Upromise Students Reward Program Review – Is It Worth It?

Upromise is by Sallie Mae, and it is a reward program that gives its customers cashback points on any purchases they make from the participating vendors. This includes purchases at restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, online shops, and travel agencies.

After the purchases, all of the points you have earned are then deposited into your Upromise account. Once there, you can redeem them by converting them into cash, or through a check. One point is usually equal to $0.01.

This money can then be deposited into your Tax-advantage 529 college savings account which is a high-yield Sallie Mae account or you can credit the earnings against your student loans.

Upromise, therefore, acts sort of like a de facto credit card that offers millions of reward programs for Sallie Mae College and loan customers and their families. It was started in 2001, and so far, it has made more than $1 billion for its over 17 million customers.

You really do not have to enroll in their rewards program, and you shall not automatically become enrolled when you open a savings account with them.

This is because it is optional, but it doesn’t make sense not to do so. Anyone who enrolls stands a chance at making some money through their cashback programs, and if you have student loans, what better way of repaying them?

How The Upromise System Works?

Here are the main features you should know:

Online Shopping

Upromise has a shopping portal with links to many different online traders they have partnered with.

These offer you a 5% cashback when you purchase products from them.

In order to earn this, however, you should access their websites through this portal at all times. The rewards are not redeemable until the statement period comes to an end and each retailer has its own restrictions.

You should read all of the disclaimers on the site because this gives you instructions on the qualifying items.

It would be a big waste of time to search all over the retailers’ sites and then end up purchasing products that do not qualify. Please ensure to read the Fine print.

Dining At The Right Restaurants

The program has partnered with more than 10,000 restaurants in the US. Their rate of reward is 2.5% on all qualifying purchases.

In order to earn the cashback, you must register your debit or credit card with Upromise and then use the card when paying for meals.

In case you have more than one preferred credit or debit card, you should register them all, because Upromise issues cash backs on all of your purchases, and this includes the taxes you pay and tip.

Paying For Groceries

Upromise gives its customers eCoupons that they can use to receive discounts from the participating grocery and drug stores for everyday items such as pretzels, beauty products, etc.

You can simply download the coupons for the specific participating retailer on your frequent shopper card.

The frequent shopper card shall be needed before you even sign up for the program. You can do that here. The eCoupons will automatically credit your savings onto your Upromise account during the checkout.

Using The Card For Travels

Upromise has partnered with many travel merchants such as the Wyndham hotels and the Staybridge hotels.

When you make any purchases from any of their participating merchants, you shall earn a 5% cashback, depending on the type of travel you shall make and the partner you shall use as well.

The purchases available in this plan include airfare, hotel rooms, cruises, car rentals, and vacation packages. Use your Hotel rewards card of airline credit card in order to boost your cashback for your Upromise card.

The MasterCard

If you qualify for credit with Upromise, you can apply for their MasterCard which is a cashback credit card enabling you to earn 1.25% cashback on all purchases made every day.

You should, however, link your Upromise account to your 529 college savings plan and earn a bonus of 15% on all the earned cash backs.

Redeeming the earnings to your 529 plan

Once you have earned your cash backs, you can redeem them in increments of $10 each or more.

Any participant based in the US can enroll for the 529 college saving plan that is sponsored by Upromise and the state of Nevada.

The residents of Nevada usually enjoy special matching grants from the state and up to $300 for families per year if they earn less than $75,000. However, the 529 plan usually has a minimum and max contribution.

Pros & Cons of Upromise

Here are the main benefits and drawbacks of Upromise rewards program:

Cash Back Earnings

If you are a committed user of the Upromise Portal and have been targeting all the stores and restaurants that participate in the reward program, Upromise shall pay you handsomely in form of cash backs.

Most of the participating companies usually offer 5% cashback on all purchases. Others such as H&R block’s offer rewards of up to 15%, although this is very hard to find deal.

Helps You Save For College

Upromise deposits your rewards in a 529 saving plan which is sponsored by the state of Nevada.

These funds can then be utilized in paying for your kid’s college, which is one of the biggest incentives the Upromise has.

The Best Deals When Doing Your Shopping

The portal has direct access to thousands of vendors, and most of them offer discounts on all purchases on top of the cashback you shall earn for purchasing on their site.

Helps You Compare Prices As You Shop

The portal for Upromise enables you to choose the most affordable purchases by helping you compare prices from the numerous stores they have on their portal.

Most of the stores, of course, sell similar products, and by making a simple comparison, you shall easily make great savings on your purchases, not to mention the money you shall earn back after paying.

You Don’t Need A Credit Card In Order To Earn Rewards

Other reward programs such as Chase Ultimate, require you to have a credit card before you can earn any rewards, but Upromise doesn’t have any such rules. You can still earn your cashback from retail purchases, travels, and restaurants easily.

All you need to do is link your Upromise account with as many debit and credit cards as you want which includes the reloadable debit cards. When it comes to groceries, all you need to have is a frequent shopper card that is registered.

The Portal Has Earning Restrictions

Upromise’s online portal doesn’t offer customers the best deals on items, and it also has some restrictions from its retailers.

The first restriction is that you must access the retailers only through the portal. You cannot go ahead and make purchases and then contact the company later so you can earn the rewards, which is a little disappointing for when you wish to purchase products on the spur of the moment.

The fine print also has plenty of restrictions on when, how and which users can earn you the rewards. Upromise does alert you on the general cashback they can earn but they lack the required detail on individual products.

Less Appealing eCoupons and Dining Rewards

The eCoupons and restaurant deals are usually less appealing when you see them up close.

To start with, Upromise states that they have more than 10,000 participating restaurants, but that isn’t nearly as impressive as you would think.

Most of them are not in close proximity to where the members live, and you may end up looking for a restaurant forever.

Information Collection

Upromise was once sued for misleading its customers on the collection of personal information.

Customers complained that Upromise had encouraged them to use the personalized offers program that would collect information on their online behavior which included all websites they visited and the search terms they used.

The FTC claimed that this violated the user’s privacy. Upromise settled the case in 2012. This issue had a major impact on their operations and even caused them to rebrand their information collections portal. However, it may have put a dent in their customer numbers and some people still do not trust the company.

Conclusion

If you are a student, this is an excellent rewards program that can help you not only save for college but also pay up your loans by earning some extra cash on the side.

Not only does it give you cash back on purchases, but it can give you some much-needed upkeep money while still in school. They offer multiple ways of earning rewards, which means there is always an opportunity for you to earn.