How to Use Shopping Portals for Extra Points/Miles

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What is a Shopping Portal?

A shopping portal allows you to earn cash back or miles or points on your online purchase.
Using a shopping portal doesn’t cost you anything.
This may seem too good to be true, but basically the store gives a commission to the shopping portal for “showing you” to their website. And then the shopping portal gives you a part of that commission, enticing you to keep coming back and using the shopping portal. Win/win.

Shopping Portal Basics

I start EVERY online shopping session at cashbackmonitor.com.
Cashbackmonitor.com compiles all of your shopping portal options.

This is what you’ll see in the top left corner. —–>

You can search for any store. There are times where you will not find a store. But I find that only happens about 20% of the time.

Let’s say you search for Sak’s Fifth Avenue. The points/rewards/cash back offers change constantly. So what you see one day will likely be different tomorrow. Here’s what I see today…

As you can see, you have 4 columns.
Each showing a different option: Cashback, Travel Miles/Points, Credit Card Points, Other Reward Points.


I find Rakuten many times (NOT always) has the higher return. And because I have elected to receive American Express points instead of cash back with Rakuten, I often choose Rakuten. If you would like get Amex points back with Rakuten, here’s the step by step on how to change your payout to Amex points.

If you don’t have a Rakuten account, with referral links, you can get $30 cash back (from Rakuten) after spending $30 in the 1st 90 days. I would highly recommend not signing up until you are ready to shop. This bonus from Rakuten is only offered during your referral sign up. This is the referral link when you are ready to sign up.

<——- This was our payout from last quarter – 34,213 Amex points!

Rakuten pays out (Cash or Amex points) every 3 months.

One thing to note.. if you have elected to get cash back, then change to get Amex points, the change does not take place until the next quarter.

Timing is really the star of the show when you want to earn cash back or points/miles with shopping portals.
You will often find elevated offers over holiday weekends. Especially Black Friday. Rakuten also holds “Rakuten Week” in early May. This is when you can often find 15x – 20x back (per dollar). My strategy is to stock up on everything I need for a couple months during these huge offers.

Travel Miles/Points Option
Under this column you’ll find the airline programs. This is a great way to earn extra miles with your airline program of choice. It’s also a great way to achieve Airline Status WITHOUT flying!
For example…
American Airlines has a very generous status program and many people earn status just by shopping and using the American Airlines shopping portal.
This is also a fantastic way to add to the qualifying points you need to secure the Southwest Companion Pass.

Credit Card Points Option
As you will see, the only credit cards listed under this column are Chase cards and Barclay. One thing to note, you must have the actual credit card to use that specific portal.

Shopping Portal Quick Tips

  • You can use ANY card you want when using a shopping portal. It doesn’t matter if you are using Rakuten to earn Amex points. You get the Amex points for clicking through. NO MATTER what card you use.
  • Always start at cashbackmonitor.com to see the best offerings/compare offerings.
  • Once you click through a shopping portal, do not open new windows/close your shopping portal window, add stuff to your cart and come back hours later. If you need to finish shopping later, click through the shopping portal again. The portal needs to have that link (tracking the cookies) between you going through the shopping portal and you finishing your order.
  • Don’t shop online without using a shopping portal 😉

Using shopping portals is an absolute GAME CHANGER when it comes to earning points/miles.
Once this becomes a habit, you’ll be amazed how quickly these extra points/miles add up.

Opinions expressed here are the 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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