The best portal finder

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MARCH 27 2012 UPDATE: SINCE THIS WAS FIRST PUBLISHED (MARCH 26), I ADDED A NUMBER OF SITES TO THE TEST: RewardsDB, CashReporter, Webflyer’s Mileage Mall, and CashBackMonitor

When shopping online, it’s always a good idea to start with a shopping portal that gives you extra points, miles, or cash back when clicking through to merchants you would shop at anyway.  Examples of common portals include the Ultimate Rewards Mall, Aadvantage eShopping, EBates, Mr Rebate, BeFrugal, Big Crumbs, ShopAtHome, TopCashBack, etc.

The problem is that depending on where you want to shop, your favorite portal may not have the best (or any) rebate available.  That’s why I use websites designed to help find the best shopping portal.  I’ll call these “shopping portal finders.”

I reviewed three a bunch of portal finders by searching for several merchants in each one.  The portal finder that correctly found the best deal was the winner of each round.  The portal finders I reviewed were: Ev’reward.com, Nerdwallet Shopping, Cashback Holics, RewardsDB, CashReporter, Webflyer’s Mileage Mall, and CashBackMonitor

Let’s see how they did:

Round 1 Search: Sears

  • Ev’reward.com reported 10 points per dollar from Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Mall.  Unfortunately (on many levels), this is out of date and wrong.
  • Nerdwallet Shopping reported 6X via Hilton’s mall, 6X via Aadvantage eShopping, and 5% back via Discover.  Nerdwallet also reported 4X at Chase, which is correct if you login with a Chase Sapphire account.
  • Cashback Holics reported 8% back via Unbeatable.com.  This is a bit deceiving because if you click through you see that 8% only applies to jewelry.  The rest of the rates are much lower.  Cashback Holics also reported 7% back via TopCashBack and 5X via Chase (which is true if you log in with either a Freedom or Ink card).
  • RewardsDB reported 3% back from Mr Rebates and 4X via Aadvantage eShopping (wrong!).
  • CashReporter reported 8% back via Unbeatable.com which is a bit deceiving (see above), and 5% back via Discover.  Unlike Nerdwallet, Chase is not included in the results.
  • WebFlyer correctly reported 6X via Hilton’s mall and 6X via Aadvantage eShopping but didn’t list Discover’s 5% back (because WebFlyer doesn’t track cash back sites).
  • CashBackMonitor reported 6% back via ShopAtHome.

Round 1 analysis: Nerdwallet and WebFlyer correctly found the best points option: 6X via AA.  Nerdwallet gets the nod over WebFlyer for also finding Chase 5X.  Cashback Holics correctly found the best cash option: 7% back via TopCashBack.

Round 1 winner Tie: Nerdwallet + Cashback Holics

Round 2 Search: Staples

  • Ev’reward.com reported 5% back via Discover and 4X via Chase.  They got it right on this one.
  • Nerdwallet reported 5% back via Discover, 4X via Bank of America, but only 2X via Chase (which is wrong).
  • Cashback Holics reported 5% back via Discover and 4X via Chase.
  • RewardsDB incorrectly lists 6.3% cash back from BigCrumbs.
  • CashReporter reported 5% back via Discover, but didn’t list Chase.
  • WebFlyer reported 3X at Delta, Priority Club, and Amex, but didn’t list Chase.
  • CashBackMonitor reported “up to 10% back” at ShopAtHome.  This is correct, but most categories are 4% via ShopAtHome.

Ev’reward and Cashback Holics tied on this one with the same answers.  CashBackMonitor also gets a nod for finding ShopAtHome.

Round 2 winner: Tie: Ev’reward, Cashback Holics, and CashBackMonitor

Round 3 Search: Walmart

  • Ev’reward.com reported 5% back via Discover and 3X via Chase. Sorry, but Chase is currently at 1X.
  • Nerdwallet reported 5% back via Discover, 3X via Amex, and correctly listed 1X via Chase.
  • Cashback Holics reported 5% back via Discover, 4% back via ShopAtHome and Unbeatable, and correctly listed 1X via Chase.
  • RewardsDB incorrectly lists 3.6% back from BigCrumbs.
  • CashReporter listed 5% back via Discover, and 4% back via Unbeatable, but did not list Chase.
  • WebFlyer listed 3X via Amex.
  • CashBackMonitor reported “up to 3%” back at a couple of portals, but didn’t list ShopAtHome.

Ev’reward, Nerdwallet, Cashback Holics, and CashReporter all found Discover 5% back.  However, I liked that Cashback Holics found ShopAtHome for 4%, which is a pretty good option for people without Discover cards.

Round 3 winner: Cashback Holics

Round 4 Search: PlasticJungle

  • Ev’reward.com reported 1% back from Ebates and Mr Rebates.
  • Nerdwallet struck out completely and failed to list any portals.
  • Cashback Holics really shined here by finding 4% back at TopCashBack, and 2% back at both BargainMatch and ShopAtHome. 
  • RewardsDB struck out and failed to list any portals.
  • CashReporter listed 1% back at a few portals.
  • WebFlyer listed 1 point via MyPoints.
  • CashBackMonitor reported “up to 3%” back at MyDealsAndCoupons (which is correct), but they failed to find TopCashBack.

This one wasn’t even close.

Round 4 winner: Cashback Holics

Final Tally

Out of four rounds, Cashback Holics received 4 wins or ties, whereas Ev’reward, CashBackMonitor, and Nerdwallet each only earned one win.  So, Cashback Holics wins overall! 

The only problem I see with Cashback Holics is that the site doesn’t report on mile and point earning portals.  I believe that the only reason they report Chase is that some of Chase’s cards (such as the Freedom card) are advertised as cash back cards.  To me, Cashback Holics’ limitations aren’t too bad.  The fact that Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall rates are listed accurately is a huge plus, and it’s rare for other points/miles malls to have better rates than Chase. 

Sorry Ev’reward, but Cashback Holics has become my new go-to site.  Don’t worry, though.  I’ll still visit you and NerdWallet occasionally, just in case.

Other Contenders?

Do you know of any other portal finders worth looking at?  Let me know and I’ll run another challenge.


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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Pingbacks

  1. […] The Frequent Miler has been working on a study to determine what the best website is for finding the shopping portal that will give you the highest rewards for an online purchase. I have mentioned using evreward in the past, but it looks like that is not the best option. He even went back and updated the post after testing some of the sites that people left in the comments. Details HERE. […]

Comments

  1. Hey, thanks for the post! It clearly looks like NerdWallet has some catching up to do…

    We’ll touch base again soon and see if we can’t change your mind 😉

  2. Thank you. This is very helpful. I had used evreward pretty exclusively, but they seem to be less and less accurate all the time.

  3. Interesting analysis – can’t believe I missed this month’s ago! I’ve been using EVReward and comparing to TopCashBack manually, which works for me though I’d love a one-stop shop. I like your idea for CashBack Holics, but then I’d still have to compare against AA separately (my currency of choice). Maybe someday I’ll find the all-in-one!

  4. My favorite one to use for cashback comparison is http://www.mycashbackcomparison.com/ I’ve got their bookmarklet installed, so whenever I’m shopping online, I just click on the bookmarklet and it takes me right to the page for that store. I also like that they show the discount giftcards available for stores right there on the same page. So when I combine the discount giftcard with the cashback rebate, I save even more!

  5. Now you need to do a series on how to actually get the points posted your account from Cartera. I think my success rate is about 1/3. I am soooooo frustrated with the portal shopping process. The only thing that keeps me coming back is the lure of free points, because the tracking and customer service from the shopping portals is simply atrocious!

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