Online shopping is great and many people in the world participate. You can shop whenever you want, in the comfort of your own home. You’re more likely to find better variety when you shop online, and you can easily compare pricing. Also, there is no crowds to deal with and no pressure from salespeople. It is no wonder that nearly eight out of ten Americans are online shoppers (see stat #21).
So if you are one of the 76% of U.S. consumers who shop online, why not earn rewards while doing so? If you are a member of a loyalty program, chances are, you can earn bonuses by using their shopping portals.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
• 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
• 3X points on dining
• 3X points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases
• 2X points on all other travel purchases
• 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit and when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you'll get 25% more value!
This card carries a $95 annual fee.
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Online Shopping Portals 101
If you’re unsure of what online shopping portals actually do, it’s quite simple actually. They basically let you earn bonus points, miles or cash back at online partners retailers. To get these extra rewards, you will need to start from the portal, then click through to the merchant’s site. As opposed to shopping with them retailer directly.
You’re still purchasing the exact same items from the merchant, but by going through the portal, your shopping will be rewarded. You’ll also earn points, miles or cash back by using your credit card, so it’s an easy way to double-dip.
Let’s take a look at a scenario where you could earn extra bonuses. Let’s assume you use the American Airlines AAdvantage shopping portal and your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, here’s what you would earn:
- Office Depot purchases via the AAdvantage shopping portal earns 4 miles per $1 spent. So you’ll earn 400 AAdvantage miles for that $100 purchase.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 1 point per $1 spent on non-travel and dining purchases. So you’ll earn 100 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for that $100 purchase.
So how exactly do online shopping portals work? Here’s how each party benefits:
- The Portal takes a cut of any purchase The Consumer makes from The Retailer.
- The Retailer gets additional traffic and business to their online store, thanks to The Portal.
- The Consumer gets points or miles as a reward from The Portal.
Types of Online Shopping Portals
Every major airline has its own online shopping portal, and they all work pretty much the same way. The login process might vary from carrier to carrier, but every single one gives bonus points on purchases at partner retailers.
For reference, below is a linked list of popular airline shopping portals:
There are four credit card issuers that have online shopping portals:
|Chase||Ultimate Rewards Shop|
|Citi||Bonus Cash Center*|
|Wells Fargo||Earn More Mall|
In order to use the Barclaycard, Chase or Wells Fargo portal, you must have an active credit card with one of those issuers. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card qualifies while the United? Explorer Card card does not.
Something to keep in mind is that you can do 1:1 transfers from Ultimate Rewards to many travel partners. For example, that means you could earn British Airways Avios, Hyatt points or United Airlines miles when you do your online shopping via the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal.
If you can’t be bothered with credit card points or airline miles, cash back shopping portals are great options.
There are plenty of portals that offer cash back. Our favorites include:
- Mr. Rebates
- Simply Best Coupons
- Credit Card Portals (Chase, Barclay, Discover)
Expect to get anywhere from 1% to 5% cash back on your purchases with limited-time bonuses at select retailers. Some even let you earn bonuses for travel purchases, like airfare, hotel stays and bookings with online travel agencies.
1% cash back = 1 Membership Rewards point
This is because we value each Membership Rewards point at $0.02 each, choosing to earn points over cash back is the better deal because you’ll effectively double your return.
Maximizing Online Shopping Portals
With so many shopping portals to choose from, you probably think that the process for finding the one with the best bonuses can be troublesome for a particular merchant. Thankfully, there are tools out there called shopping portal aggregators that you can use.
These tools help gather information from all shopping portals and let you know which one currently offers the biggest return on your purchase. Some ones that we like are Cashbackholic, Cashback Monitor and Evreward.
Shopping portals constantly offer limited-time promotions. Make sure to log into your accounts every once in awhile and keep an eye out for email promos.
You can also set alerts through Cashback Monitor for when specific merchants increase their cashback offer.
Here are some do’s and don’ts for online shopping portals:
- DO enable cookies in your browser for the merchant’s site. This lets the portal track your purchases and award your bonuses accordingly.
- DO click through the retailer’s link on the portal and make your purchase from the pop-up page.
- DO NOT navigate away because it might not qualify for the bonus.
- DO NOT use promotions or promo codes found outside the portal. They might make your purchase ineligible for the bonus.
- DO read the fine print for every retailer. Most don’t count gift cards as eligible purchases for bonuses, and others will exclude specific products.
Shopping portals are great tools to help you earn bonus points, miles or cash back for online purchases. Even if you are only earning a couple of points for every dollar you spend, these bonuses can quickly add up toward awards such as luxury hotel stays, first-class flights and spending cash for you next vacation.
See our list of the best credit card bonuses here.
If you are an online shopper, and you aren’t using online shopping portals, you are basically missing out on a bunch of cash.