If you aren’t using online shopping portals before making purchases online, you are leaving tons of cash – or points and miles – on the table.
Shopping portals are an easy way to earn cash, points, or miles for almost every purchase you make online. It’s as simple as remembering to click through one of many portals in order to earn those points rather than going straight to the store’s website.
And as we take a break from traveling, and do more of our day-to-day shopping online, it is a great time to learn the ins and outs of online shopping portals. These are free bonus points & miles on your everyday purchases!
Want to kickstart your online shopping game by earning an easy $30 – or 3,000 Amex points? Sign up for Rakuten today!
What Exactly are Online Shopping Portals?
Online shopping portals are run by a third party that offers consumers an incentive for shopping at different retailers affiliated with the portal. In exchange for directing you to a specified retailer, the portal will take a cut of any purchase you make from the retailer, and they’ll give you points or miles as a reward.
You will ultimately benefit by being awarded points/miles, and the retailer gets more traffic because of people shopping through the portals. Everybody wins. And the points and miles you earn through the portals are in addition to the points and miles you earn on the credit card used to pay for the transaction.
You do not have to use an affiliated credit card through that online shopping portal. This allows you to work towards spend requirements for signup bonuses, stack category multipliers, or even utilize gift cards. Use whatever card you want – just make sure to start your online shopping trip with a visit to CashBack Monitor.
Start Your Online Shopping with CashBack Monitor
The challenge of using online shopping portals effectively is knowing which of the dozens of options is going to get you the best bang for your buck in terms of a return on your spending.
Enter CashBack Monitor. It is an invaluable resource because it can guide you to the best shopping portal for each and every purchase you make online.
Just type in the retailer you’re buying from, and it will show you which shopping portals are offering the best bonuses. Just click through, start shopping, and earn more back.
Let me give you an example of just how CashBack Monitor works. I need to make a purchase at eBags – one of the thousands of retailers that participate in online shopping portal programs. But before I head to the eBags website, I first head out to CashBack Monitor to figure out where I can get the best deal for making a purchase.
After pulling up eBags on the CashBack Monitor website, you can see there are a vast amount of options. If I want to prioritize earning cashback, I can earn up to 20% back on every dollar I spend with RebatesMe, or even 15% back with Rakuten (formerly Ebates).
In fact, with Rakuten, I even have the option of earning 15x American Express Membership Rewards points per dollar spent since I carry a credit card that earns American Express Membership Rewards points.
Each store will have a number of different columns displaying different types of cash back and travel rewards options. The lists will be sorted with programs offering the highest bonus at the top.
Once I’ve decided which program to go with, I can simply click through the link on CashBack Monitor and it will take me to the appropriate screen with either the cashback or shopping portal of my choice. It’s important to note that you will need to first create an account with any of the cashback or shopping portals before you can use them.
Read more:CashBack Monitor: The Key to Maximize All Your Online Shopping.
Which Programs Offer Points and Miles for Online Shopping?
Most of the major airlines and credit card programs have an online shopping portal that allows you to earn bonus points, miles, or cashback for your online shopping. Deciding which portal to use depends mostly on your travel goals and the points & miles you are trying to stockpile.
For example, Chase Ultimate Rewards, the points program for cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, has its own shopping portal which they brand as Shop Through Chase.
If you hold a card that earns American Express Membership Rewards points like the Platinum Card from American Express, The American Express Gold Card, or the American Express Green Card, you can use Rakuten (formerly eBates) to earn bonus Membership Rewards points for your online shopping.
Finally, all the major airlines have shopping portals of their own which allow you to earn airline miles for your purchases.
We are big believers in diversifying your points and miles earning. So in most cases, we recommend choosing the shopping portal that offers the best return on your spending for a program in which you can use the points and miles you will earn.
How Do I Access Shopping Portals?
For the majority of the airline portals, all you need is a frequent flyer account number to access a specific online shopping portal. Once you have determined which portal you would like to shop through, all you need to do is go to the portal website and sign in to your account.
You can access the shopping portals for the major U.S. airlines below:
In order to use the Shop Through Chase portal, or elect to earn Membership Rewards points instead of cashback at Rakuten, you must hold a card that earns those points. So in the Chase example, to access the portal, you must carry the Sapphire Preferred or the Sapphire Reserve.
My approach to online shopping portals is straightforward. If I can earn additional points and miles by using an online shopping portal for something I am going to buy anyway, it is a no-brainer.
Use CashBack Monitor to find the shopping portal that offers the best return. And make sure you check it on each and every online purchase that you make.
Unfortunately, Cashbackmonitor does not refresh in real time. Point bonuses change constantly, and CBM is often 12 hours behind. I just made a $2K purchase with a bonus of 8 points per $. When I pulled the trigger, CBM was showing a bonus of just 2 points. By the time CBM caught up to the 8 point bonus, the actual offer was back down to the usual 2 points. I would not rely on CBM to show the best current offer, but it is helpful for tracking bonus histories. If you are not in a hurry to make a purchase, CBM can give you an idea of the max bonus you can expect from a particular vendor if you are patient.