Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
Many people leave hundreds of dollars in savings on the table because they don’t utilize shopping portals.Then there are people who utilize shopping portals but don’t choose the best portal and lose out on lots of points.
Luckily, there is Cash Back Monitor which you can use to make comparisons between shopping portals so that you maximize your bonus points.
In this article, I’ll show you how to use Cash Back Monitor to maximize your savings (quickly and efficiently)!
What is Cash Back Monitor?
It also has features such as a browser bookmark that allow you to view the cash back rates on specific websites that you’re visiting.
It’s a fantastic way to ensure that you’re maximizing your point earnings and saving money when shopping. It’s one of the few websites that I find myself using all of the time, and I usually recommend it to anybody that I know that is serious about saving money.
How does Cash Back Monitor work?
The cash back experience starts with you visiting the homepage.
I usually go straight for the search tool to find the store I’m looking for. The search feature auto-completes (although you can disable this feature if you’d like).
You’ll also see tabs where you browse for different types of shopping portals, such as:
- Cash back
- Travel Miles/Points
- Credit Card Points
- Other Reward Points
If you click on one of the tabs, you’ll see a breakdown of many stores with the different earning rates. You can then search for different stores by letter alphabetically or simply filter the stores by name.
Notice that the gray background marks the store’s best rate for the reward type and the green background marks the portal offers best rate for the store.
So you know when you see something like the 5 miles/per dollar spent a 1-800-Contacts through the American Airlines shopping portal (highlighted in green) that’s probably a good deal to check out.
Once you click on a store, you’ll be able to see all of the various cash back rates offered from the different portals.
In this case, I clicked on WalMart to see the rates.
A green bar indicates you’ll be earning a percentage or per dollar reward while a golden bar indicates fixed amount reward. If you click on the name of the shopping portal, you’ll be taken directly to the shopping portal. (But keep in mind you still need to log-in to that shopping portal).
Notice that at the top of the screen shot below you can see the last time that the rates were updated and that there are links you can click on to to view some interesting data.
The best rate history
The best rate history will show you the previous best rates for earning cash back as well as earning for points.
Here are the best rates for WalMart.
What’s cool about this feature is you can hover over the graph to see which portal was offering the best rate over time. Sometimes, you’ll see that one particular portal dominates for certain stores and you’ll look to them in the future.
Interestingly, the graph below shows that the Chase Shopping Portal had its best rate at WalMart (4 pts/per dollar) with the Chase Freedom versus the Sapphire Preferred (2 pts/per dollar).
Assign Cash Value to Miles / Points
You can also assign a cash value to your miles and points.
Cash values for reward currencies can get very iffy sometimes but if you have a valuation in mind that you usually stick to this could be a fantastic option.
If you’re serious about maximizing your earnings by going with the currency that will reward you the most then this is a great way to efficiently compare the value of your point earnings to your cash back earnings.
View converted rate comparison
You can then view the converted rate comparison so that you can view the cash back rates versus the converted rate of your miles and points.
In the example below, I changed the value of Hilton Honors points to .5 cent per point so it shows me earning 1.5% back based on 3 points per dollar spent.
What shopping portals are on Cash Back Monitor?
They currently monitor a whopping 43 shopping portals. And each one of those shopping portals can have anywhere from 47 to 4,000 stores so you’re talking about some ultra-efficient scanning here.
Travel Miles/Points Portals
Credit Card Points Portals
|36||Chase UR (Freedom)|
|37||Chase UR (Ink)|
|38||Chase UR (Sapphire)|
|39||Wells Fargo Rewards|
Other Reward Points Portals
|42||Shop My Way|
What kind of deals can you get?
Here’s a chart breakdown of a snapshot of the “most popular stores” as of August 2018. You’ll see the best opportunities for each category broken down in the cart and if you click on those rates you’ll be taken to the store’s page to view all of the shopping portal rates.
You can always check to see which stores are the most popular here.
When are the rates updated?
The rates are updated daily but you always need to verify what the current earn rates are for the different portals.
You can always check at the top of the screen to see when the last time Cash Back Monitor was updated.
My Monitor is your personalized Cash Back Monitor experience.
You log in via Twitter, Facebook, or Google and then you can set up your Monitor for up to eight shopping portals. You can also pick up to 20 stores to monitor.
Cash Back Monitor Bookmarklet
The Cash Back Monitor Bookmarklet allows you to quickly jump to the Cash Back Monitor page from whatever store you are visiting.
To install it for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari on desktop, you’ll simple drag and drop a link found on this page to the browser’s bookmark toolbar.
When visiting a store’s website, clicking on the bookmarklet within your browser will take you to the Cash Back Monitor page with reward information about the store. (When there is only one store that matches the URL, the Cashback Monitor Store Page is displayed immediately.)
Here’s what I saw when I visited Amazon.com and then clicked on the Cash Back Monitor Bookmarklet. As you can see, it took me directly to Cash Back Monitor and allowed me view the different cash back rates going on at the time.
Such an easy and quick way to keep up with the best cash back rates.
How do shopping portals work?
Shopping portals are pretty easy to use.
First you need to log in to your account (or create an account) and then find the store you want to shop at. Each store will have a specific number of miles or % of cash back earned per dollar spent.
You’ll then click through to your store and check out your products like you would normally do but you’ll earn points on your purchases.
So shopping portals allow you to earn extra miles on purchases you’d already be making.
Preparing to use the portal
Before you ever even access the shopping portal, there are a few things you should consider doing to decrease the odds of your purchase not tracking properly.
Clear your shopping cart
If you’ve already been browsing online with the merchant and dropping items into your shopping cart here and there, you might want to remove those items first. (After you click through the portal and get back on the merchant’s website later on, you can add those items back.) This is not necessary all the time but many people choose to do it out of precaution.
Turn ad blockers off
Make sure your ad blocker is off before you access the Chase shopping portal. This could prevent necessary pop-ups from showing or interfere with your tracking.
Also, you might want to disable your browser toolbars so that they don’t interfere with your tracking.
Cash Back Monitor is one of the best ways to monitor the cash back rates with the various portals. It’s very quick and easy to keep tabs on all of the top shopping portals and I highly recommend the site to anyone looking to save some serious cash.
UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.