Maximize Reward Earning this Holiday Season

It is that time of year again where holiday shopping is in full swing. If you shop online, this could mean earning extra cash back or points/miles with a few extra clicks. I think if you are shopping online, this is a must, because it is so easy to do. How do you get these extra rewards and is it worth it?

Why use a shopping portal?

Shopping portals are a great way to earn points/mile or cash back on purchases you were going to make anyways. Using a shopping portal is very easy and can save you extra money or help you earn the extra points/miles you need to travel for less.

What portals should I use?

There are many different shopping portals you can use. If you are looking to earn airline miles, like Southwest, they have a portal. If you prefer hotel points, Marriott and Hilton have portals. If prefer flexible points like Ultimate Rewards, you can earn these. Lastly, if you want to earn cash back to use for anything, there are plenty of portals to use.

The portals I tend to use more often:

  • Topcashback– If you use this link, sign up and make qualifying purchase, I do receive compensation.
  • Ebates– If you use this link, sign up and make qualifying purchase, I do receive compensation.
  • Ultimate Rewards
  • Discover Deals

** The 2 links above are my own personal referral links, if you use them, thank you very much. I truly do appreciate ie!**

I have found Topcashback usually offers one of the best cash back option and they have improved on their tracking of your transactions.

Ebates is another great option for cash back, they don’t always have the highest cash back amount, but they do offer cash back special offers if you were to use the mobile app to make your purchase.

If all things are equal, I usually use the Ultimate Reward portal, as it can be cashed out for 1 cent per point, or I can transfer to one of their many transfer partners to travel for less.

Then there is Discover portal, this is probably the top cash back earning portal around. When you take into account their current double promotion, this is very hard to beat!

How do I know which portal to use?

I hate it when I make a purchase and realized the portal I used wasn’t the best option. Although, the differences could be very small, I always like to make sure I’m maximizing my earnings. You can search each individual site, but that would take a long time, but there is a site to help you: Cashback Monitor.

Shows Top 50 stores, but you can search for others!
Shows Top 50 stores, but you can search for others!

Cashback Monitor, takes all the portal options available and shows you the earnings of each portal. This will really save time, since you would be able to see the best option within seconds.

Once you see the options, you can then decide if you would prefer to earn cashback, airline/hotel specific points, or flexible points. This will be individualized, based on your goals, so make sure to do what’s best for you.

For example, if you were wanting to purchase this dishwasher from Sears:

Screenshot 2015-11-29 at 1.34.49 PM 

First you would go to Cashback Monitor to see your options, then you’d have to decide which portal you’d want to use. Go to the portal website then enter the store name and shop as you normally would.

So many options!
So many options!

Using Discover Deals will earn you an extra 10% in cash back, this would be in addition to the 5% rotating category bonus as well! If you are enrolled in their double cash promotion, this would be a total of 30% cash back!! That is a lot of cash back!!

There are plenty of airline/hotel specific options as well.

You can see there are a few options for Ultimate Rewards. The Ultimate Reward portal offers different payouts depending on the card you have. This could work out to your advantage if you have multiple Ultimate Reward cards. I’ll explain in a minute.

Back to the example….

Not only would you earn extra rewards, you can see you would also earn $15 in Shop Your Way points to use for a future purchase.

Ranking the options:

If you decided to use Discover Deals with your Discover card, you would earn $150 in total cash back from this portal.

Ultimate Rewards portal would yield about 3,000 Ultimate Reward points, if you used the Chase Freedom Portal. I value that around $54.

I would use the Discover deals, since I would earn almost 3 times the amount in rewards!

Deciding which card to use?

First, I’ll say that using shopping portals is great for people who do not have a rewards earning credit card, or prefer to use debit cards AND even gift cards to make purchases. Although you will earn more back if you do have a rewards earning credit card, that is not required to use a shopping portal.

If you do have one reward earning credit card, then your choice is pretty easy, but if you have more than one reward earning credit card, what do you do?

I usually do my shopping in Google Chrome, and I use Wallaby’s Browser Extension, and it shows me which card I should use to earn the most back.

For the dishwasher in the example above.
For the dishwasher in the example above.

I think this is a great addition to make sure you are getting the most back for your online purchases.

Above I mentioned if you have multiple Ultimate Reward earning credit cards, you could increase your earnings.

For example, if the Chase Freedom was 5% back at Amazon and portal for the Sapphire was 4x and the portal for the Freedom was 2x, You would like probably like to use the Sapphire portal because it has a higher earning rate. You can use the Sapphire portal with your Chase Freedom card and earn 9x Ultimate Rewards for that transaction. You do not need to use the specific card for that portal to earn the bonus.

If you plan to use the Discover Deals portal….you MUST use your Discover card! Discover has it listed in their terms of the portal, but recently started paying closer attention to the activity. Do not try to use another card through the Discover Deals, you won’t receive credit.

You can however use your Discover card through the Ultimate Reward portal, if you choose. You would earn a mix of Ultimate Reward points and Cash back, if you wanted to pursue that option. This could make sense when there is a 5% category bonus on Discover, but the best portal is Ultimate Rewards..

Gift cards:

As I mentioned above, you do not need to use a credit card to earn extra rewards. I will use gift cards, either I bought or given to me, and shop through a shopping portal. You will receive credit for your transaction and this is just another way to earn a little bit more.

If you are looking to purchase gift cards, then using a portal will be hit or miss. Most portal sites say, you will not receive credit if you purchase a gift card. Although, it says this, it is not always the case. I have received credit for buying gift cards and I have also not received credit. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason, so the worst that can happen is you don’t receive credit, still give it a shot!

Other ways to save:

Probably one of my favorite perks from my American Express cards are the American Express Offers. These have saved me quite a bit of money this year. You can use these to your advantage with shopping portals as well!

If I were to spend $120 at Macy’s I would receive a $20 statement credit:

Screenshot 2015-11-29 at 2.28.05 PM

I would either use Topcashback or Ultimate Reward as my portal.

Screenshot 2015-11-29 at 2.27.42 PM

If I spent $120, I would receive $13.20 from the portal and I would also receive a $20 statement credit, saving me over 27% on my purchase! Or, I would 720 Ultimate Reward points (about $12.96 value) and $20 statement credit. Both are great options.

Overall:

Shopping portals are a great and easy way to earn extra rewards on items you were purchasing anyways. I takes a couple of extra clicks. These can help you save for something special or even help you get a closer to your next vacation.

I always use a portal when I shop online, it doesn’t matter how small my reward earning would be. Every extra point I earn, brings me that much closer to another getaway!

Do you use shopping portals? If not, why aren’t you?

Don’t forget to Like me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter and subscribe to my blog. If you have questions, comments or would like a topic, leave a comment. Thank you for reading!

If you don’t have a Discover card and would like one, this is my personal link, we each will receive $50 and that will be doubled making your bonus $100! If you use my link, thank you, I do appreciate it. This will give you access to the Discover Deals portal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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