As we get closer to the holiday shopping season, there will be many opportunities to earn extra points, miles, or cash back. This will be through sign up bonuses, bonus categories, but I think most importantly: shopping portals.
Maximize Holiday Shopping – Save Money and Earn Miles
I am a big fan of online shopping. There have been plenty of times I have gone to a store found what I wanted, only to go home and purchase online. Why would I do that? Shopping online can yield some large rewards to make your next trip happen sooner.
Why use a shopping portal?
Shopping portals are probably one of the easiest ways (next to sign up bonuses) to increasing your travel rewards. The great thing is they only take a few extra extra seconds and are very simple.
These portals can earn you thousands, upon thousands of points, a great way to maximize holiday shopping! I can’t remember the last time I made a purchase where I didn’t check a shopping portal. Every mile or dollar back brings you closer to your next trip.
As we inch closer to the holiday season, we will probably see more bonuses between different portals. Some of them even offer a small sign up bonus to join and make a purchase.
How to find the best portal:
There are many different portals out there and different portals have different payouts for the same stores. If you prefer to use only one portal, you might be leaving some rewards on the table. Also, don’t use a portal where they offer rewards you will never use!
My favorite site to use to find the best payout is Cashbackmonitor.com. They show you all the different portals and payouts. You prefer cash back? It shows you the top paying site. You want airline miles, it’ll show you best one. Prefer flexible rewards, like Ultimate Rewards you will see that.
When choosing a portal, remember that some portals, like BeFrugal, will require you earn minimum amount of money before you can withdraw it, or others do not have any minimum.
This is my person referral link to Ebates– You will receive $10 for using it, if you’re a new user
This is my personal referral link to TopCashBack- You will receive $10 for it, if you’re a new user.
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Deciding on which portal to use to maximize holiday shopping:
This comes down to preference. I typically choose the best cash back or Ultimate Reward payout, but that fits my travel goals. I have been choosing cash back more frequently, as this goes hand in hand with my new credit card strategy. Of course I deviate from this occasionally.
The portal payouts change all the time, so it will be important to double check before you pick a portal.
Recently, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Alaskan Airlines offered up to 5,000 bonus miles. I’m sure we will see something after Thanksgiving, but before the Christmas season. If you decide to earn airline miles, please make sure they are miles you’ll use. Earning 7,000 United miles won’t help you, if you can’t use those miles!
Do You Need to Use That Credit Card?
I think it is important to note that using an Ultimate Reward portal, does not require using the card tied to that portal. For example, you can use your American Express card, or Chase Freedom card when shopping through the Chase Sapphire shopping rewards. These are a great way to stack Amex Offers, or if the bonuses on one card are better for the specific transaction you are making.
The exception to this is the Discover Deals. Last year, Discover started cracking down on this. You won’t receive extra Discover Cash if you don’t use your Discover card for that account.
Using Credit Card vs Gift Card:
This is definitely something I debate when I make a purchase online. On one hand, buying a gift card can yield more rewards, but there is a trade off…
Purchasing with a gift card is very similar to making a purchase with cash. You will not have any purchase protection, or warranty protection you will receive with your credit cards.
I think it is worth forgoing the extra rewards when you are purchasing a big ticket it, or electronics. If it is something inexpensive or an item you aren’t worried about warranty protection then I say purchase with gift card if you were to earn more rewards.
What if you must purchase in-store?
Sometimes, you have to make a purchase in-store and not use a portal. Depending on the store you are shopping in, all is not lost. There are less options, but earning some extra cash back is better than earning nothing, right?
This is where Ebates in-store can save the day. Currently, you can link either an American Express or Visa card to one of the stores listed. The stores include:
⦁ The Body Shop
⦁ Dick’s Sporting Goods
⦁ Buybuy Baby
⦁ Ann Taylor
⦁ Footwear Etc
⦁ Charming Charlie
⦁ Cost Plus World Market
⦁ Club Monaco
⦁ New York and Company
⦁ Old Navy
⦁ American Eagle
⦁ Eddie Bauer
⦁ Fashion to Figure
⦁ John Varvatos
⦁ Saks Fifth Avenue
⦁ Rebecca Taylor
⦁ Banana Republic
⦁ Bed Bath and Beyond
⦁ Neiman Marcus Last Call
⦁ Johnston & Murphy
The cash back ranges from 1% to 5%, this is on top of your credit card rewards. Remember, this will stack with Amex offers, or bonus categories.
Making this even sweeter:
This time of year is also great for Amex Offers, they seem to be the gift that keeps on giving. Using these offers can earn you extra points or save you extra money. These offers could make these a better card to use than a card earning 5x, like the Chase Freedom.
New Amex offers seem to come out daily around this time of year, so be sure to keep an eye on them. Some of them are public and can go extremely fast!
Last week, I was purchasing a new laptop and had decided on a Dell XPS 13. I originally was thinking I was going to use a cash back portal. After reading about the bonus miles being offered by American Airlines, I opted for AA miles.
AAdvantage Shopping Mall was offering 3 miles per dollar at Dell. On top of that after spending $150, I’d earn an extra 500 miles. After spending $750, I’d get another 2,500 miles. In total I would earn about 6,000 American Airline miles, almost enough for a one-way ticket on AA for a short haul flight.
Now, the day I bought my computer, American Express rolled out an awesome Amex offer at Dell. If you were to spend $300 at Dell, you would receive $100 statement credit. Luckily, I was able to load this onto 3 of my American Express cards.
Dell will allow you to split your transaction between 3 different credit cards (lucky me!). Right after made my purchase, I receive 3 emails from American Express saying I had used my Amex Offers.
A few days after the transaction posted, I received my $300 in credits for my purchase. In the end, I received 6,000 American Airline miles, 600 Membership Reward points, about $4 in cash back, roughly $50 in Dell rewards money, and $300 in statement credits.
Conclusion – Maximize Holiday Shopping:
This time of year is a great time to earn extra miles, points, or cashback when buying gifts this holiday season. With so many options, there is no reason not to take advantage of these offers. Don’t forget about Amex Offers, since those can save you a lot of money or earn you bonus points.
Have a great Thanksgiving and happy shopping!
What’s your favorite portal? Have you ever used a portal before?
Editorial Note - Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
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