participants (website-only) – I’m guessing you’ve purchased from a few:

  • Amazon (offers vary)
  • 1-800-PetMeds (7%) – where I get my dog’s heartworm meds
  • (5%) – screaming good prices on closeout shoes. I recently bought a pair of Merrell barefoot shoes for $35.
  • Ace Hardware (5%) – I love Ace Hardware
  • (5%)
  • Nashbar (5%) – great bike goods
  • Groupon (5%) – mostly crap, but sometimes good offers
  • H&R Block (8%) and Turbotax (6%) – boom – even cheaper tax software
  • iTunes (5%)
  • Kohl’s, Macy’s, JCPenney (all 5%) – because sometimes you need a dress shirt
  • (5%) – great for appliances, tools, home improvement stuff
  • Merrell (5%) – my shoe of choice
  • Meijer (5%) – they sell everything
  • Old Navy (5%) – because it’s the only place I can find men’s 36 length jeans – and usually for $20 or less
  • Radioshack (5%) – for all the electronic junk you never knew you needed
  • REI (5%) – because they have an amazing return policy – and mostly sell things at full price only
  • Sears (5%) – great for appliances and tools
  • Southwest Airlines (2%)
  • Staples (5%)
  • Target (5%)
  • Tracfone (12%) – super cheap MVNO prepaid cell phone service
  • Walmart (5%)

The Best Credit Card for Appliance Purchases

New appliances are not cheap. And when you buy them you’re tempted to sign up for those in-store credit cards that you will rarely use and cannot get any cash back on outside of that store.

Fortunately, the Upromise card allows for massive discounts on appliances purchased online at Best Buy (4%), Sears (5%, sometimes higher), Lowe’s (5%), and other stores – no need for multiple store credit cards! This makes the Upromise card the best credit card for appliances, by far.

Other Cash Back Categories

The 5-10%+ cash back at many popular online retailers makes this card stand out. But the rewards extend elsewhere.

You also earn 4% bonus cash back at thousands of participating Upromise dining restaurants with this card, 3% cash back on eligible gas purchases at Exxon or Mobil locations, 2% cash back on eligible movie theater locations (meh), and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

These categories don’t rotate. And there are no earning caps like there are on cards like the Chase Freedom. Outstanding!

Earn a $50 First-Use Bonus

To earn a one-time $50 contribution bonus, just use your Upromise World MasterCard to make a purchase or cash advance transaction within 90 days of opening your Upromise card account. Easy money.

No Annual Fee!

Here’s where this card stands out even further.

Most cash back cards these days have one of two value propositions:

  1. Decent cash back rewards (2%+ in one or multiple categories), but at the cost of an annual membership fee.
  2. 1% cash back rewards or less, with no annual fee.

Rarely do  you see a card that offers decent cash back rewards that has no annual fee. But this is one. Add in the fact that there are no rewards caps, and I challenge you to find a no annual fee card that can compete (outside of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express).

Final Thoughts:

I’m a big fan. There are huge opportunities to hack your online purchases, gas, dining, and more with this card. I see no negatives, outside of the obligatory late fee charges every credit card comes with. If you pay your balance in full each month, not a problem.

Full disclosure: I have signed up for the Upromise World Mastercard, think it’s a great credit card offering for my readers who pay off their monthly credit card balances, and don’t hesitate to recommend the card here. I receive a commission for any readers who click on my links and sign up for the card. It helps keep this blog afloat.

UPromise Card Review Discussion:

  • Do you have this card? What are your thoughts on it?
  • Are you a Upromise member?
  • Do you see this card being a good addition to your rewards card hacking toolkit?

About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 10,000+ others by getting FREE email updates. You can also explore every post I have written, in order.

  • Rob L says:

    Yep, this card gets ignored on credit card and rewards websites/blogs all the time, but is the best out there. Furthermore, its Sallie Mae branded cousin is the best I’ve found for gas, groceries, and Amazon. They do not advertise it’s rewards for Amazon, but, at least for that card, Amazon purchases are coded as bookstore purchases, and you get 5% back. I’ve made around $1k this year in cash back between the two using them mostly for business travel expenses but some personal stuff as well.

    At some point I’m going to get the Travelocity card for airfare purchases because, if you let the points rack up for a long while, your cash back gets doubled and you end up effectively with 6% back on airfare bough on Travelocity (and you still get airline miles). That’s unheard-of on airfare.

  • Ron Ablang says:

    I got excited at first but then I saw that my online retailers (Newegg, TigerDirect, & Meritline) were not on the list. I can’t think of who else I buy online from.

    Also, I get 5% cash back at restaurants using my Discover Miles card so I don’t need uPromise just yet.

    • Rob L says:

      Sometimes those two retailers are on the list. It looks like they aren’t at the moment, however. Maybe they pulled out during the holidays. It does fluctuate periodically. I’ve made a lot by finding items at the same price as sites like Amazon, NewEgg, and TigerDirect by ultimately buying through Abt Electronics or Rakuten.

  • Shahid Khan says:

    Wow. I have been using cash back websites for years and then caught on to Bing cash back…….but I never thought of getting a credit card for cash back purposes. Sure I have known about Discover and FFM cards (I have none of those)……but this card seems like a win win. Thanks for informing us.

    For future reference, I am going to rate this article as one of the best of the year. 🙂

  • Thomas says:

    Great find on this card, but a word of caution when shopping online with Upromise: I have been told by Upromise that its best to not use non-Upromise promo/coupon codes when shopping online through Upromise. I have had $50 of rewards put into my Upromise account, and then taken out because I entered a promo code from at checkout — apparently does not allow this “double dipping”. I totally understand, but my point was ‘there was nothing that told me that’. (I was beating my head on a wall, so I stopped fighting this after a few back and forth emails and phone calls.) Upromise is the middle man, and their merchants’ policies vary, and so they recommended not to use coupon codes that don’t come from Upromise, to be safe.

    • Shahid Khan says:

      I thought this was only a credit card to pay for online retailers that participate in the program. What about cash back sites like fatwallet? Can I use fatwallet and then use upromise credit card to pay for the purchase?

      • Rob L says:

        Upromise is first and foremost a cash back site like FatWallet. They talk up the student loan angle, but you don’t have to link to a loan at all if you don’t want to. I link to a Sallie Mae Savings Account because there’s supposed to be some kind of year-end bonus on the money you transfer to that. When you use the UP credit card, it often adds an extra 5% or so to your ultimate cash back, but that varies based on the site. I think it depends on how much, often, and what your purchasing needs are whether it’s a worthwhile deal. For me, it’s been huge due to my need to book flights, hotels, and rental cars regularly.

  • Steve says:

    Wow! I’ve never heard of this card before, but it seems great, I plan to apply and use it for future online purchases (and restaurants). Thanks for bringing this to our attention GE!

  • Ray Finkle says:

    Obviously this blog needs to make money on ads and whatnot, but if possible I’d like one clarification on the disclaimer. Is payment being received for clicks on these links just like any other ads that would appear on the site (through google ads or whatever), or is this a deal directly with the credit card company and for clicks AND card sign ups?


  • Jason says:

    It sounds like one too many hoops for me to jump through, not to mention the fact I have enough credit cards. However, as an REI employee, I think it’s worth mentioning that your REI co-op membership will earn another 10% towards your annual dividend in addition to the 5-10% cash back from purchasing online using the card. And if you happen to get anything at 10% off (like the current 3-more-socks deal) you still earn the dividend plus the cash back. I’m a big believer in “you get what you pay for,” but there are ways to buy quality goods within a budget!

  • Eugen says:

    Whoa, great card! Thanks G.E., I’ll send you some of the rebates your way!

  • Meena says:

    Does the card provide extended warranty coverage (most credit cards extend your warranty either a year or doubles your term)? This is very beneficial for appliances.

  • hh says:

    hi there..did some research and I read that “excellent” credit is needed (used to be good credit was needed)…if this card is targeted to college students how is this supposed to work? are they going to require co-signer? no sense applying if you don’t have 800 score ? since you say you have this card, when did you sign up? (and if recent in past month or so, what was your experience?

  • AP says:

    Hey G.E. I’ve been thinking about applying for this card for a while now but like hh mentioned there’s no sense adding an inquiry if I’m not sure I will get approved. Can college students be approved for this MasterCard? Credit Karma says my score is around 671. Please respond.

  • Edric says:

    Hi G.E., thanks for sharing this info! I am on the market now looking for appliances. It seems that I can also get the rebate by simply registering an account at, and not have to apply for the credit card. Am I missing anything?

  • Pottstown Plumber says:

    There’s certainly a great deal to find out about this subject.

    I like all the points you have made.


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