How to Stack Rewards and Cash Back

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How to Stack Rewards and Cash Back

Rewards credit cards and cashback apps provide easy ways to save money, but the results get even more impressive when you stack the rewards several layers deep.

If you want to spend less money, save more, and make the most of the money you have, this article is for you.

Regardless of how frugal or thrifty you are, you’re always going to have some expenses. But with the right approach you can easily earn cash back or rewards for virtually every purchase you make.

What is Stacking Rewards?

In this article, we’ll look at how you can take advantage of multiple offers to stack rewards and cashback, with only a minimal amount of extra effort. Stacking or double-dipping on rewards will give you more money to save and invest, and you’ll love the feeling of knowing that you got a great deal.

We’ll take a look at a few specific examples that show just how easy it can be to stack rewards. We’ll also talk about the tools and resources that you can use to put this into practice in your own life, starting today.

So if you like to save money (and I’m sure you do), keep reading for some simple, practical tips that can have a big impact on your finances.

Related reading: Complete Guide to Maximizing Your Credit Card Rewards

5% Cashback Trick
Both the Chase Freedom Flex and the Discover it credit cards typically offer 5% cashback on grocery store purchases (up to $1,500) one quarter of each year. Most grocery stores have a gift card rack where you can buy gift cards for your favorite stores and websites. You can buy these gift cards during the quarter offering 5% cashback on grocery store purchases to maximize your cashback. If you buy gift cards for the places you shop at frequently, it’s an easy way to get 5% cashback.

The Basics of Stacking Rewards or Cash Back

There are a variety of different ways you can earn cashback or rewards, and the concept of stacking or double-dipping simply involves using multiple methods together.

You may be getting cash back by purchasing with a credit card, and then also getting cash back from an app. Or maybe you’re getting rewards points from a loyalty program.

Things You Need for Stacking Cash Back:

The best way to explain is to simply give a few real-world examples, and I’m sure that you’ll quickly see the potential.

Here are some specific stacking strategies that you can use to save on things you need to buy.

1. Stacking Rewards for Gas Purchases

Assuming you drive a car, gas is one of those necessary expenses that will always be a part of the budget. Fortunately there are some great possibilities for stacking rewards on gas purchases. If you can save 5-10% on a necessity like gas, that’s a huge win for your budget!

Here is a real-world scenario of the approach I’ve used to save up to 10% on gas.

  1. Buy a gas station gift card at Raise.com for 5% off the face value. I purchased a $100 gift card for Sheetz, my local gas station, for $95 on Raise.com.
  2. Before making the purchase go to Rakuten (you’ll need a free Rakuten account). You can earn 1% cashback from Rakuten on any purchase at Raise.com.
  3. Make the purchase using the Citi Double Cash credit card, which earns 2% cashback on every purchase.
  4. Use a gas station loyalty rewards card to get a discount on your gas purchase (I get a 1% discount at Sheetz). Pay with the gift card.
  5. Scan your receipt using the Trunow app to get an additional 1% cash back.

In this scenario I can save a total of 10% on gas purchases at Sheetz (you could use a similar approach with other gas stations). The biggest savings comes from purchasing the gift card from Raise at a discount. At Raise you can find gift cards for some gas stations, but not all. The discounts for gas stations tend to be a low percentage, but Raise often runs promotions where you can save an additional 4-6%, so those are great times to buy gift cards.

Part of this scenario (and several others that will be mentioned in this article) includes a credit card that pays 2% cashback for all purchases. The Citi Double Cash card is by far the best everyday cashback credit card, and it’s the card I use more than any other. If you’re serious about earning cashback and rewards, this card should be in your wallet.

Most gas stations have loyalty programs that will help you to save on every purchase. The discount at Sheetz is actually $0.03 per gallon, not a set percentage. Since all of the other rewards were listed as a percentage I put the Sheetz discount into a percentage based on the current price.

If you’re not familiar with Trunow, it’s a free app that helps you to find the lowest prices on gas near you, plus you can earn 1-2% cashback on any gas purchase. It’s really easy, and it’s a nice complement to these other rewards that have already been mentioned.

2. A Second Possibility to Stack Rewards for Gas

The example is a little different and you can actually earn stock as a reward by using the Bumped app. Bumped is very similar to a cashback app, except you’ll earn stock instead of cashback. From your Bumped dashboard, you’ll select one company from each of several different categories, including gas.

In the gas category, you can currently select from Shell, BP, or Chevron. Then whenever you make a purchase at the gas station of your choice using a credit card that’s linked to Bumped, you’ll earn a fractional share of stock as a percentage of the purchase. Currently, all three of these gas stations are offering 1% (gas and groceries are the categories with the lowest percentages in Bumped).

  1. Sign up for the Bumped app, select your choice of gas stations, and link your credit cards.
  2. Purchase gas from Shell, BP, or Chevron using the Citi Double Cash credit card to earn 2% in cashback. You’ll get an additional 0.5% in company stock through Bumped.
  3. Scan your receipt using the Trunow app to get an additional 1% cashback.

In this scenario you could earn 3% in cashback and 1% in stock for your gas purchases.

3. A Third Possibility to Stack Rewards for Gas

Some grocery stores allow you to earn rewards points linked to your loyalty program card, and you may be able to use those points for significant discounts on gas, or even free gas. The grocery stores that have these programs will usually have weekly specials that allow you to earn extra points for buying certain items. If you stock up on items during these promotions you can earn huge discounts on gas. This does require a little bit of work as you’ll need to check the specials each week and make your shopping list based on the current deals.

This scenario is just one possibility. The discount that you can earn on gas will depend on your shopping habits, but this is a very realistic possibility.

  1. Sign up for the loyalty program with a local grocery store that offers a discount on gas with your rewards points.
  2. Earn gas points with your purchases at the grocery store. For this example, let’s say you earn a discount of $0.20 per gallon.
  3. Purchase gas using the Citi Double Cash credit card to earn 2% in cashback.
  4. Scan your receipt using the Trunow app to get an additional 1% cash back.

The Citi Premier is an excellent credit card for purchasing gas. All your purchases at gas stations with this card will earn 3% cashback.

4. Stacking Rewards for Groceries

Just like gas, groceries are a necessary expense. The grocery bill is a significant part of the budget for most families, so any savings is welcomed. Here is a realistic scenario.

  1. Buy a grocery store gift card at Raise.com at a 5% discount. Gift cards for one of my local grocery stores, Giant, are currently available at a 1% discount, but if you buy during a promotion you can get them for 5% off, or more.
  2. Before making the purchase go to Rakuten (you’ll need a free Rakuten account). You can earn 1% cashback from Rakuten on any purchase at Raise.com.
  3. Purchase the gift card using the Citi Double Cash to earn 2% cashback.
  4. Use a grocery store loyalty card to get the best sales prices and earn points for other rewards. Pay at the grocery store with the gift card.
  5. Use cashback apps Ibotta and Fetch Rewards to save on items you would be buying anyway.
  6. Use any printed coupons that you have.

In this scenario you can save 8% with the combination of Raise, Rakuten, and the Citi Double Cash credit card (and any savings with Ibotta or Fetch Rewards is on top of that). I know groceries are an ongoing expense that I’ll always have, so whenever a good promotion comes up on Raise.com I can buy a grocery gift card knowing that I’m going to use it.

If you’re not familiar with Ibotta and Fetch Rewards, they are cashback apps that make it easy to save money on specific products, and in some cases on any purchase at a particular store. You just select the offers you want and then use your phone to scan your receipt after the purchase. It’s very easy, and a great way to stack rewards. In fact, with Fetch Rewards, you can just scan the receipt without claiming offers ahead of time. (See our Ibotta vs. Fetch Rewards comparison here.)

Pro Tip: Rotating rewards credit cards like the Chase Freedom Flex and the Discover it card are another great option for groceries. Both of these cards normally give you 1% cashback, but each quarter of the year there are some specific categories that earn 5% cashback. Each of these card typically runs a 5% offer at grocery stores one quarter of the year. And that 5% also applies to gift card purchases (at least, that’s how it has worked for me in the past).

Typically, the quarterly offers for these cards are different from each other. That means that you might be able to earn 5% cashback on groceries six months out of the year if you have both of these cards. Plus, you can stock up on gift cards while you’re getting 5% cashback and then use those gift cards later. And of course, you can stack this cashback with loyalty programs, apps, and other offers.

5. Stacking Rewards at Restaurants

In general, buying food at the grocery store and preparing it at home will save you a lot of money compared to eating at restaurants. But that doesn’t mean that you should never eat a restaurant. When you do go out to a restaurant there are some great ways to earn rewards.

  1. Buy a restaurant gift card at Raise.com for a 10% discount (the savings will vary depending on the restaurant, but there are many available for 10% off even without any type of extra promotion or sale).
  2. Before making the purchase go to Rakuten (you’ll need a free Rakuten account). You can earn 1% cashback from Rakuten on any purchase at Raise.com.
  3. Make the purchase using the Citi Double Cash credit card to earn 2% cashback.
  4. Use a restaurant loyalty program to earn extra rewards toward a free item.

Not too long ago I purchased a Domino’s Pizza gift card on Raise.com at a 17% discount. I made the purchase through Rakuten (1%) with my Citi Double Cash credit card (2% cashback), so the total discount was 20%. I also got credit for the purchase through their loyalty program and I’m one step closer to a free pizza.

Using Sign Up Bonuses to Stack Rewards
There are many credit cards that offer signup bonuses for new users (see our list of the best current credit card signup bonuses here). Signing up for one of these cards occasionally is another easy way to stack rewards. You’ll earn cashback or travel points with each purchase while you’re also qualifying for a bonus that could be worth a few hundred dollars or more.

Best Current Credit Card Signup Bonus Offers

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Reserve

American Express Gold

Vital Dollar rating

Vital Dollar rating

Vital Dollar rating

$1,250 Bonus

Redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards

$900 Bonus

 Redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards

60,000 bonus points

To qualify, spend

$4,000 in 3 months

To qualify, spend

$4,000 in 3 months

To qualify, spend

$4,000 in 6 months

6. A Second Possibility to Stack Rewards at Restaurants

While my favorite way to save at restaurants is to buy discounted gift cards, another option is to pay with your credit card at the restaurant and earn stock through Bumped. Currently, you can earn stock rewards at the following restaurants through Bumped: McDonald’s, Burger King, Chipotle, Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, Wendy’s, and Domino’s. You’ll earn 2% or 3% in company stock for your purchases at those restaurants.

  1. Sign up for the Bumped app, select your choice of “quick eats”, and link your credit cards.
  2. Pay at the restaurant using the Citi Double Cash credit card to earn 2% in cashback. You’ll get an additional 2% – 3% in company stock through Bumped.
  3. Use a restaurant loyalty program to earn extra rewards toward a free item.

7. Stacking Rewards for Hotel Reservations

Most people know about loyalty programs with particular hotel chains, but if you like to find the lowest price and you stay in a different chain each trip it can take a really long time to earn rewards. Fortunately, there are other ways to save.

  1. Purchase a Hotels.com gift card at Raise.com for 5% off (the offers available will vary).
  2. Before making the purchase go to Rakuten (you’ll need a free Rakuten account). You can earn 1% cashback from Rakuten on any purchase at Raise.com.
  3. Make the purchase using the Citi Double Cash credit card to earn 2% cashback.
  4. Use the Hotels.com loyalty program to earn a free night in any hotel.

In this scenario you can save 9%. Plus, Hotels.com tends to have great prices to start with. The Hotels.com loyalty rewards program allows you to earn points regardless of which hotels you stay in, making it a great choice if you use a lot of different hotels. For every 10 nights, you’ll earn 1 free night.

8. How to Stack Rewards for Shopping at Amazon

  1. Create a free account at an Amazon rebates site like RebateKey or Rebaid. Browse the offers with the highest rebate offers (some products offer a 100% rebate).
  2. Go through RebateKey or Rebaid and purchase the product on Amazon using an Amazon Prime credit card (5% cashback for Prime members).

With this approach, you can get HUGE discounts through the rebates. To make it even better, you’ll earn 5% cashback on the full purchase price, and then you’ll get a rebate from RebateKey or Rebaid. If you purchase a $50 product that has a 100% rebate offer, you’ll pay $50 at the time of purchase, you’ll earn $2.50 cashback, and then you’ll get the $50 rebate.

RebateKey
Rebaid
Vipon

Vital Dollar Rating

Vital Dollar Rating

Vital Dollar Rating

Rebates of up to 100% 

Rebates of up to 100%

Instant savings of 20% - 90%

Great selection of offers

Selection not quite as good as RebateKey

Best selection of offers

Simple and user-friendly

Get your rebate by direct deposit (optional)

New offers added all the time

The Tools You Need to Stack Cash Back and Rewards

If you want to make the most of cashback and rewards, here are the tools and resources you’ll need.

Citi Double Cash Credit Card

Most cashback credit cards will pay you 1% on your purchases. I love the Citi Double Cash card because I can earn 2% cashback on every purchase. I use this for every purchase unless I can earn more cashback or rewards with a different card (for example, I use the Amazon Prime Card for all Amazon purchases).

Chase Freedom Flex and Discover it Credit Cards

The Chase Freedom Flex card, and the Discover it card both offer 5% cashback on purchases in categories that rotate each quarter, and 1% cashback on everything else. I use these cards only for purchases that will earn me 5% cashback.

These cards are key for stacking rewards and getting the maximum amount of cashback. When you can get 5% cashback on purchases like groceries and gas, the savings add up fast.

Slide

Slide is a cashback app that makes it easy to earn 4%-5% cashback at many of your favorite stores and websites like Lowe’s, eBay, Google Play, Gamestop, REI, and many others. When you checkout, you’ll use the Slide app and earn 4% cashback on the purchase. If you pre-pay by depositing to your Slide account, you’ll earn 5% cashback.

What makes Slide so awesome is that you can very easily stack rewards. You’ll pay at the store or on the website with Slide, but Slide will ultimately charge your linked credit card. For example, when I need to buy something at Lowe’s, I pre-load my Slide account to earn 5% cashback from Slide, and I’ll pay with my Citi Double Cash credit card, which earns me another 2% cashback. With this approach, I can easily earn 7% cashback on any purchase at Lowe’s.

Sign up for Slide here.

Raise.com

Raise is one of my favorite websites. You can buy other people’s unwanted gift cards at below face value. Raise offers a one-year money-back guarantee on all purchases, so you can feel safe that you’re not going to get ripped off. With offers on a huge selection of retail stores, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, hotel chains, and even a few airlines, this is one of the easiest ways to save money.

The key with Raise is to buy gift cards for places where you know you’re going to spend money (like gas stations, grocery stores, and your favorite restaurants). One you’ve made a purchase at Raise you’ll be on their email list and you’ll get notifications when they are offering promotions. It’s pretty common for them to offer an additional 4-6% off every purchase.

Aside from Raise there are other similar sites like CardCash and CardPool. I like Raise because of their one-year guarantee and because they have the best selection of gift cards.

Rakuten ($30 signup bonus)

You can sign up for a free Rakuten account and earn cashback for making purchases at thousands of different stores and websites. It’s super easy and they’ll even give you a $30 bonus for signing up. Rakuten has become a big part of my cashback strategy.

Aside from Rakuten, there are also other similar cash back apps and sites like TopCashback. I like Rakuten the best, mostly for ease of use, but TopCashback has some great offers as well. (See my article on the best cashback apps and websites.)

Rakuten offers a free browser extension that notifies you whenever you’re browsing a website that offers cashback through their program. All you need to do is click a button on the notification and any purchases that you make will be tracked so you can earn the cashback.

When you’re checking out, the Rakuten browser extension automatically searches for coupon codes that will save you even more money. Sometimes it finds really great savings for you through coupon codes that you wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

Sign up for Rakuten and get a $10 bonus.

Swagbucks ($5 signup bonus)

Swagbucks allows you to earn points (they call them Swagbucks) that can be redeemed for your choice of gift cards or PayPal cash. There are several different ways to earn Swagbucks and one of the options is a cashback program that is very similar to Rakuten. You may be able to earn a higher amount of cashback at some websites through Rakuten, but sometimes Swagbucks will have a better cashback offer.

Sign up for Swagbucks and get a $5 bonus.

Ibotta ($20 in signup bonuses)

Ibotta is an awesome cashback app. You can claim offers from a wide variety of stores and websites, saving on purchases that you would be making anyway. For purchases made in a store, you’ll simply use your phone to scan the receipt and earn the cashback.

Sign up for Ibotta through this link and get $20 in bonus offers.

Bumped

Bumped is a free app that allows you to earn company stock instead of cashback. You can shop at places like Sam’s Club, Shell, McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, and many other places to earn free stock.

Sign up for Bumped.

Store Loyalty Rewards Programs

A lot of stores offer some sort of loyalty program. It could be a small discount at a gas station, sale prices at a grocery store, points toward a free pizza or a free cup of coffee, or just about anything else. Make sure that you sign up for loyalty programs at stores/restaurants that you use the most.

Start Maximizing Your Cash Back

Follow the steps in this article to start getting the most cashback and rewards possible on things like gas, groceries, restaurants, and travel. This article has everything you need to save hundreds of dollars per year with very little extra effort on your part. You’ll find it is one of the best and easiest ways to save money (also see my article 15 of the Best Cash Back Websites and Apps).

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you stack cashback apps?

You may be able to get cashback from multiple apps for the same purchase. It depends on how the apps work and the specific purchase you’re making. We’ve covered a few examples of how it works in this article. Plus, you can easily stack cashback from apps on top of the cashback or rewards you earn from credit cards.

How do you stack credit card rewards?

You can only earn rewards from one credit card per purchase but you can easily use a cashback app to add to stack the rewards.

Which credit card gives you the most cashback?

The Citi Double Cash is the best “everyday” card because it pays an industry-leading 2% cashback on every purchase, as long as you make the minimum payment on time. There are other cards that allow you to earn higher amounts of cashback on certain purchases, but no card offers a higher flat cashback rate.




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