Psst! Want to save $1,200 for college? Join Upromise.

Kathryn FlynnBy Kathryn FlynnBy Savingforcollege.com

Upromise is a loyalty program that rewards members with cash back for making purchases online, dining at restaurants or using the Upromise Mastercard. The rewards available through Upromise may seem small at first, but when deposited into a 529 plan they have the potential to grow into a significant amount to help pay for college.

How to earn Upromise rewards

Anyone can join Upromise, and it’s free to sign up. Upromise offers several different ways to earn rewards, and you can choose to participate in as many as you want. To browse the available offers you will need to login to your account, but here is a quick summary:

  1. Earn cash back for online purchases: Earn rewards ranging from around 3% - 7% of total purchases when you shop online through Upromise at participating retailers.
  2. Get rewarded for dining out: Link a credit or debit card to your Upromise account and earn 2.5% cash back when you use that card to dine at participating restaurants. The reward doubles when you pay with a Upromise Mastercard.
  3. Use the Upromise Mastercard: Earn 1.25% cash back on all purchases made, with opportunities to earn additional bonus rewards through the Upromise Round Up program and by linking an eligible 529 plan to your account.

How much can you really save for college with Upromise?

According to a recent press release, members have earned approximately $1 billion through Upromise, and more than $250 billion has been deposited directly into a 529 plan. But, the amount you can actually save depends on how much you spend, and which features of the program you use.

Parents can potentially earn hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in rebates by the time their child enters college. For example, a family who spends $1,000 on groceries from Walmart each month can place their order through Upromise and earn 5% cash back. That’s $600 per year they can save for college. If the same family also spends $200 per month dining out, they can earn an additional $60 per year.

To get an additional boost, the family can use the Upromise Mastercard to make their purchases. The Upromise Mastercard offers 1.25% cash back on all purchases, with an option to “Round Up” purchases to the nearest dollar to earn even more rewards. Members who link an eligible 529 plan to their account can also earn an additional 15% bonus on their cash back rewards.

If the same family from the hypothetical example above uses the Upromise Mastercard to make $1,200 in purchases per month, with $20 in Round Up, here is what they can potentially earn for college:

Description

Amount

1.25% Cash Back on $1,200 in Purchases

$15.00

Upromise Round Up

$20.00

1.25% Cash Back on $20 in Round Up

$0.25

15% Bonus on Cash Back and Round Up

$5.29

TOTAL UPROMISE MASTERCARD REWARD/ROUND-UP - 1 MONTH

$40.54

TOTAL UPROMISE MASTERCARD REWARD/ROUND-UP - 12 MONTHS

$486.48


The total annual cash back reward for this family is $600 in purchases, $120 in dining out (the reward doubles when the Upromise Mastercard is used to pay at restaurants), and $486.48 in Upromise Mastercard Rewards. That’s a total of $1,206.48 in rewards for one year.

TOTAL 12 MONTH REWARD

Online purchase reward

$600.00

Dining out reward

$120.00

Upromise Mastercard reward/round-up

$486.48

Total annual reward/round-up

$1,206.48


Growing your rewards with a 529 plan

To be eligible for the 15% bonus on Upromise Mastercard, members must link an eligible 529 plan to their account. The cash back rewards they earn will be swept directly into the linked 529 plan. Using the same example above, that means the $1,200 will be invested and grow tax-free over time and won’t be taxed when the funds are withdrawn to pay for qualified higher education expenses.

Parents of a newborn who invest $1,200 per year in a 529 plan earning a 6% investment return could potentially end up with more than $35,000 over 17 years. That amount may cover one full year of tuition, fees and room and board at a 4 year in-state public college in 2035, based on the projected sticker price.

Learn how you can accelerate your savings with a Upromise account today.


At Savingforcollege.com, our goal is to help you make smart decisions about saving and paying for education. Some of the products featured in this article are from our partners, but this doesn't influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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