The Best Free Rewards Programs to Join

Are rewards programs actually worth it? I joined several of the loyalty programs offered by various companies to find out. While this is in no a way a comprehensive list of all of the active rewards programs, I wanted to provide you with a quick glimpse into some of my favorite perks of the best programs out there. You can read through the entire post or click the links below to quickly navigate to specific sections. This post will continue to be updated.

Coffee Shops

Dunkin’ DDPerks
Being a member of DDPerks allows you to earn free beverages. For every 200 points, you get a free beverage. Every $1 spent earns 5 points, meaning that spending $40 on any items earns a free beverage. You can pick any beverage of any size with your free beverage reward. DDPerks often offers bonus points for purchasing certain items. Recent items offering as much as 4X bonus points have been new drinks and new food offerings which are often seasonal. Additionally, if you are a member of Fuel Rewards from Shell, you can save 10c/gal when you purchase 5 beverages. Many other offers and deals can be found in the Dunkin’ app, which can be used to order ahead for walk-in or drive-thru. Learn more about DDPerks

Starbucks Rewards
As a member, you’ll earn 2 stars for every $1 spent. A little as 25 stars can be redeemed for drink customizations, and as many as 400 stars for bakery items, sandwiches, merchandise and other options. There are plenty of opportunities to earn bonus stars through the app and through your inbox. There is also a Double Star Day. Additionally, stars can be earned in and out of stores with their Visa and Visa Prepaid cards. Learn more about Starbucks Rewards.

Personally, I am not a huge coffee drinker so I find that the DDPerks program is more suited for me. 

Pharmacies

Rite Aid wellness+
There are three levels to the wellness+ rewards program which are bronze, silver and gold. Every dollar spent (including on copays) earns 1 wellness+ point. Most every prescription filled earns 25 wellness+ points. At the bronze level, you are basically earning points towards the silver and gold status. Silver status enjoys 10% off in-store purchases. Gold earns 20% off in-store purchases. At any level, you can use your rewards (besides % off from silver and gold) at the online store. You can easily load coupons and offers through the mobile app with Load2Card. Learn more about the Rite Aid wellness+ program.  

CVS Extracare 
CVS RewardsExtracare members earn 2% back in ExtraBucks rewards on every purchase online or in-store. ExtraBucks can be thought of as cash towards a purchase. If you’ve been to CVS with someone who is an Extracare member, you’re probably used to seeing the rolls of coupons printed with the receipt. Thankfully, these coupons can be accessed and managed via the CVS app if you’re not one to keep up with paper receipts. Extracare members also receive app-only and email-only deals. This month, I received $6 in ExtraBucks rewards and a 5.00 off $30 coupon. You can aso chose to become a CarePass member, which is $5 a month or $48 a year. As a CarePass member, I received a coupon for 30% off a single item and a monthly $10 reward, pictured to the left. Additionally, the weekly ad can be viewed directly from the mobile app. Learn more about CVS Extracare

myWalgreens (formerly Balance Rewards)
As a preface, the Walgreens rewards program is changing to myWalgreens as of January 2021. With myWalgreens, you earn 1% back storewide or 5% on Walgreens branded products. You can use your cash rewards at Walgreens or donate them. Another cool perk is curbside, drive-thru or in store pickup in 30 minutes. Within the mobile app, you can receive exclusive offers and easily clip coupons. Learn more about myWalgreens.

Customer shopping

I personally happen to find the CVS rewards program to be the best out of the three pharmacy programs discussed in this post.

Gas Stations

Shell Fuel Rewards
36 cents offAs a member of this rewards program, you save at least 5 cents on every gallon at Gold Status. New members earn Gold Status for the first 6 months of membership. Silver status earns 3 cents per gallon. More rewards are earned by purchasing items featured within the app or activating exclusive offers. Offers include shopping in the gas convenience store,  or making purchases at partners such as Dunkin’. Besides savings, I have found that this rewards program has a lot of cool perks. A couple months ago, Shell gave away a bunch of prizes to members. I ended up receiving a $25 Visa reward gift card. This month, I was given 31 cents off just for purchasing gas in November. The most I have saved at once was 36 cents per gallon, and this was simply because of an offer for members. Here’s the complete list to earning fuel savings

Marathon MakeItCount
Every member earns at least 5 cents off every gallon. New members save 10 cents per gallon up to 4 uses of 20 gallons each for their first month. I earn hotel points through Wyndham Rewards for each gallon I purchase. Other options for earning rewards include fuel discounts, airlines, gift cards and donations. For this month, I earned 10 cents per gallon simply for activating a text message offer. This program is eligible at participating Marathon and ARCO stations. One thing I will point out is that both the website and app seem to have intermittent network issues, but this has not affected earning at the pump. Learn more about Marathon MakeItCount

Out of these two programs, Shell Fuel Rewards is my favorite because of the member appreciation perks they offer throughout the year. 

Auto Shops

Advance Auto Parts Speed Perks
Every $1 spent earns 10 points at the Club level. Every 500 points is a $5 perk. After spending at least $200, you become VIP. After spending at least $500, you become Elite. Both of these levels offer additional points per dollar spent and other benefits. It is almost impossible not to receive at least 20% or 25% off of every order. They email a lot of coupons which can be easily found when visiting the website. Learn more about the Speed Perks loyalty program.

Airlines

AAdvantage® Dining
You can earn AAdvantage miles (through American Airlines) for every dollar you spend dining. All you do is register your credit cards and debit cards on the website. Every time you pay with a registered card at a participating restaurant, you automatically earn points. It’s that simple. New members who join and spend $25 in the first month earn 1000 bonus miles. After dining 11 times in a year, you earn 5 miles for every dollar spent for a full year. Note that registering your cards may remove them from other swipe rewards programs. Explore participating restaurants in your area

AAdvantage® eShopping Mall
Wouldn’t it be nice to earn miles for all that online shopping? Now you can! Earn AAdvantage miles at many online retailers. Just install the browser extension and you’ll be alerted to participating websites and also of available coupon codes and offers. This extension works similar to the Honey browser extension. The extension automatically tracks your purchase after you activate the button. I have found that miles post to my account typically within a few days of order shipment if not sooner. Frequently, extra miles and bonuses are offered where you can earn thousands of miles just for making a purchase. Recently, I received 7 miles/dollar spent at a store that was regular 2 miles/dollar spent. Learn more about the AAdvantage eShopping Mall.

Learn about the American Airlines AAdvantage loyalty program

As I mentioned at the beginning, I will continue to update this post with new rewards programs I use. If there is a rewards program that you’d like me to look at, let me know below. Happy saving!