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Card-Linking: Driving Value for Customers

By February 19, 2020January 28th, 2021No Comments



The CardLinx Association, a non-profit trade group with members in 17 countries and on four continents (, has its finger on the pulse of the card-link industry. Our team continuously monitors the marketplace to uncover the innovative ways merchants and retailers use card-linking to build affinity.

Consideration for inclusion on the top-10 list was based on three key factors:

  • Innovation. Features consumers value, including the ability to receive and redeem a cash-back reward or loyalty points.
  • Scale of CLO Advertising Budget. The dollar amount that the merchant dedicates to promoting the card-linked marketing channel.
  • Longevity. The length of time the program has been in market.

Congratulations to the 2020 CardLinx Top 10 US National Merchants (and Runners Up). Read on to learn what they did to make the list.


1. Starbucks

The ubiquitous coffee company (including Seattle’s Best, Tazo Tea, Evolution Fresh, La Boulange and Torrefazione) came on the scene in 1985—and continues to lead the category. Starbucks card linked offers are available on many of the most ubiquitous CLO platforms including BankAmerideals, Chase mobile offers and many more.

2. BP

BP, one of the world’s largest gas and oil companies, gives customers discounts at the pump at participating BP and Amoco stations. Cardholders get up to 30¢ off each gallon when they use a linked BP Visa credit card or BP credit card and download the BPme app. 5cents off if they use any other credit card on app.

3. FedEx

Shipping and printing company FedEx, with more than 2,000 retail location has partnered with leading card issuers including AMEX to provide card linked offers. Then they simply accept the offer—and use the card to pay. Amex Offers are in addition to the savings and discounts customers get through their FedEx account.

4. Sam’s Club

Retail warehouse Sam’s Club is known for offering quality products at exceptional value. They have card linked offers available through Rakuten in store among other publishers. The Walmart-owned membership club, with 599 locations worldwide, has also earned a reputation for rewarding customers with cash back for qualifying in-club, online and mobile purchases made with the Sam’s Club MasterCard.

5. Hilton

Hilton Worldwide is one of the largest and fastest growing hospitality companies in the world, with more than 4,660 hotels, resorts and timeshare properties comprising more than 765,000 rooms in 102 countries and territories. They work with a number of CLO platforms which include Rakuten, Chase, and Wells Fargo. They believe in honoring more than 52 million members with exciting, authentic, and extraordinary possibilities.

6. UnderArmour

When Rakuten members take advantage of Under Armour, Inc. offers, they benefit from all available coupons, plus they get 3% cash back using a linked card.

7. Staples

Staples is the world’s largest office products company with consistently great deals on office supplies, printer ink, toner, computers, printers and office furniture. Rakuten members can get 2% cash back using a linked card.

8. Total Wine & More

The country’s largest independent wine retailer, which started in 1991, operates 201 superstores in 24 states and continues to grow. They have a card-linked offers in a variety of platforms including Groupon.

9. Best Western

With over 4,000 hotels in over 100 countries, Best Western offers quality hotel rooms and travel packages at affordable rates. Book your next vacation or business trip and save with Best Western coupons and discount hotel reservations. You are able to find card-linked offers for Best Western on Rakuten and Chase among others.

10. Nordstrom Rack

Savvy shoppers get discount prices up to 70% off on top brands on luxury clothing, shoes and accessories for women, men, juniors and kids at Nordstrom Rack. They participate in a wide variety of card-linked offers which include AMEX, BankAmerideals, Rakuten and more.


11. Five Guys

Founded in 1986 by a mom, dad and their five sons, Five Guys is an American fast casual restaurant chain. The burger and fries eateries—there are 1,500 of them in North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East—let customers place orders online to pick-up or deliver.

12. Ray-Ban

Ray-Ban is the global leader in premium eyewear market and by far the best-selling eyewear brand in the world. They have the hottest sunglasses including Wayfarer, Clubmaster, and Aviator styles.

13. Macy’s

Famously known for delivering high-quality fashion, outstanding home accessories and décor, and affordable luxury goods of all categories to customers for over 150 years, Macy’s is your online and in-store destination for everything you need or want.

14. Saks Off 5th

Saks OFF 5TH is your premier discount designer outlet, offering all the top fashion brands for men, women and kids at savings of up to 70% off standard retail pricing.

15. Chuck E. Cheese

Chuck E. Cheese was founded in 1977 and is a popular destination for families with kids between two and 12. The chain, the primary brand of CEC Entertainment, Inc., features pizza, a salad bar, animated characters and an arcade.

16. Paul Martin’s Grill

Paul Martin’s American Grill, a privately held company founded in 2007 by Paul Fleming and Brian Bennett with the mission to offer America’s classic cuisine by using only the highest quality, best tasting ingredients, where all food is grilled on live fire.

17. JC Penney

JCPenney has a range of fantastic deals available on clothing, homeware and more so you can shop well-known brands at great discounted prices.

18. Bed, Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., founded in 1971, is an omni-channel retailer offering high quality and differentiated products for the home.

19. Crate & Barrel

Crate & Barrel sells furnishings and accessories from its nearly 100 stores, by catalog and online. Founded in 1962, the retailer’s known for quality design, value and functionality. Affiliated brands include CB2 and Land of Nod.

20. Gap

Gap is an American clothing and accessories retailer founded in 1969. Affiliated brands include Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta, with a combined 3,100+ stores.

Card-linking programs continue to gain traction among banks, card issuers, non-bank CLOs—and merchants and retailers. By providing the rewards (and offers) consumers are looking for, they’re building customer loyalty, and establishing themselves as market leaders.

Unless otherwise noted the card-linked programs described above are free to consumers.


April 21, 2020 | San Francisco, CA


June 30, 2020 | Paris, France


September 1, 2020 | Tokyo, Japan


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