Do you want to travel more and need more points to do so (but don't want to spend more money to get those points)? Fear not, there is a solution – shopping portals. Many credit cards and airline alliances have them, and they are a terrific way to boost your overall points.
Shopping portals come in all shapes and sizes. Credit card companies have shopping portals for users to gain tons of points. Airlines have also opened up several shopping portals to help their flyers earn more miles. Plus, there are a variety of other shopping portals that give you cashback.
It is a win-win for everyone. Customers gain more points and cashback, and these banks, airlines, and cashback companies get more affiliate sales. The only issue may be deciding which shopping portal to use.
That is where Cashback Monitor comes in. This platform tracks around 45 shopping portals so consumers can find the best deals available.
Let's explore using Cashback Monitor and maximize our shopping points' potential!
What is a Shopping Portal?
A shopping portal is simply a website that displays e-commerce deals connected with a rewards program. If you go through the portal, you can earn more rewards. The companies will then make an affiliate sale if you purchase through the portal. They then share part of the earnings with their customers.
Here is an example. For Mother's Day, United gave 30 miles per dollar spent on 1-800-Flowers.com. Other shopping portals were giving out big bonuses as well. People buy flowers for their mothers and the more people buy via the portal, the larger the bonus. If you want to buy flowers, you click the link, purchase the flowers, and get rewarded with more points or miles.
The great thing about shopping portals is that you can earn bonus points and miles as you regularly shop for items. It is a great way to boost those points to help with your travel hacking strategy.
What is Cashback Monitor?
Shopping portals are a great tool to maximize your points and cash back potential. The hard part is keeping up with the different shopping portals to get the best value for the money you are spending.
That is where Cashback Monitor comes to help. Cashback Monitor is a tool that tracks over 40 plus different shopping portals to help you find the best rates for your spending. You will no longer need to follow the various portals to get the most bang for your buck – you have a site to help track it.
You can maximize the Cashback Monitor website with a few clicks to help you create more significant rewards.
How Does Cashback Monitor Work?
Cashback Monitor is relatively easy to use. You open up the Cashback Monitor website. In the search column, you put in the store where you're looking to make your purchase.
At that point, a menu with different categories will pop up. There will be a column for cashback from stores such as InboxDollars, Rakuten, and RebatesMe.
Other columns that may interest you will be Travel Miles/Points, Credit Card Points, and Other Reward Points, like Swagbucks or MyPoints.
When you see which shopping portal you would like to shop from, you will need to shop from the shopping portal. You can click on the portal from the directory and then click on the deal to start shopping.
Best Current Rate
Searching for the best rate is easy by putting in the store and whichever one is the highest you can go with it.
For example, several shopping portals will pop up if you enter ‘Nike'. For Cashback, Inbox Dollars is offering 8% back, Miles/Points has American Airlines offering 4 miles, credit card points have Chase Freedom with 4 points, and other points with Swagbucks offering 8%.
With all of those different offers, you choose which is the best rate for you. If you are looking at collecting American Airlines miles, then maybe that is the best. Looking solely at cashback, look at Inbox Dollars or Swagbucks.
Assign Cash Values For Points
If you create an account, you can assign a specific value for each mile, point, or cash back to maximize even more.
Those American Airline Miles may be worth 1.4 cents to you; therefore, getting four would be closer to 5.6% back. If you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards Account and their points are worth 2 cents a point to you, and they offer 3 points/dollar, then the Chase points would be worth more.
By assigning cash values to these points and miles, you can maximize the value you receive for purchasing items through one shopping portal over another.
See the Best Rate History
To truly maximize your spending with Cashback Monitor, get familiar with the ‘Rate History' button.
Looking for the best rates, start by seeing what rate you can find in the search column. Next, you can check out the rating history of a particular store. You will notice that certain stores have higher rates during the year than other times. So you can wait and see.
When looking for a good time to buy flowers for someone, take a look at the history. United right now has 1-800- Flowers.com for 15 miles/$. If you look at the rate history though, United offers a whopping 30 miles/$ from mid-November to December 30. They also provide 30 miles/$ from April 15-May 9, 2022.
Being able to search the rate history gives you an advantage when doing shopping. You can gain more points and cashback by timing your shopping.
Create Alerts for Rate Increases
Once you set up an account with Cashback Monitor, you can then set up alerts for certain stores to allow you to know when a cashback rate increases.
Knowing that the rates do increase at certain times of the year allows you to have the patience to get the most cash back possible. If you set up alerts, you will then be able to maximize the points and cashback you will get from your shopping.
You can set up the alert to let you know a certain percentage or shopping portal hits a pre-determined number.
For 1-800 Flowers.com, you can input 30 miles/$ for United. When that hits the 30 miles/$, you will get an alert. You can lower that to 20 miles or even 20% on another shopping portal. It just gives you more options to do your shopping.
Finding the Best Deals
There are several factors you will need to determine to find the best deals. What is your objective? Do you need more points for an airline or a credit card, or do you want cashback?
These are all factors you must consider. What about your flexibility of time? Buying something now could be less incentivized than waiting for one to two months for a better deal. So it would be best to consider all possible options.
Using Cashback Monitor allows you to pinpoint the best times and deals to help you maximize your points game. If you want the best deals, start there and work out your goals.
Who Should Use It?
Those looking for opportunities to maximize their spending. Getting the most cash back or points possible is best if you plan to shop online.
Other people may try to score more miles and points for free travel or other opportunities. You can rack up a good amount of Southwest Rapid Rewards points to help you get the Southwest Companion Pass. That allows you to have one companion fly with you for free. The cool thing is that you can do regular online shopping and a credit card to boost those points.
Then there are those people that like cashback. Cashback is significant if you spend money and want to get something back in return. The cool thing is there are multiple places to get some cash back, such as Swagbucks, Inbox Dollars, and Rakuten. So take advantage of these platforms to get even more cashback.
The Cashback Monitor is a great tool that helps you scan the internet for a better shopping portal. These bonus points allow you to access more rewards with your credit card or airline account. It also shows you the possibility of gaining more cash back from your purchases.
When you decide to go shopping, check out Cashback Monitor to see what else you can earn from that spending. Don't leave additional points and cash back on the table. Maximize that spending to continue to get the most bang for your buck.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.
Steve Cummings is the founder of the personal finance blog The Frugal Expat. As a traveler and expat, he has learned a lot about how to save money, live frugally, and invest for the future. His mission is to help people in saving, investing, and reaching financial independence.