The TPG tip that helped this reader earn $10k in 4 years
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Here at The Points Guy, we’re not just fanatical about traveling or points and miles. We’re also big proponents of personal finance, whether it’s through maximizing each dollar spent with the right credit card for rewards, or from earning cash back through online shopping portals.
That’s why we were thrilled to hear from Paul H., a Tampa-based TPG reader who has earned more than $10,000 in cash back over the past four years.
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“I want to thank everyone at TPG for all of your information and hard work,” Paul told TPG in an email to our Tips inbox. “Your plethora of tips on earning and spending miles have given my partner and I amazing experiences. We are insanely grateful.”
We love a good thank-you note — who doesn’t? — and reached out immediately to ask Paul to share more about his hard-earned windfall.
Paul discovered the wonderful world of shopping portals in 2016, thanks to a TPG guide. Soon after, Paul began utilizing popular cash back retailer TopCashBack.com each time he made an online purchase. Four years later, Paul has earned more than $10,000 through TopCashBack, which he sets aside for spending money whenever he travels with his family.
Related: Guide to maximizing shopping portals
“I own a small business, and most of my earnings come from business expenses,” said Paul, who estimates that his small business spends around $4,000 per month. He most frequently purchases from major retailers such as eBay, Aliexpress, Hobby Lobby, Lowe’s and Office Depot. AliExpress, in particular, offers six percent cash back on purchases, which adds up quickly, Paul told TPG. He also utilizes online shopping portals for business travel with Marriott and Hertz reservations.
Paul told TPG that he uses the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card for all business travel, postage and utilities, which earns him 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar (on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year). If his purchase doesn’t fall under these categories, he uses a Capital One Spark Miles for Business for 2% cash back on every dollar.
On the personal spending front, Paul estimates he spends approximately $500 per month, primarily through retailers who offer 2 percent cash back or more. Paul uses the Chase Freedom Unlimited for 1.5% cash back (1.5x rewards per dollar), unless his purchase falls under one of the Chase Freedom‘s quarterly rotating categories (No longer open to new applicants), which earn 5% cash back (5x points) on the first $1,500 spent each quarter. He also keeps track of current American Express card offers, and utilizes his American Express® Gold Card or Platinum Card® from American Express credit cards whenever an offer aligns with his upcoming purchase.
Related: Cash back vs points and miles
One additional way Paul maximizes his spending is by utilizing Raise, an online platform that allows people to sell off unwanted retail gift cards at a discounted rate. He plans ahead for expenses such as birthday or holiday gifts by purchasing gift cards from popular retailers such as Netflix or iTunes, then uses the gift cards to fund his gift purchase when the time comes.
Once all of the double- and triple-dipping strategies are tallied up, Paul has actually earned far more than just $10,000 in cash back rewards. By cleverly utilizing his credit cards for maximum efficiency, Paul has most likely earned more than half a million points and miles through his points-earning credit cards as well, as well as additional money through his cash back cards.
Paul’s story is a great example of how steady, consistent habits go a long way toward building up your stash of cash back or points and miles. We love a good sign-up bonus as much as the next person — but Paul is living proof that building in the five-second practice of using shopping portals on every possible purchase can pay off big time.
Additional reading: TPG Talks guide to shopping portals
Additional reading: TPG’s top picks for 2020 cash back cards
Follow-up reading and important links:
Featured photo by Getty Images.
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TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,040
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- Earn 80K bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20K bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
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- Earn 3X miles on United® purchases, 2X miles at restaurants, on select streaming services & all other travel, 1X on all other purchases
- Earn 3X miles on United Airlines purchases
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