5 double dipping strategies for credit card rewards

Spending more money just to earn more rewards isn’t advisable. But there’s a way to fill up your rewards account faster without spending an extra dollar: double dipping. redeem-rewards

“Double dipping” means making each purchase more lucrative. By enrolling in certain programs and making certain purchase decisions, you can not only earn the rewards promised by your card, but simultaneously rack up additional points in the card’s program – or another program entirely. While double dipping requires a bit of strategizing, it doesn’t have to require significantly more effort. We’ve rounded up several options you might want to try.

1. Airline dining programs

Nearly every major U.S. carrier has a dining program. Link any card to the program and receive extra airline miles (deposited directly into your linked frequent flier account) whenever you use that card at a partner restaurant.

There are a couple ways to play this:

  • Register your co-branded airline card: For example, if you register your United MileagePlus Explorer card, you’ll get 2 miles per dollar for the purchase, plus extra miles from the dining program. You’re accelerating your path toward a free flight.
  • Register another rewards card entirely: Maybe you register another airline’s card, thus diversifying your earnings and making progress toward a free flight on both United and that other airline on a single purchase. Or perhaps you register a generic travel rewards card or even a cash back card. Registering the Quicksilver card from Capital One and using it in United’s dining program, for example, will get you 1.5 percent cash back (from the card) and some United miles on the side.

2. Online shopping portals

If you’re purchasing something online, log in to your card account first and click through to its shopping portal, if it has one. The very merchant you were about to buy from may be part of that portal, meaning you’ll get extra points, cash back or miles for that simple extra step.

Online portals aren’t just for merchandise either. Some portals partner with travel booking sites, such as Expedia and Hotels.com.

Some rewards devotees go a step further for the “triple dip” – popular with airline programs, which don’t care which card you use for the purchase. This involves using your credit card to purchase a gift card through the portal (thus collecting rewards from the card and the portal) and then using that gift card to make another purchase through the portal – and collecting points again. It doesn’t always work, though, as some programs block you from earning rewards on gift card purchases (see the fine print for Macy’s purchases within the American Airlines shopping portal as an example):

AA online portal macys no gift cards

3. Uber credit card partnerships

Ride-sharing service Uber has partnered with a couple credit card rewards programs – including the Membership Rewards program from American Express (a CreditCardForum advertising partner). For every dollar spent, you get extra points to use later in the MR program, in addition to what you’d already get from your card.

Uber rides are becoming a regular expense for many – might as well double dip.

4. Plenti

This program from American Express is built around the concept of double dipping.

Sign up online and receive a Plenti loyalty card in the mail – and use that loyalty card with any credit card in your wallet when you make a purchase at a Plenti partner retailer. You’ll receive whatever rewards you’d get from that credit card plus Plenti points.

Plenti points can be redeemed for instant cash back at the register at certain partner stores. That makes it easy to earn and use Plenti points without distracting yourself from your main rewards strategy. For example, you might be using your Chase Sapphire Preferred for nearly every purchase to get its sign-up bonus. Why not also present your Plenti loyalty card at applicable merchants and rack up enough points to eventually get reimbursed for some of those purchases?

5. Crossover Rewards from Delta and Starwood

This option doesn’t require a credit card but can be assisted by one because you need Medallion status with Delta and Platinum or Gold Starwood Preferred Guest status to take full advantage.

Those with the required status will earn rewards for both programs whenever they use one of them. Flying Delta? You’ll earn 1 Starpoint per dollar spent on eligible Delta flights. Staying at a Starwood property? You’ll earn one mile for every dollar spent on eligible rooms.

Normally, to get the status required to participate in Crossover Rewards, you’d need to accrue enough Medallion Qualification Miles or Starwood stays. But these programs’ affiliated credit cards give you a shortcut.

The Delta Reserve card and Platinum Delta Skymiles card, for example, let you earn Medallion Qualification Miles if you meet certain spending requirements. The Starwood Preferred Guest card, meanwhile, gives you 5 nights and 2 stays toward elite status. Each card therefore puts you that much closer to taking advantage of the double-dipping opportunities of Crossover Rewards.

As with any rewards strategy, you’ll have to decide how much effort you want to put into double dipping. You don’t want to buy things you don’t need or spend more on planned purchases just to get extra points. However, if you’re judicious with double dipping it can be an efficient way to generate more rewards.

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