How to Stack Rewards and Cash Back

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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.

In this article we’ll look at how you can take advantage of multiple offers to stack rewards and cash back, 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, or else you wouldn’t be on this page), keep reading for some simple, practical tips that can have a big impact on your finances.

Related reading: 11 Ways to Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards

The Basics of Stacking Rewards or Cash Back

There are a variety of different ways that you can earn cash back 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.

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.

Example #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. But 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 Ebates (you’ll need a free Ebates account). You can earn 1% cash back from Ebates on any purchase at Raise.com.
  3. Make the purchase using the Citi Double Cash credit card to earn 2% cash back.
  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.

The Citi Double Cash is my go-to credit card, and I definitely recommend it as an excellent cash back card since you can earn 2% cash back on every purchase. Of course, there are other cash rewards credit cards that you can use as well.

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 is a free app that helps you to find the lowest prices on gas near you, plus you can earn 1-2% cash back on any gas purchase. It’s really easy, and it’s a nice complement to these other rewards that have already been mentioned.

Related reading: How to Save Money on Gas

Example #2: 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.

  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 Ebates (you’ll need a free Ebates account). You can earn 1% cash back from Ebates on any purchase at Raise.com.
  3. Make the purchase using the Citi Double Cash credit card to earn 2% cash back.
  4. Use a grocery store loyalty card to get the best sales prices and earn points for other rewards. Pay with the gift card.
  5. Use cash back apps Ibotta and Checkout 51 to save on items that you would be buying anyway.
  6. Use any printed coupons that you have.

In this scenario I can save 8% with the combination of Raise, Ebates, and a good cash back credit card. 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 Checkout 51, they are cash back 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.

Another great option for groceries is to use the Chase Freedom or Discover It credit cards. Both cards normally give you 1% cash back, but during a particular quarter of the year you can get 5% cash back on groceries.

Related reading: 33 Brilliant Ways to Save Money on Groceries.

Example #3: 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 Ebates (you’ll need a free Ebates account). You can earn 1% cash back from Ebates on any purchase at Raise.com.
  3. Make the purchase using the Citi Double Cash credit card to earn 2% cash back.
  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 Ebates (1%) and with my Citi Double Cash credit card (2%), so the total discount was 20%. Then I purchased a special on Dominos.com (large 3-topping pizza for $7.99), which was a great deal even before the savings. I also got credit for the purchase through their loyalty program and I’m one step closer to a free pizza.

Related reading: 15 Easy Ways to Save Money at Restaurants

Example #4: 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 6% off.
  2. Before making the purchase go to Ebates (you’ll need a free Ebates account). You can earn 1% cash back from Ebates on any purchase at Raise.com.
  3. Make the purchase using the Citi Double Cash credit card to earn 2% cash back.
  4. Use the Hotels.com loyalty program to earn a free night in any hotel.

In this scenario you can save 9% (or more if you buy the gift card during a promotion at Raise). 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.

Related reading: 20 Clever Ways to Save Money on Travel

Example #5: How to Stack Rewards for Shopping at Amazon

  1. Before making a purchase go to Ebates. You’ll earn cash back for some purchases on Amazon.com, but the percentage varies depending on the category. Some categories will not earn any cash back.
  2. Make the purchase using an Amazon Prime credit card (5% cash back for Prime members).
  3. Use the free Paribus app to track shipments on your Amazon purchases and earn rewards if the shipment is late.

Bonus: Sign up for Personal Capital, which is an awesome free financial management app, and you’ll get a $20 Amazon gift card for linking one of your bank accounts.

The Tools You Need to Stack Cash Back and Rewards

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

A Good Cash Back Credit Card

Most cash back credit cards will pay you 1% on your purchases. I love the Citi Double Cash card because it pays 2%. There are other good cash back cards as well, and many of them allow you to earn larger amounts of cash back on specific purchases.

I also have the Chase Freedom card and the Discover It card, which each pay 5% cash back on purchases in categories that rotate each quarter, and 1% cash back on everything else. I use those cards only for purchases that will earn me 5% cash back.

Find the best cash back credit cards 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.

Ebates

You can sign up for a free Ebates account and earn cash back for making purchases at thousands of different stores and websites. It’s super easy and they’ll even give you a $10 bonus for signing up. Ebates has become a big part of my cash back strategy.

Aside from Ebates, there are also other similar cash back apps like BeFrugal, Top Cash Back, and Dollar Dig. I like Ebates the best, mostly for ease of use. (See my article on the best cash back apps and websites.)

Sign up for Ebates and get a $10 bonus.

Dosh

Dosh is a different type of cash back app. You’ll link your credit cards to Dosh and earn cash back whenever you make a purchase at a store that participates in their program. Within the app you can also see cash back offers from businesses in your local area. Drop is another app that is similar to Dosh.

Sign up for Dosh and get $5 just for linking a credit card.

Ibotta

Ibotta is an awesome cash back 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 cash back.

Sign up for Ibotta through this link and get a $10 bonus.

Checkout 51

Checkout 51 is a cash back app especially for groceries. Just select the offers you want and then scan your receipt after the purchase to earn cash back.

Sign up for Checkout 51

Trunow

With the free Trunow app you can get 1-2% cash back on gas purchases. It may not seem like a lot, but when you’re stacking rewards every little bit adds up.

→ Use the referral code R7N8DR to get a $2 bonus just for installing Trunow on your phone.

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.

Paribus

Paribus is a free app that will help you to find refunds owed to you by stores that offer a price match guarantee. It will search for a lower price and help you to get the refund when it finds a lower price. It also tracks your Amazon shipments to make sure they’re on time. When there is a late shipment Paribus can help to get you a free month of Prime or an Amazon gift card.

Get Paribus for free.

iDine

iDine will pay you 5% or 10% cash back for eating at certain restaurants and leaving an online review. You can see the restaurants in your area that are offering the cash back.

Sign up for iDine for free.

Start Maximizing Your Cash Back

Follow the steps in this article to start getting the most cash back 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).

 

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How to Stack Rewards and Cash Back