Earn even more rewards by adding this one small step to your online shopping routine

Nov 6, 2020

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From 100,000-point credit card bonuses to lucrative hotel promotions, there are many ways to earn rewards. There are even ways to earn rewards for your next vacation without leaving the house.

When you’re shopping online, you can easily earn rewards using one of the best credit cards for online shopping. But, you can often double-dip on rewards by clicking through an online shopping portal before making online purchases.

Many hotel and airline loyalty programs have online shopping portals. There are also online shopping portals for earning cash-back rewards and transferrable points. In short, there are often many shopping portals to consider for a particular retailer. But, each shopping portal offers rewards at varying rates. And, it can be time-consuming to check each of your favorite shopping portals when making an online purchase.

Luckily, several shopping portal aggregators let you compare your options side-by-side. So, today I’ll take a closer look at how to use these shopping portal aggregators to maximize your rewards when shopping online.

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What is a shopping portal aggregator?

Woman working on computer and drinking coffee
You can use a shopping portal aggregator to see all of the online shopping portals that provide rewards for a particular merchant. (Photo by MStudioImages/Getty Images)

A shopping portal aggregator collects and displays online shopping portals and their current earning rates. You can check these aggregators to find the best earnings rates for purchases on popular websites. Most shopping portal aggregators also highlight some online shopping portal promotions on their homepage.

Related: The beginner’s guide to airline shopping portals

Which shopping portal aggregator is best?

I generally use Cashback Monitor to compare shopping portal returns before making an online purchase or booking. But, some TPG staffers prefer Evreward. The sites are relatively similar, so my recommendation is to try both sites and see which you like best.

If you use the Chrome browser, there are also shopping portal aggregator extensions that you can install. These extensions use the URL of the site you are browsing to find and compare online shopping portal rates for the site. Two popular options are Cashback Watch and Cashback Comparison. So, you may want to try out one or both of these extensions.

Related: Watch a TPG Talks episode on how to use online shopping portals and apps to save money and earn miles from home

How do I use a shopping portal aggregator website?

To use a shopping portal aggregator website, go to the site and enter the merchant’s name. You can then quickly compare the earning rates you’d get when clicking through various online shopping portals.

Cashback Monitor for Marriott Bonvoy hotels and resorts
When booking directly with Marriott, you may want to compare online shopping portal options with Cashback Monitor. (Image courtesy of Cashback Monitor)

Once you’ve decided which online shopping portal to use, click on the portal name. Doing so will take you to the online shopping portal’s website, where you can log-in to the portal, see the earning rates for this merchant and check the fine print for exclusions. Then, click through to the merchant’s website and complete your purchase.

Related: TPG reader credit card question: Which credit card should I use in shopping portals?

How do I use a Chrome extension that aggregates shopping portals?

To use a Chrome extension that aggregates shopping portals, you’ll first need to install the extension. Then, when shopping online, you can click the extension icon at the top of your browser, select the aggregator icon and then compare offers for the merchant. Cashback Watch and Cashback Comparison both assure users that the extension only uses the URL you’re visiting to compare and display shopping portal offers.

Clicking on one of the online shopping portal names will take you to the online shopping portal’s website. On this site, you should log-in to the portal, check the earning rates and read the fine print for exclusions. Once you’re ready to make your purchase, you can click through to the merchant’s website.

Related: 4 easy strategies I use to earn over 500,000 points and miles a year

Why should I use a shopping portal aggregator?

Hands typing on a laptop
You may be able to earn more rewards by using a shopping portal aggregator. (Photo by Alexander Spatari/Getty Images)

Some consumers prefer to use just one online shopping portal. It’s easy to install a shopping portal browser extension for your favorite loyalty program and wait for it to remind you to click through the program’s portal when shopping with participating merchants. And, some travelers may want to focus on collecting rewards in a specific loyalty program. After all, concentrating your efforts on one program may allow you to make your next redemption quicker.

However, you can earn more rewards by comparing earning rates with an online shopping portal aggregator. After all, each online shopping portal offers different types of rewards at different rates. For instance, when I researched this guide, you could earn 5x miles through the AAdvantage online shopping portal, 4x miles through the Southwest Rapid Rewards shopping portal and 4x miles through the Delta SkyMiles shopping portal on Nike purchases.

Cashback Monitor for Nike
Many online shopping portals offer bonus rewards when you shop with Nike. (Image courtesy of Cashback Monitor)

Plus, these rates may increase during specific promotions. And, not all shopping portals partner with every merchant. So, I’ve found that it’s far easier to start at a shopping portal aggregator when I’m ready to make an online purchase.

Related: The TPG tip that helped this reader earn $10k in 4 years

How to decide which online shopping portal to use

Once you’ve used a shopping portal aggregator to compare offers, you’ll need to decide which online shopping portal to use. I often choose the online shopping portal based on my estimated return according to TPG’s valuations. In many cases, this means I use Rakuten to earn Amex points since American Express Membership Rewards points are so valuable. But in some cases, I choose a lower return to build up my balance in a particular loyalty program.

Additionally, it’s essential to read the fine print for each merchant before using an online shopping portal. For example, you’ll notice that some portals may earn “up to” a particular rate. In this case, you’ll want to see what types of purchases earn the maximum rate. And when booking hotels, note that some online shopping portals provide lesser earnings for elites and no earnings when you book certain rates.

Related: How I use cash back — not just points and miles — to hit my travel goals

Bottom line

Unless you are focused on earning just one type of rewards, it’s smart to use an online shopping portal aggregator to get the best return on your online purchases. After all, online shopping portals allow you to earn bonus points and miles almost effortlessly while doing something you already planned.

Using an online shopping portal, you can top off your account balance or earn a few extra rewards towards your next redemption. And, you may be able to keep your points and miles from expiring by generating activity with some loyalty programs.

Of course, rewards earned through online shopping portals are on top of what you can earn from your credit card purchase. So, when you combine online shopping portals with one of the best credit cards for online shopping, you can earn more points and miles by double-dipping. As such, I recommend getting in the habit of using a shopping portal aggregator when shopping online.

Additional reporting by Liz Hund.

Featured photo by Cavan Images/Getty Images.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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