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Most of us pay for purchases with the credit card that has the highest rewards payout. But, you might be able to earn even more points at specific retailers. Sometimes it’s difficult to maximize your credit card bonus categories. The trick to getting the most out of your purchase is by using your rewards credit card shopping portals to boost your earning potential.

best credit cards for international travel
Using credit card shopping portals can help you get the most out of your purchases. Photo by American Express

Credit cards offer multiple ways to earn bonus points on your daily spending. Many of the best travel credit cards in 2020 have launched limited-time promotions on lifestyle purchases like Instacart purchases and streaming services that usually garner the base 1 point per $1. Some of these promotions are in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Related: Best Credit Card Offers

Chase Ultimate Rewards

The various Chase credit cards earning Ultimate Rewards have one of the most extensive credit card shopping portals. It’s possible to earn between 1 and 15 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 at over 450 stores. You may also earn points on services, depending on the season.

These three Chase credit card families can use the “Shop through Chase” shopping portal:

You can access the Shop through the Chase portal after logging into your Chase account.

Shop through Chase credit card shopping portals
The Shop through Chase shopping portal is an effortless way to earn bonus Ultimate Rewards. Credit: Chase

Shop through Chase has participating department store retailers in many shopping categories. However, most participating retailers are in the beauty, fashion, sporting goods sector. One downside is that “discount stores” like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Target do not participate in this portal.

Instead of shopping directly through the retailer website (or going to your closest store), visit the Chase shopping portal first. You must activate a shopping session by clicking the “Shop Now” button. Make sure you complete your purchase in this special session so Chase can track your purchase and award you Ultimate Rewards.

In addition to browsing the best rewards rates, this portal offers discount codes too. Entering the promo code at checkout secures extra cash savings plus the bonus Ultimate Rewards points you earn. It can take up to five business days for the bonus Ultimate Rewards points to appear in your account.

Chase Offers

Another way to earn one-time shopping bonuses is with Chase Offers. You can activate and redeem targeted offers for cash statement credits. These offers are available for your various Chase credit cards. However, the cards you use more often may have more offers to choose from.

Some discounts offers can include these brands:

  • CBS All Access ($3 back on a new subscription)
  • Home Chef (10% off on one purchase)
  • Kindle or Kindle Unlimited subscriptions (20% off)
  • Starbucks (10% off one purchase)

Be sure to read the terms and conditions about the maximum cash back you can earn when activating the offer. Some offers are for online-only purchases. Chase automatically applies the statement credit after you pay for the purchase with your linked Chase credit card.

It’s also possible to earn bonus points at some retailers if they qualify for the limited-time Chase bonus categories.

American Express Membership Rewards

American Express doesn’t have a standalone shopping portal for its credit and charge cards that earn Membership Rewards. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though as there’s a “backdoor” way to rack up bonus Amex points.

You see, Rakuten (previously the Ebates shopping portal) earns bonus shopping rewards at over 2,000 online stores. It’s possible to earn bonus points on select local shopping trips too.

Tip: New Rakuten members can earn 3,000 bonus Amex Membership Rewards instead of the stand 1,500-point bonus!!

As American Express partners with Rakuten, this can be the easiest credit card shopping portal to use. You can install the Rakuten browser extension or use the Rakuten mobile app to activate your shopping sessions with minimal hassle.

Rakuten’s default payment method is cash back on a quarterly basis once your rewards balance is at least $5.01. In your Rakuten account settings, switch your earning preference to American Express Membership Rewards. It’s really that simple as Rakuten tracks your purchases and pays you with Membership Rewards.

Amex Offers

American Express also links one-time statement credits to your rewards credit cards. This program is similar to Chase Offers.

While you won’t earn bonus points, the cash statement credit can be worth more than the potential redemption value of your points. For instance, would you choose 10% back or redeem your points for 1 cent each?

Like Chase, American Express also has limited time American Express bonus categories that you might be eligible for.

Barclaycard RewardsBoost

If you have a Barclays rewards credit card, sift through the Barclaycard RewardsBoost portal before shopping online. Over 700 stores participate on the RewardsBoost platform. You earn bonus points plus your usual credit card rewards.

Citi Bonus Cash Center

Citi credit cards can earn bonus cash back at the Citi Bonus Cash Center. This may not be a good option if you want to earn travel miles. However, it can be effective if you have the Citi® Double Cash Card that earns up to 2% back on every purchase. Cardholders earn 1% back when they buy, plus 1% back when they may for purchases. Point earning is unlimited.

Related: Citi Double Cash Review

Airline Credit Cards

Many airline frequent flyer programs have an online shopping portal. You can earn bonus miles at online stores and participating local restaurants (check out the best dining rewards programs for extra purchase power) that are available to all frequent flyers. Paying with your miles credit card lets you earn credit card rewards too.

Here is a quick link to some the domestic airline shopping portals:

The mileage offers will be similar for each airline as the same company runs the backend of each portal. Focusing on earning miles for one airline can be the best way to make your efforts productive.

Hotel Credit Cards

Hotel loyalty programs have been closing their shopping portals over the past few years. Two lone exceptions are Choice Privileges and Wyndham Rewards. You may focus on earning flexible credit card points, cash rewards, or airline miles first as hotel points are usually the least valuable rewards currency.

Related: Best hotel credit cards

Compare Rates with CashBack Monitor

What happens if you have multiple rewards credit cards and want the best current offer? Instead of spending precious time comparing rates for each portal, CashBack Monitor is a free rewards comparison tool. You can enter the store name (i.e., Nike) to see the current rates for travel points, credit card points, and other shopping portals.

Summary

There are several ways you can earn bonus points when shopping online. You can redeem these bonus points for cash or travel rewards. The key is remembering to activate the shopping session to boost your earnings.

FAQs

How do I access my Chase shopping portal?

You can access the Shop through Chase shopping portal from the Chase website or mobile app. After logging into your Chase account, choose the Ultimate Rewards button showing your current points balance. You will see a “Shop and Earn” button that takes you to the Chase shopping portal.

Once inside the shopping portal, it’s possible to browse offers by store name, store type, or the best reward rates. Chase tracks your purchase after you activate your shopping trip.

If you have multiple Chase credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards, select the card you want to earn points with from the dropdown menu.

What is a shopping portal?

Online shopping portals partner with hundreds of online stores to offer bonus rewards. Some portals offer cash back and gift card rewards. Other portals may let you earn airline miles or credit card points.

You must activate a shopping session from the portal website, mobile app, or browser extension so the portal can accurately track your purchase and award bonus points.

Shopping portals are an excellent way to maximize the purchases you already plan on making. Some portals have more retail, dining, and travel partners than others.

It’s possible to earn bonus points on these types of online purchases:

  • Beauty products
  • Clothing and fashion accessories
  • Home food delivery
  • Office supplies
  • Sporting goods
  • Software and electronics
  • Travel

These portals are free and do not affect the price you pay at the checkout screen. Stores partner with shopping portals and offer bonus points to encourage you (the shopper) to make a purchase from their store instead of a competitor. For example, you might buy Nike apparel instead of Under Armour apparel if Nike offers more points.

How do you get points for shopping?

Some banks offer rewards credit card shopping portals. Chase Bank has the Shop through Chase portal that earns Ultimate Rewards points. The Citi Bonus Cash Center is for all Citi credit cards and Barclays offers the Barclaycard RewardsBoost.

Co-brand airline credit cards can earn bonus points through their linked frequent flyer program. American Express Membership Rewards credit cards can connect their account to Rakuten to earn Membership Rewards points.

Some credit cards offer one-time statement credit offers. Chase Offers and Amex Offers are the two best-known programs. You can see your eligible offers by logging into your credit card account.

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Josh Patoka
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