Upromise LogoBy the time my husband and I graduated from college (my husband in 2009 and myself in 2011) we had accumulated nearly $100,000 in student loan debt.  Just writing that makes me feel nauseous. Immediately after graduating we started working on a plan to pay off our debt quickly. Our goal is to have these loans paid off by December 2015. Reaching our goal is taking a ton of work. We’ve learned how to live frugally, budget and cut down our expenses. We use coupons and aim to get the best deals possible while shopping. One tool I’ve learned to love is Upromise.

What is Upromise?

Upromise is a United States loyalty program where members earn cash-back savings. The cash back rewards can be used for a variety of purposes including: funding a 529 college savings plan, pay off existing student loans or simply cash back. This program was founded in 2000 by David Fialkow and is owned by Sallie Mae.

You can earn cash back rewards in a few different ways:

  • Upromise Online Shopping Portal – This is a cash back rewards program for online shopping. Visit the Shopping portal and use the Upromise affiliate links to shop at your favorite stores and earn cash back.
  • Upromise Dining Rewards program – Register your credit card with Upromise Dining Program to earn up to 8% cash back on your meals drinks, tax and tip. The credit card does not have to be the Upromise credit card.
  • Upromise Credit Card – This credit card will help you earn additional rewards at the Upromise shopping portal and dining rewards program.  You can read my review here.
  • Family and Friends Link – You can invite your family and friends to your program. Now they have the ability to send you all of their earnings or just a part they feel like sharing. You can have as many people join your program as you would like.

My experience with Upromise

I personally use the Upromise online shopping portal. I haven’t tried using the dining rewards, credit card or the family and friends link so I can’t speak to these programs.  The online shopping portal works great. It’s very similar to the cash-back shopping program, Ebates.

If you aren’t familiar with online cash-back shopping programs, let me explain how it works. The idea is that you earn a percentage of your online shopping back. For example, Best Buy’s Upromise cash back reward is 4%. If you spend $100 at their online website, you will earn $4.

To use Upromise, you need to register for a free account. Next, go to the Upromise shopping portal. Your home page will look something like this:

Upromise Screenshot


[lightbox full=”https://www.debtroundup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/upromise-screenshot.jpg” title=”Upromise”]See Full Size Screenshot[/lightbox]

Now find the store you would like to shop at. Upromise offers cash-back at hundreds of stores. You can search for stores by category, name, by product you are shopping for, and even search for stores that offer free shipping. As someone living on a tight budget, free shipping is a must!

Once you find the store you would like to shop at, simply click on the link and Upromise will direct you to the retailer’s website. Make sure to complete your shopping in this window. Once you make your purchase, your account will be credited typically within ten days. Sometimes the cash-back may take up to 45 days to be credited to your account. If you have any concerns, make sure to reach out to customer service.

What I love about Upromise

Upromise cashback ratesThe best thing about Upromise is their cash-back rates. I had an account with Ebates and use online cash-back shopping as much as possible.  When I signed up for a free account with Upromise, I was surprised to see how much cash-back I could earn. Upromise appears to have higher cash-back rates than Ebates. I didn’t compare every single store, but on a general note, the cash back rates seem to be higher.

After seeing how much more I could earn, I started primarily using the Upromise program and I haven’t been disappointed. The program is easy to use and reliable. You won’t get rich, but if you stick with it you can earn a lot of cash back rewards over time.

The Verdict

Upromise offers great tools to help you save money and pay off your student loans.  Saving a few dollars here and there adds up over time. I’ll also be signing up for the dining rewards program to earn even more cash-back rewards. Paying off student loans is a marathon, not a sprint. Every dollar I earn in cash-back rewards is a dollar closer to debt freedom. Even if you don’t have student loan debt, this could be a great tool to help you save money for your children’s college funds. You could even help a friend pay off their student loan debt by participating in the family and friends link.

Do you use Upromise or thought about signing up?

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  1. I had the Upromise credit card for a while, but it was before I really started travel-hacking. I think it is a great card for someone who wants to consistently earn rewards for shopping but doesn’t necessarily care about maximizing those rewards.

  2. I had heard about Upromise but didn’t know much about the details. With SO much student loan debt, I’m super excited to hear that this is another tool I can use to pay them down quicker. I don’t do credit cards, but I would definitely check out the shopping portal.

  3. I wish I had found out about it sooner! I think there are some great options with this program. I just signed up for the restaurant rewards as well.

  4. I think Upromise has done a good job creating options that could work for anyone. Whether it’s credit card rewards, online shopping rewards, dining rewards. There are plenty of options.

  5. Awesome review Liz! I have used Upromise since my son was born and it has been good. I was able to pull out $200 the other day and put it into his 529 account. Now that money will grow much bigger in his investment portfolio!

  6. What a great tool for helping to pay back student loans. I had no idea that such a thing existed. You are right, the repayment of student loans is a marathon and this will take a couple of steps of that race. Every little bit helps!

  7. That is a wonderful thing you are doing for your son. He will really appreciate that one day. It’s amazing how quickly a few dollars of cash-back can add up!

  8. I think it’s a really great tool! It’s important to know that there are resources out there to help you pay off your student loans.

    1. You should think about them DC! They are free to you and easy to use. I earned over $200 this year alone with Upromise. That is free money to go into my son’s 529 account. You can pull it out as cash too.

  9. I have been a member of Upromise since August 2006. My credit cards are registered with them, as well as my grocery cards. The majority of my shopping for non-food items is online. I always check Upromise before making a purchase. I have only earned a little more than $200 in the past eight years. I would say that at least 50 percent of the time I do not receive credit for my purchases. Somehow there is no record of me accessing partner sites through Upromise.

    1. Thanks for the comment LT. I have earned over $200 in less than a year, but that’s because I make sure I get the best deal possible with coupons and using my Upromise Mastercard. That increases my earnings quite a bit. There are stipulations on what you can earn. Some retailers don’t allow Upromise to provide earnings to their members on certain purchases and orders.

  10. I have earned about $1500 from Upromise for my 6 year old. We try to maximize earnings by buying as much stuff as possible from Upromise affiliated vendors when it makes economic sense. Toiletries, cat litter, groceries (when mygofer was a viable option) car maintenance through Sears, vacations through Upromise’s vendors, clothes etc…it all adds up. That and you can still use the store’s online coupons and get free shipping most of the time. The $$$ put into the 529 is state income tax deductible. Since I work on the assumption that privacy no longer really exists anymore, I may as well get something in return for my data.