12 Loyalty Rewards Programs You Didn't Know Existed

By Kelly Medeiros on 10 March 2014 (Updated 18 September 2014) 0 comments

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We've all heard of reward or loyalty programs for things like airlines, hotels, retailers, and restaurants, but there are also some other lesser-known places where you can rack up points for cash or goods. Check out the programs below, so you don't miss out. (See also: Best Travel Reward Credit Cards)

1. Upromise

Upromise, which is owned by Sallie Mae, allows you to earn money towards college on your everyday spending at more than 800 online stores and thousands of supermarkets, drug stores, and restaurants. Members simply register their credit card to a Upromise account to earn 1%-25% cash back on qualified purchases. You can choose to invest your earnings in a savings account or 529 plan, or use your funds to pay down a student loan or other college expenses. (See also: Upromise Review)

2. Health Insurance Rewards

Check to see if your health plan offers specific reward programs. Depending on your plan, you can earn anything from gift certificates to out-of-pocket credits just by taking health assessments, participating in healthy living programs, or going on routine preventative visits. HumanaVitality, for example, even allows you to earn "Vitality Bucks," which you can turn into movie tickets, hotel stays, or electronics at the HumanaVitality Mall.

3. Shopkick

Location based app Shopkick allows you to accumulate points ("kicks") just for visiting many of the nation's top retailers, like Macy's, Old Navy, and Best Buy. Scanning items on your smartphone and making purchases can earn you even more points. Points can be redeemed for gift cards at your favorite stores.

4. Bing

You can earn rewards just for using Bing as your search engine. You can sign up using a Microsoft account that will automatically track your credits for each search. You can also earn by trying out new features, tips, and making Bing your homepage. Rewards include gift cards for popular brands like Starbucks, Amazon, and Xbox, as well as charities. You can even use rewards to get Skype credits.

5. Product Rewards

You may be familiar with Coke and Pepsi's reward programs, but you may not realize there are other brands where you can earn points for your purchases. Baby care brands, such as Huggies, Pampers, and Earth's Best, all allow you to earn points by entering product codes from your purchases to use towards things like free merchandise, gift cards, and other perks. Some other brand rewards programs include Kellogg's, Lean Cuisine, and L'Oreal. It's great to get rewarded for what you'd be buying anyway, but note that you need to take the time to manually enter your product codes in order to earn points.

6. Regal Cinemas

If you like going to the movies, don't forget to sign up for Regal Entertainment Group's theatre loyalty program, Regal Crown Club. This allows you to earn credits for box office and concession purchases, which you can redeem for free tickets, drinks, and popcorn at future visits. Considering Regal has the largest and most geographically diverse number of theaters in the U.S. (over 7,400 screens in 581 theatres), chances are there's a location near you. (See also: Watch Movies in the Theater for Free)

7. Rewards for Exercising

Most people don't realize they can actually earn rewards (other than fitness and weight loss) by exercising. Mobile apps, like Everymove and Earndit, which connect to popular fitness trackers, like Fitbit, RunKeeper and My Fitness Pal, allow you to earn points for going to the gym, exercising, or participating in fitness events. Rewards generally include fitness products and donations to charities. (See also: Top 5 Strength Training Apps)

8. Amex Twitter Sync

Amex Twitter Sync is a twist from the traditional rewards approach. Apart from Amex Rewards, you can now sync your eligible Amex card with your Twitter account to earn savings rewards. The program requires members to Tweet special Amex deal hashtags, which then make them eligible for special savings upon purchase. 

9. StubHub

For those into sports, concerts, and events, StubHub Fan Rewards allows you to earn 2% in reward credits on every eligible StubHub ticket purchase. Reward credits are redeemed in $10 increments (called "FanCodes") to be used on future StubHub purchases. Superstar status gets you 3% reward points, seat upgrades, and priority invitations.

10. Viggle

Viggle is an app for iOS and Android where you can earn points for watching TV shows. You can check in through the app to register the shows you are watching and earn points for the amount of viewing time. While it takes a good number of points to reach rewards, which include gift cards to popular retailers, it's easy enough to make a few cents watching your shows.

11. Amtrak

We all know that you can earn rewards for airline travel, but many people forget that Amtrak also has a rewards program. All those business trips can easily earn you points if you sign up with the program. Amtrak even has an online shopping mall as an additional way to earn. Points can be redeemed for free Amtrak tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, and gift cards at popular retailers.

12. Recyclebank

With Recyclebank, you can earn points on your weekly recycling pickup. The program works by teaming up with waste haulers to award points based on the weight of your recycling collection. You can also earn points by pledging green actions or taking tutorials on the site. Points can be used towards free magazines, grocery store credits, charities, and discounts at local stores, restaurants, and services.

What are some of your preferred reward programs that others may not know about?

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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