Easy ways to boost cash back savings with your credit cards
Rake in more cash by using your card's online shopping portal
Ted Rossman has seven years of experience in the credit card and personal finance industries as a member of the award-winning communications department at CreditCards.com and its sister sites The Points Guy and Bankrate.
Clicking through a credit card issuer’s online shopping portal is the easiest, but often most overlooked way to earn extra cash back. Here are some of the most compelling deals available right now:
- Magazines.com (30 percent extra cash back from Barclays, Chase and Citi)
- Florists.com (20 percent, Barclays and Citi)
- Under Armour (15 percent, Discover)
- Restaurant.com (12 percent, Barclays, Chase and Citi)
- 1-800-PetMeds (8 percent, Barclays, Chase and Citi)
- eBags.com (7 percent, Barclays, Chase and Citi)
- Apple (5 percent, Discover)
- Banana Republic (5 percent, Barclays, Chase and Citi)
- Bed Bath & Beyond (5 percent, Discover)
- Walmart (5 percent, Discover)
All you have to do is visit these pages for Barclays, Chase, Citi and Discover, then be redirected to the retailers’ websites. From there, the shopping experience will be exactly the same as if you typed in the retailer’s website address directly. But by clicking through the credit card issuer’s portal and making a purchase with your respective credit card, you’ll earn bonus cash back. It’s really that simple. Cash back credit cards are all about maximizing spending you would have done anyway and it doesn’t get any easier than this.
Stack store discounts with card promotions
Even better, these extra cash back promotions are on top of any discounts offered by the retailers. So you can stack discounts like a store’s 30 percent off promotion with extra cash back from the card issuer’s portal.
Some card issuers offer percentage discounts of their own (for example, 25 percent off base rates plus a complimentary upgrade at Avis, courtesy of Discover). And there are fixed cash back rewards, too (such as $50 cash back on Verizon Wireless purchases via Citi). American Express no longer has a shopping portal, but they do present these types of fixed discounts through the Amex Offers program (such as $300 off a Casper mattress, $60 cash back at Marriott and a $10 Etsy coupon).
See related: 4 ways to stack your rewards at restaurants
Plenty of airlines and hotels also offer online shopping portals if you’d rather bank the bonus points to one of those loyalty programs. Other cash back portals not affiliated with credit cards include Swagbucks and Ebates. And there’s Upromise if you want to put your savings toward college.
How else to save in Q4 and beyond
- Discover’s rotating 5 percent cash back calendar will feature Amazon.com in October, November and December. If you’re a new Discover cardholder, the Cashback Match sign-up bonus will match this, resulting in a tremendous 10 percent savings on up to $1,500 in purchases.
- The Chase Freedom card’s 5 percent category hasn’t been announced yet for Q4, but the draft calendar says "holiday," and last year the Q4 bonus applied at Walmart and department stores. It’s a good bet this year’s offering will be similarly oriented around holiday shopping.
- The recently relaunched Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card gives a whopping 4 percent cash back on dining and entertainment spending. This is a unique promotion which includes things such as concerts, sporting events, movie tickets and tourist attractions. So you can use it to save money when you take the family to the zoo on a crisp fall afternoon or when you relive your college days at your alma mater’s homecoming football game.
- American Express offers a free ShopRunner membership to eligible cardholders. Benefits include free 2-day shipping at 140-plus online stores and free shipping on returns. Popular merchants such as Ann Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue and the NBA Store participate in this program. I’ve used it and it’s a great perk.
My favorite grocery store has been displaying Halloween candy for weeks now, so Santa’s sleigh can’t be too far behind. Happy shopping – but let’s not rush through fall, please! I’m looking forward to football season, apple picking and crisp nights.