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Quick Points: Don’t have Amazon Prime? ShopRunner might be a good alternative

Oct. 22, 2021
5 min read
Young couple shopping online at home
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By this time, most of us have heard of Amazon Prime, the online retail giant’s subscription service. It includes free expedited shipping and access to streaming entertainment including movies, TV shows, music and podcasts. But if you don’t want to pony up $119 per year (plus taxes), and all you’re interested in is free shipping on online purchases, you might benefit from enrolling in ShopRunner instead.

Here’s what you need to know about ShopRunner and how your credit card might provide the service for free.

What is ShopRunner?

(Screenshot courtesy of Mastercard.)

ShopRunner is a subscription service that offers members free two-day shipping, free returns and special deals at over 100 online retail partners like CB2, Fanatics, Lancome, Saks Fifth Avenue, Charlotte Tilbury, Swanson Health and more.

To use ShopRunner, you need to create an account on the site and then navigate to the retailer’s page from there. You can also simply shop online directly on the merchant’s site and then select the ShopRunner option at checkout, when you will need to provide your ShopRunner login details. Just note that not all items qualify for the ShopRunner shipping benefit, and there are sometimes minimum dollar amounts for orders.

Now, Amazon sells pretty much everything under the sun while ShopRunner only partners with a limited number of stores and brands. However, if those are the ones you do the most business with, you can get a lot of use out of a ShopRunner membership versus Amazon Prime.

The annual fee for ShopRunner is $79. But many credit cards offer a free membership as one of their under-the-radar benefits.

Use a credit card to get ShopRunner for free

If you have an American Express, Chase, World Mastercard or World Elite Mastercard, you might be eligible for a free ShopRunner membership.

American Express cards with complimentary ShopRunner

Among the American Express cards that offer this as one of their perks are:

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To activate this benefit with your American Express card, you must enroll here, and your account must be open for you to continue enjoying ShopRunner membership for free. Enrollment is required, and terms apply.

Chase cards with complimentary ShopRunner

Certain Chase cardholders are eligible to enroll by Feb. 28, 2022, for a year of free ShopRunner, too. Although not the complete list, the following cards are currently participating in this offer.

  • British Airways Visa Signature Card.
  • Chase Freedom Flex.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve.
  • IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card.
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card.
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card.
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card.
  • United Club Infinite Card.
  • United Explorer Card.
  • United Quest Card.

World and World Elite Mastercards with complimentary ShopRunner

Finally, if you have a World Mastercard or World Elite Mastercard, you might be able to sign up for a complimentary ShopRunner membership here. Eligible cards include:

The information for the JetBlue Card, the JetBlue Plus Card, the AAdvantage Aviator Red, Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus and the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuers.

Stack ShopRunner benefits with other offers

There’s one final play to keep in mind not only to enjoy free shipping on your online purchases, but also to maximize the rewards you earn on them.

First – and especially if you are using an Amex or Chase card – be sure to check your Amex Offers and Chase Offers to see if you are eligible for further savings with specific merchants. Register for the offer and then use your enrolled card for the purchase.

Second, check your favorite online shopping portals to see if you can earn extra rewards points or cash back.

Related: Earn even more rewards by adding this one small step to your online shopping routine

Bottom line

While not as extensive a benefit as Amazon Prime, ShopRunner can score you significant savings on everyday purchases you’d make anyway. What’s more, you can save the cost of membership ($79 per year) by linking your account to a credit card that includes it as a benefit. So, look at your cards and see if any might be eligible for a complimentary ShopRunner benefit — you might as well enroll if it's complimentary.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.