If you’re a savvy rewards card member on the hunt for points, chances are you’ve learned to maximize your reward categories in order to wring every point you can from your purchases. But unfortunately, a Bankrate survey earlier this year found that 55 percent of rewards credit cardholders who don’t carry a balance are missing out on rewards.
One often overlooked and underestimated rewards opportunity is your card issuer’s online shopping portal. If you have an eligible Chase credit card, the Shop Through Chase program can make your normal online shopping an underestimated spring of bonus points.
What is Shop Through Chase?
Shop Through Chase is the Ultimate Rewards program online shopping portal. It rewards you for shopping with hundreds of participating retailers using special offers, which include bonus points for each dollar you spend and other discounts. The traditional deals you might see are along the lines of a “buy one get etc.” or a percentage off a certain product or sitewide.
How much can you earn with Shop Through Chase?
The virtual mall’s catalog of retailers and promotional offers change over time, so the exact reward rates could be different each time you visit. You’ll typically see bonus point offers to earn 1 to 8 Ultimate Reward points per dollar spent, but mostly in the 1-to-4-point-per-dollar range.
This is a solid deal, since Ultimate Rewards points are some of the most valuable card rewards — worth 2 cents apiece, according to The Points Guy.
Here’s the best part: Points earned with Shop Through Chase are unlimited. If you choose to use your Ultimate Rewards card at checkout, you can also earn your standard rewards rate on top of the Shop Through Chase bonus.
Unless there’s a merchant-specific restriction on a deal (you might not be able to buy gift cards, for instance), no spending limit means you could earn considerably more points on a large purchase just by clicking the retailer’s Shop Through Chase link.
Your Shop Through Chase rewards can also be worth 50 percent more if you redeem them for travel with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card. Let’s say that you’ve been in the market for a new mattress, and a $1,295 king-size Casper memory foam mattress at Macy’s catches your eye. You could use the Chase Freedom Unlimited® alone to earn about $19.43 cash back, or 1,943 points. If Macy’s was running a 3X points Shop Through Chase deal, your new mattress would reap a total of 5,828 points — or $87.42 toward travel if you transfer and redeem with Sapphire Reserve.
Who is eligible to use Shop Through Chase?
Since Shop Through Chase is only accessible after logging into the Ultimate Rewards website, your credit cards must earn Ultimate Rewards points for you to be eligible. At the time of writing, seven Chase cards meet these requirements, counting the three Chase business cards.
This includes Chase’s cash back cards, because they originally earn Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for cash back (1 point = 1 cent). Unfortunately, that means Chase’s co-branded cards — like airline and hotel cards — don’t qualify for Shop Through Chase.
Best cards to use with Shop Through Chase
Determining the best cards to beef up your Shop Through Chase rewards boils down to which fit your spending and your preferred redemption options. After all, a shopping portal is useless if there’s nothing you want to buy.
Here are four credit cards that can earn and maximize rewards points on Shop Through Chase purchases:
|Card||Rewards rate||Annual fee|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||
For the most consistent rewards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card guarantees at least 1.5 percent cash back on all Shop Through Chase purchases.
However, a rotating bonus category card like the Chase Freedom Flex℠ could earn you up to 5 percent cash back (up to $1,500 each quarter on an activated category, then 1 percent). The trade-off is that you’ll have to cross your fingers that a Shop Through Chase offer aligns with your bonus categories.
Although Chase’s travel cards aren’t as effective for Shop Through Chase retailers’ bonus categories, the Chase trifecta can maximize your bonus shopping points if you’re saving up rewards for a future getaway. The Chase Sapphire Reserve boosts the value of your points by 50 percent when you redeem them for travel through Ultimate Rewards, for example.
How Shop Through Chase works
Using Shop Through Chase is a breeze, since it essentially works like a promo referral link. All you have to do is choose which card account you’re using once you log in, click “Earn Bonus Points” and then just browse for a retailer. There’s a full list of retailers and their current deals under “Browse by Merchant.” Once you find the special offer you’re looking for, clicking “Shop This Offer” will redirect you to the retailer’s site to complete your purchase.
After you’ve wrapped up your shopping, your bonus Shop Through Chase points will appear in your account by your next statement.
Which stores are on Shop Through Chase?
The Shop Through Chase store list contains over 200 retailers, mainly in these categories:
- Department stores, like Macy’s, Kohl’s and Sears.
- Apparel, like Nike, L.L. Bean and Banana Republic.
- Beauty and accessories, like Ulta, Ray-Ban and Sephora.
- Electronics, like Microsoft, Apple and Lenovo.
- Home improvement, like Home Dept and Lowe’s.
- Services and subscriptions, like Verizon, AT&T Wireless and BlueApron.
- Business expenses, like Jet.com, FedEx and Staples.
Practical-minded shoppers trying to earn bonus rewards on everyday essentials might have a harder time. Apparel and similar online shopping deals generally outnumber these offers, but every now and then you’ll see bonus point offers from retailers along the lines of Walmart and Restaurant.com.
Shop Through Chase vs. Chase Offers
If you’re looking to take advantage of special offers that match your card’s bonus categories, you might have better luck with Chase Offers. This program works a bit like Shop Through Chase, but it’s available with all Chase credit cards.
Both programs’ available offers regularly rotate, but Chase Offers focuses on merchants in common bonus categories so you can “stack” your rewards. Instead of bonus point rates on virtual mall purchases, Chase Offers a limited-time cash back rate on each offer you activate for select physical and online merchants. For example, you could activate several 10-day offers at once to earn a 10 percent cash back statement credit on purchases at Starbucks, Circle K, Airbnb and more.
Additionally, Chase Offers don’t usually require you to shop through a specific link to earn the bonus. Once you activate the offer on your qualifying card, you just have to make the purchase as usual. That means you can use a combination of both Shop Through Chase and Chase Offers to maximize your shopping rewards across a wider range of spending categories.
Tips for earning the most from Shop Through Chase
When used effectively, Shop Through Chase can be a helping hand when building your points stockpile. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Check back regularly. Shop Through Chase promotions are always changing, so keep your eyes peeled for an opportunity worth pouncing on.
- Read the offer terms carefully. Although the bonus points earned from Shop Through Chase are unlimited, each merchant may apply restrictions to their bonus offers, such as how many points you can earn or what you can purchase.
- Look for an offer before a large purchase. If you have sizable purchases coming up that can be made online — like your holiday shopping — check Shop Through Chase first to rack up easy points.
- Stack other reward opportunities. It might take a bit more elbow grease, but lining up your bonus categories with Shop Through Chase (and maybe Chase Offers, if you’re lucky) can be a fruitful engine for extra rewards.
- Boost your rewards for travel. If you hold one of the Chase Sapphire credit cards or the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you can bump up the value of your points from Shop Through Chase.
Is it worth it to Shop Through Chase?
Because the only prerequisite is to own a card in the Ultimate Rewards program, Shop Through Chase is a worthwhile opportunity to sprinkle extra points on top of retail purchases you already planned to make. The rewards aren’t always on par with your credit card, but unlimited 1 to 10 points back on a large purchase can make a difference toward cash back or travel.