Online shopping portals are one of my best kept secrets (until now). A lot of people don't know about them! These are platforms that incentivize you to shop at participating retailers by offering extra cash, miles, or points. There are several types of portals, and I'll group them into the following:
Let's walk through how this process works. Let's say I watched Jaclyn Hill's latest makeup tutorial, and now I want to make a purchase at Sephora. Instead of going directly to Sephora's website, I would first navigate to one of these portals. Let's use the Southwest Rapid Rewards Mall as an example. I type "Sephora" into the search bar and discover I can earn 4 Rapid Rewards points for every dollar I spend. I click the "Shop Now" button, which directs me to the Sephora website, and I continue making my purchase as usual. If I spend $100 at Sephora, I have earned 400 Rapid Rewards points just by clicking through a shopping portal first!
But how do I know that Southwest offers the highest return for Sephora purchases? There are many other shopping portals out there, and it would take a lot of time to click through every single one. That's where Cashback Monitor comes in. This is a platform that compares incentives across every portal. In this case, I search for Sephora and find that the American AAdvantage mall offers 10 miles per dollar, while several other Independent portals offer up to 10% cash back. Both options are more lucrative than the Southwest Rapid Rewards mall.
Many people don't realize that you can use any credit card to make a purchase through a portal. You don't have to book with a Southwest-branded card in order to use the Southwest Rapid Rewards portal (you just need a mileage account). On that same note, you don't need to use a Wells Fargo credit card in order to earn incentives through the Wells Fargo Rewards portal. However, using the same card does make it easier from a customer service perspective if you run into issues. In the example above, I might make the $100 Sephora purchase through the AAdvantage portal with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Not only would I earn 1,000 AAdvantage points, but I'd also earn 100 Chase points just by booking through that card (assuming 1x points on all purchases).