I must confess, I’m not a fan of crowded malls, however, I am a big fan of getting a great deal. I can accomplish both by purchasing my items online through shopping portals, a great way to earn extra miles, points or cashback in addition to rewards earned with your credit card.
What is a shopping portal?
In short, shopping portals are websites that provide links to various internet retailers. In return for directing customers to their site, those retailers pay a commission to the portal for each customer that makes a qualifying purchase. The portal then allots a portion of that commission–in the form of points or cash–to the original customer. You get paid to shop and everybody wins!
Depending on your reward earning preference, there are a number of different portals that you can use. Some credit card issuers have a portal where you can earn points, ie. Chase Ultimate Rewards. Many airlines and hotels have their own portals to earn extra miles or loyalty points in their programs. There are extra cashback sites, like Ebates, Top Cashback and Upromise as well. There’s no cost or purchase requirement to sign up.
Free Money for You
A new player in the cashback portal arena has emerged recently. Splender is a cashback portal run by Cartera, the same company that runs portals for many travel and credit card sites. In my searches, their cashback rates are always competitive. Right now, new Splender customers can earn $5 in rewards after spending $50+ if you sign up via my referral link, and you will be supporting this blog as well. Once again, everybody wins!
Finding the Best Rewards
There are two main websites that compare portals. In the past I used evreward to find the best rewards for my shopping, but now I prefer Cashback Monitor. For my money, they have a better interface and more up-to-date reward information.
Let’s say you need to make a purchase at a retailer such as Staples. Don’t go directly to their website. Your first step is to visit Cashback Monitor and enter “Staples” in their search box. Here are the results.
If you want cash back, the left hand section lists Splender, Saving Star, and UPromise with the highest rates (I’ve never used Saving Star). Log in to the portal of your choice, enter Staples in the search box, press the Shop Now button, and do your shopping by adding items to your cart and checkout as usual. Of course, at Staples, I would be paying with my Chase Ink Plus card, which will earn me 5 Ultimate Rewards points for each $1 I spend in addition to the 5% rebate I can get from UPromise or Splender.
The process is identical if you would prefer to get your rebate in the form of airline miles, hotel loyalty points, or credit card rewards points. Simply use Cashback Monitor to compare programs, click the link on the program you choose (ie. United MileagePlus), login to your miles or points account, search for your retailer, then shop normally.
Occasionally you will see special offers for higher than usual points, miles or cashback. For instance, United Airlines’ MileagePlus Shopping portal normally offers 3 miles per $1 spent at Sephora. For a limited time, that offer is doubled to 6 miles per $1. And if you have a United MileagePlus Explorer credit card, that offer increases to 8 points per $1. These special offers are clearly noted on Cashback Monitor.
Read the Fine Print
Be sure to read the details before you shop. Each retailer on each portal has different conditions. For the most part, gift card purchases are excluded, and you need to add items to your cart after being re-directed from the portal. Here are the details for Staples via Splender:
The bottomline: Making your online purchases through shopping portals is an easy way to earn great rewards, with a minimal amount of effort. And for shoppers like me, who prefer to avoid the crowds and lines at conventional brick-and-mortar stores, taking advantage of shopping portals is the convenient and painless way to go!