What are shopping portals?
With so many different shopping portals out there it can get very confusing. In essence, shopping portals come in three flavors: cash-back, points or specific points from a credit card. I don’t ever make a purchase online without checking out if the website I am going to make a purchase through is on a shopping portal. The easiest way to think of these is that you will get extra points or cash-back for everyday purchases you make. In this post I will explain how I make that happen and some tips and tricks.
Which shopping portal to use?
One of the hardest questions to ask is which shopping portal to use. It can become overwhelming and physically impossible to check each individual portal. Well the answer to this is that there is a website called cash-back monitor that allows you to search an online merchant and see exactly what each portal is offering. As you can see from the example above where I wanted to buy some wine on wine.com all I need to do is input the merchant into the search bar and I get the results.
Points versus Cashback?
This is always a personal question and I always ask each person to ask which currency are they more likely to use. If you never travel then the cashback will make more sense. However if you our a traveler like us I look at the value of the cash-back compared to the points. What I mean by this is that I usually value points at about 1.8 cents. Therefore it I can get more than 1.8 cents with cash-back I will choose that instead of points.
An example would be if I purchase $100 on wine.com and decided to use my American Airlines Shopping portal then $100 x 10 points would be a total of 1000 points. If I choose say Top CashBack which offered 5% back I would make $5 on the $100 purchase. So 5 divided .018 (1.8 cents) would equal 277 points. Therefore it makes more sense for me to take the American Airlines points instead of cash-back. In other terms my 1000 American Airlines points is valued at about $18 and more than the $5 I would get back with Top Cashback. By doing this for every purchase I am maximizing the points I get back.
Tips and Tricks
As I mentioned above the number one priority is using the shopping portal on every purchase you can think about. Here are some tips and tricks to maximize.
- Download extension for Google Chrome. As you can see above I have the American Airlines eShopping, Ebates and Alaska Airlines. What is nice about these is that once you are on the website you will get a pop up reminding you to activate the offer. This is important because if you don’t activate the offer you will not get the points. The extensions are great, once the offer is active, you will see a check mark which you can see in the picture above next to the American Airlines.
- Even if you think a purchase won’t count always go through the shopping portal.
- Make sure that you reach the terms and conditions to ensure that your purchase qualifies. One example I see quite often is that Apple products purchased through a Macy’s shopping portal do not count
- Combine shopping portal with American Express offers. As you can see in the picture below not only did I get the 1000 American Airline points, but I also got $10 back for my purchase. Plus the points I also made with my credit card.
- Look out for bonus offers that are constantly changing. In the picture above Wine.com usually only gets you 2 points per dollar however this offer allowed for 10 points per dollars. There are also sometimes bonuses where you spend a certain dollar amount and you get bonus points.
- Cashback portal have a reputation for shutting down accounts intermittently however I have been using TopCashback, Ebates and BeFrugal for several years with great success. I recommend you read reviews online before using the less popular cashback portals.
It may seem silly but the points add up fast and can make a large impact. You will soon be on your way to your next premium cabin award ticket. This is a method we used for our recent trip to Australia on Qantas First Class which I booked with you guessed it American Airline points. Let us know what your favorite shopping portal is and you have any questions please feel free to message us.
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