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Card-linked offers are no longer limited to banks and card issuers. General purpose mobile apps and websites are using the technology to get consumers to log in often, purchase more, and stay loyal. Free card linking programs are capitalizing on consumers’ desires to save money every day.

The CardLinx Association is a non-profit trade group with members in 17 countries and on four continents ( Members include Microsoft, Rakuten, Samsung, UBS and RBC to name a few. CardLinx recently evaluated non-bank card-link programs worldwide based on four key factors:

  1. Innovation. Features that consumers and merchants care about most, including the ability to target and segment offers using spend data, location and self-service.
  2. Engagement. Consumer ease-of-use, including offer relevance and the convenience of locations where offers can be redeemed.
  3. Longevity. The length of time the program has been in market.
    Scale. The number of merchants and consumers participating.

Ten programs stood out. Read on to find out what these category leaders did to make the list.


1. Rakuten In-Store (USA & Canada)

E-commerce marketplace Rakuten now lets consumers earn cash back when they shop in person, just as they do when they shop online. A shopper links the store’s offer (e.g. 2% cash back at Sephora) to a debit or credit card through the online and app-based service—then uses the card to pay at the store. Once purchase is confirmed, the card is credited. Rakuten In Store’s cash back—plus coupons and promo codes—add value to consumers and merchants alike.

2. Yelp (USA)

Directory service and review forum Yelp is connecting restaurants with diners. Customers get up to 10% cash back for eating at any of 8,000+ eating establishments nationwide. Sign up and linking cards is easy. From there, all a customer needs to do is activate an offer and pay with their linked card. More than 1.5 million cards are linked to Yelp, and $3 million in cash back has been paid out so far.

3. Groupon+ (USA)

True to its mission to help people discover and save on things to do, see, eat and buy, Groupon’s now in the cash-back business. In addition to selling steeply discounted coupons to groups of people, the company also provides linked-card offers to diners at participating restaurants. All a buyer has to do is sign up, link an eligible card, and activate an offer. Cash back—Groupon’s rates are as high as 30%—appears on the cardholder’s statement.

4. GasBuddy (USA)

GasBuddy—the company that helps people avoid paying full price for fuel—and Groupon have partnered to help consumers take advantage of food and drink deals. Enrolling an eligible payment card lets GasBuddy customers take advantage of money-saving card-linked offers at participating restaurants. Once they pay with their enrolled card, they get GasBuddy GasBack redeemable for free gas at 95% of service stations across the US.

5. American Airlines Simply Miles (USA)

SimplyMiles allows AAdvantage members to earn miles while shopping for their favorite brands—both in-store and online. Personalized offers are linked to the members’ Mastercard, making it easier and faster to accumulate miles needed for upcoming travel. The program’s quick and easy to sign up for—and rewards are posted to the AAdvantage account.

6. Avios/British Airways (UK)

Avios is the global currency of travel, turning everyday spending into rewards for almost 8 million customers around the world. In 2017, with sights set on further global expansion, Avios undertook change needed to add even more value. Today consumers earn rewards on both online and in-store purchases. Offers are presented automatically based on consumer preference, and points are awarded immediately.

7. Uber Local Offers

Uber riders can now turn everyday spending into Uber Cash—with Visa Local Offers. By linking an eligible Visa card on their Uber account, customers earn rewards whenever they make purchases online or in person at featured stores and restaurants. It’s easy to enroll and simple to redeem rewards for Uber rides.

8. United Airlines Mileage Plus Dining (USA)

This card-link program lets MileagePlus members enjoy eating at local restaurants—while earning miles. Members earn up to 5 miles for every dollar spent by using their linked credit or debit card at one of 10,000 participating eateries. A special sign-up offer lets consumers earn up to 3,000 miles in the first 30 days.

9. Sears Shop Your Way Rewards (USA)

Sears maintains life is better with points, which is why the retailer—known for cash back awards—launched a card-linked program that rewards customers even more. With 11,000+ partners, members link credit or debit cards (up to 5) to earn points when they purchase flowers, food, entertainment, travel, furnishings, fashion—and more. Points can be redeemed online (,, or in-store (Sears, Kmart or Lands’ End).

10. FlipGive (USA & Canada)

A time-saving alternative to fundraising, FlipGive lets teams earn cash back on what they’re already buying. By linking the team’s credit or debit cards, they get paid whenever they shop (online or in-store), dine out or book travel. The app collects donations too—and the team keeps 100% of what’s earned. FlipGive teams have earned more than $24 million to date.

More and more apps and websites like these are helping people get more for their money. These innovative organizations are digitally engaging consumers with the compelling card-linked cash-back offers that provide the savings they’re looking for.


March 10, 2020 | Tokyo, Japan


April 21, 2020 | San Francisco, CA


June 30, 2020 | Paris, France


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