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It’s time to get a start on those holiday purchases, and this credit card perk could help earn you your next flight redemption or free hotel stay: credit card shopping portals.
Most major credit card companies have their own shopping portals that offer additional points, cash back, discounts or statement credits for doing holiday shopping you’d already be doing anyway. Here’s everything you need to know to better understand and take advantage of credit card shopping portals to maximize your rewards this holiday season.
How credit card shopping portals work
Credit card shopping portals are relatively easy to use as you can access them via your online account.
Visit the shopping portal landing page, your credit card homepage or your rewards account, where bonus points or cash back are offered for making purchases with specific retailers. Offers and point amounts change frequently, and you may get further savings or additional offers around popular shopping times like the holidays.
Although each credit card shopping portal has its own way of operating, the most common is that you’ll have to click through the portal to your preferred shopping site. Once you shop, your issuer will track your purchase to ensure you receive your rewards. Note that you should have cookies enabled on your browser so your purchases can be tracked.
Or, you may have to add certain cash back or statement credit offers to your card by clicking on them to activate or sign up.
Why use credit card shopping portals?
“These portals are some of the best, most underutilized ways to get cash back and other rewards,” says Bankrate senior industry analyst Ted Rossman. “You click through your credit card portal and go through to a retailer’s website. It’s the same site experience that you would get if you typed in the URL directly, but because of this referral, they give you extra cash back or points.
Credit card shopping portals allow you to get extra rewards for very little extra work. You’re getting additional perks for something you’d be doing already, like holiday shopping, and it “takes just 15 seconds,” says Rossman.
Popular credit card shopping portals
Shop With Chase
Chase offers the Shop through Chase portal, where you can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every purchase you make. This portal is available to cardholders of select Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Freedom Flex℠ and other eligible cards. Connect by logging into your Chase account and visiting the rewards section, then search for Shop through Chase. In the Chase app, it may be labeled “shop now and earn extra points.”
Once logged in to Shop through Chase, you’ll discover all sorts of stores you can shop at, like office stores, department stores, as well as shops that sell beauty products, home goods, clothing apparel, electronics and accessories as well as services and subscriptions.
Shop current offers like 2 points per dollar spent at Bose, 3 points per dollar spent at Samsung, 3 points per dollar spent at Macy’s, or an additional 1500 points for signing up for a Green Chef meal plan box. Make sure to navigate to the “Holiday Deals” section to check out additional bonus opportunities for select retailers.
An easy way to earn even more rewards is to combine Shop With Chase with Chase Offers, which are discounts that give you statement credits for making purchases at specific retailers. Chase Offers are targeted, and you’ll have to activate them within your online account space before making your purchase.
For example, if you have a targeted Chase Offer to get 5 percent back at Gap, make sure to activate that offer before visiting Shop With Chase and clicking through to that same retailer to earn both cash back and bonus points when shopping.
Another way to double dip is to take advantage of cards that provide bonus points or cash back on specific categories. For example, the Chase Freedom Flex offers 5 percent cash back on rotating categories that could provide additional rewards. For example, one of the categories is Walmart, which is a retailer that could offer bonus points on Shop With Chase.
Barclaycard Reward Boost
Although Barclaycard points are less versatile than Chase Ultimate Rewards, they still have value. Shop the Barclaycard Reward Boost portal to find deals like 8 points per dollar spent at Under Armour and 5 points per dollar spent at Adidas.
The Citi Bonus Cash Center offers Citi cardholders cash back at over 1,100 stores. Current offers include 4 percent bonus cash back at Atleta or 6 percent bonus cash back at Fresh.
Capital One Shopping works similarly to Citi’s shopping portal, with cash back offers like 4 percent back at Booking.com or 3 percent back at Lindt Chocolate. Certain Capital One cardholders with cards like the Capital One Venture X may also have targeted shopping offers, like 3 percent back on Apple purchases or 7 percent back at Ulta.
American Express features targeted Amex Offers, where you can get statement credits for shopping at particular retailers. For example, in your account, you may see options like “Spend $500 or more, get $100 at Hilton Nevada locations” or “spend $100 or more at Madewell, get $20 back.”
With all of these offers, discounts and point bonuses, make sure to read the fine print on terms for getting cash back or bonus points, activating any offers when necessary before shopping.
Although Amex doesn’t have its own shopping portal, you can earn Membership Rewards using Rakuten, which we’ll offer more details on below.
Airline shopping portals
In addition to the major credit card issuers, you can shop at airline credit card portals to earn frequent flyer miles. Here are some of the most popular ones:
One of the best perks of airline shopping portals is the opportunity to double dip. This means that you’ll earn a certain number of points per dollar spent at retailers, as well as whatever credit card points earned from the card you use to purchase.
Even better, if you can activate or add Amex, Chase or Capital One offers to your card, you may be able to stack those earnings for even more benefit, getting cash back, credit card points and airline miles just by doing holiday shopping or making other purchases you’d already be doing anyway.
Make sure to frequently check airline portals to find out if they offer any additional bonuses. These portals typically offer bonuses for things like Black Friday, Christmas, Mother’s Day, back-to-school and many other holidays or significant times of the year.
Additional credit card shopping hacks
Skip the pay-with-points options when shopping
Note that many retailers allow you “shop” via their portals using your points to pay. While this is an option, it’s not the best value use of your points. We don’t recommend redeeming points for shopping purchases or gift cards because you won’t get the best return. It’s best to earn points using shopping portals and then redeem them for travel or transfer them to travel partners.
If you know you need to shop at a specific retailer (like Saks or Apple), look for the retailer in various portals to see which offers the most bonus points.
Or, if you’re set on earning a specific credit card point currency, stay within that shopping portal and search for deals at various retailers that might be a good fit for your holiday shopping. Frequently check back to see if there are additional offers or higher point bonuses as the holidays get closer.
Additional cash back (or Amex Rewards) options
We’ve already mentioned how useful shopping portals can be, but there may be even more ways to continue maximizing your holiday shopping by earning cash back or even Amex points.
If it’s cash back you’re after, use sites like Mr. Rebates or Extrabux to have additional cash back options. But considering Amex doesn’t have its own shopping portal, using Rakuten is a versatile option, which offers either cash back or Amex Rewards points. Considering Bankrate values Amex Rewards at 2.0 cents per point, using Rakuten to earn Amex points when shopping can double your return.
Check back frequently for deals
Make sure to check your favorite shopping portals around the holidays or important shopping times for additional deals — like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Mother’s Day or back-to-school.
Things like targeted Chase or Amex Offers frequently change, so it’s worth revising your accounts regularly to ensure you’re making the most of them.
Use the right rewards card
If you’re shopping at a retailer that could fall into a bonus category, use the right card to get those additional bonus points. Some cards offer bonuses for purchases from Amazon to grocery stores to travel sites or stores like Target or Walmart, so make sure to know what cards offer which bonuses and use the right ones to get those extra points.
Some credit cards even have online shopping as a cash back category, so consider applying for one of these if that makes up a significant portion of your budget.
Only use promo cards from the portals
Many shopping portals also feature promo codes for specific vendors or retailers. Make sure to use only these codes when clicking through to your chosen retailer from the shopping portal. If you use promo codes from elsewhere (yes, even just for free shipping!), your purchase may be ineligible for points.
*Note that the offers mentioned are accurate at the time of publishing.