This is often the point where opponents of college education would argue and say that a college education is not necessary. Popular online influencers are at the forefront of this argument.
And while they have valid points, that doesn't mean that getting the right degree is a waste of time or money. In fact, if you plan to enter highly-skilled professions in fields like healthcare, education and engineering, a college degree will almost certainly be a necessity!
And so for those of us who want to give our children the promise of an education, it's critical to looks for ways to earn a college degree without racking up large amounts of debt. That's where Upromise comes in. Upromise can help with that by offering rewards to bolster your college savings. Learn more in our Upromise review.
- Link a card to begin earning rewards at restaurants and online
- Earn 1.529% cash back with the Upromise Mastercard (and up to 5% on dining)
- Get a $25 bonus within 30 days when you link your 529 plan account
Ways To Earn Rewards
Restaurant Rewards, Online Shopping, Upromise Mastercard
Restaurant Rewards Rate
Mastercard Rewards Rate
1.529% to 5%
What Is Upromise?
Originally owned by Sallie Mae, the Upromise rewards platform first launched in 2000. In June 2020, it was announced that it had been acquired by Prodege, the parent company of several other popular rewards brands like Swagbucks, MyPoints, and InboxDollars.
Upromise is a pathway to help you save for your child's college education through earning rewards. There are four ways you can save and earn rewards:
- Restaurant rewards
- Upromise Mastercard
- Online shopping
- Savings tools and bonus opportunities
Let’s take a closer look at how each of these earning opportunities work.
Linking Your 529 Plan
They key step to start is making sure you link your 529 plan. By linking your 529 plan within the first 30 days of opening a Upromise account, you get a $25 bonus.
Then, as you complete the rewards listed below, your bonus offers can be transferred to a 529 savings plan (or to a checking account if you don't want to save for college - but that's why you're here).
Upromise Restaurant Rewards
If you like eating out, don’t let those dining dollars go to waste! Upromise partners with approximately 10,000 restaurants across the United States. Each time you eat at one of these restaurants, you can earn 2.5% cashback on your purchase.
You will have to sign up as a Upromise member first and then register your credit or debit card(s) with the program. Once you do that, you start to earn 2.5% cash back each time you order from any of the participating restaurants. And that is money that you can transfer to a checking or savings account or 529 college savings plan.
Online Shopping Rewards
You can also earn cashback when you shop online. Participating online stores include outlets like Under Armour, QVC, and Macys. And you can also book hotels through Upromise.
Upromise has a dedicated portal where you complete your transactions. It's important to sign into this portal whenever you want to buy anything from these retailers in order to earn your cashback.
Once Upromise verifies your purchases, you can earn as much as 12% cashback, depending on the online retailer.
If you’re approved for the Upromise Mastercard, you'll earn up to 1.529% in cashback for every $1 spent. You'll also earn 5% at participating restaurants instead of the regular 2.5%.
But the biggest value of the Upromise Mastercard comes if you connect your card to a 529 College Savings account. If you do, you'll receive a the top rate of 1.529% cashback!
Plus, there is no annual fee, new cardmembers earn $100 cash back rewards after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days, and cardmembers can also utilize Upromise Round Up, which lets you round up purchases for additional cash back rewards.
If you spend $2,000 on your card in a month and have $10 in round ups with a 529 linked, that's $40.25 each month into your linked 529, or $483 annually.
College Savings Tools And Advice
Upromise also provides you with the tools to set goals. You can use their platform to set up automatic transfers to your college savings plan or your bank accounts.
They also provide expert tips on how to meet and accelerate your savings goals. And if you have any questions related to saving for college, you can ask for advice on the Upromise Community Forum.
How Do You Get Started With Upromise?
Signing up for Upromise is simple. On their website, you'll find a JOIN NOW button at the top right hand corner. Once you click this, you’ll be prompted to enter your name, email address, phone number and home address.
To start earning rewards, you'll need to link the credit or debit card(s) you use regularly for completing transactions. From there, you’re set to start earning cash back rewards!
Remember, in order to earn restaurant rewards, you'll need to eat at participating restaurants. And, if you’d like to earn the rewards for online shopping, make sure you’re signed into the Upromise Shopping portal so they can verify your purchases easily.
And although the 1.25% cashback reward for every $1 (and 5% at restaurants) is nice, the Mastercard is completely optional. However, if you do decide to apply for the card, you'll need to meet its credit requirements.
Is Upromise Worth It?
As a free rewards program and a credit card with no annual fee, there's really no downsides to using Upromise. And it's always great to earn rewards for the money that you're already spending throughout the month.
If you happen to eat out a lot at participating restaurants, the opportunity to earn 2.5% to 5% cash back could make Upromise worth it. And that's especially be true if you can link a 529 college savings plan, since that would qualify you for the Upromise Mastercard 15% cahback bonus.
However, Upromise's other rewards-earning opportunities aren't significantly better than you'll find with other top rewards programs. And if you don't spend on a lot of money each on dining, you may be able to earn more cashback with a different top cash back credit card that offers bonus cashback in other spending categories.
Ways To Earn Rewards
Restaurant Rewards Rate
Mastercard Rewards Rate
1.529% on every eligible purchase
5% back when you dine at participating Upromise restaurants
Bonus For Linking Eligible 529 Plan
15% on your Upromise Mastercard earnings
Mastercard Annual Fee
Waiting Period For Pending Earnings To Fund
Minimum Transfer Amount
Generally $10 for checking/savings accounts and $50 for 529 plan accounts
Monthly (first week of the month)
Customer Service Number
Ease of Use
Upromise offers a shopping rewards program, a Mastercard, and savings tools that are all designed to help you save more for college.
- Earn 2.5% at restaurants and up to 12% at online retailers after linking a debit or credit card
- Get 1.25% cashback on all eligible purchases and up to 5% at restaurants with the Upromise Mastercard
- Boost your Upromise Mastercard rewards by 15% by linking an eligible 529 college savings plan (making it 1.529% cashback)
- No platform cost or credit card annual fee
- Dining rewards only available at participating restaurants
- Minimum earned balance of $10 to $50 required before rewards can be transferred
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.
Editor: Clint Proctor