From shopping portals to cash back: Your complete guide to maximizing Black Friday purchases

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, is quickly upon us. At TPG, you know we are all about teaching you how to maximize your savings and points-earning at all times, shopping included.

Here are some tips to make the most of your purchases this holiday season and beyond.

Use an online shopping portal


Before you make an online purchase, see if your desired store is available via an online shopping portal. You can use the portal to earn extra points, miles or cash back for purchases you would make anyway — talk about a win-win. Plus, you can decide which portal to use based on your preference for points, miles or cash back. Many loyalty programs, such as American Airlines, have their own exclusive portals, so you can earn with your favorite airline or credit card program.

Using a cash portal is very simple. For example, instead of going directly to the Macy’s site to make a purchase, search one of the shopping sites below first to see if Macy’s is a participating store (the answer is likely yes).

Since every portal has a different payout, you can use a shopping portal aggregator such as CashbackMonitor (illustrated above) or Evreward to search for the store you want and quickly compare the current bonuses since payouts change daily and vary between programs.

As a result, you might find one portal that pays 10% cash back while another offers 3 bonus miles per dollar spent. Let’s say you’re making a $50 purchase and have two portal options: a site offering 10% cash back ($5 extra back in your pocket) or an airline portal offering 3 miles per dollar will earn you an additional 150 miles. To determine the best value between these two offerings, use TPG’s monthly valuation guide to see what your bonus miles are worth.

Note that many of these programs offer Chrome extensions notifying you when you visit a website eligible for extra rewards. They will help you instantly activate the bonus — whether it’s points, miles or cash back — without clicking through the portal’s website.

Currently, new users to Rakuten can get a $40 bonus after spending $40 within 90 days of signing up, which could be better than any bonus miles or cash back you’d earn with a different site.

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Earn hotel points and airline miles through their portals

If you want to earn points or miles for a future trip with a specific airline or hotel, there are several loyalty programs with their own shopping portals.

You must first register on your desired portal and link it to your loyalty account. Once you log in to your account, you can search for the store where you want to shop; then, you’ll be directed to the store’s website and can shop as usual. Just note that if you’re not logged in to the shopping portal or if you don’t click through to the portal’s store link from there, you won’t earn any bonus points or miles.

Here’s a list of airline, hotel and rail loyalty program portals through which you can earn points and miles.

Earn credit card points

Similar to the aforementioned airline, hotel and train programs, there are some banks that have shopping portals where you can earn extra points on your purchase.

These will earn you points within the respective program, similar to those accrued from regular credit card spending. From there, you can redeem your points as you’d like, such as for cash back, through the program’s travel site or by transferring to a partner program.

Earn cash back

If you’d prefer cash in your pocket that can, in theory, reduce the purchase price of a specific item, you might favor a cash-back shopping portal.

Each portal will offer a different amount of cash back, so compare the sites. You’ll also find that some portals will pay you back quarterly, while others allow you to request your cash back more often.

Here are some of the most popular shopping portals to earn cash back on your online purchase:

Use Amex Offers

If you are an American Express credit cardholder, you can take advantage of targeted Amex Offers, including those to cobranded cards, such as the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, and cards that earn Membership Rewards points, such as the American Express® Gold Card.

Log in to your Amex account online to see which specific offers you are eligible for since they vary from card to card, and be sure to add the offer to your card if you see any you like because they can disappear. Some are only available for a limited time.

Currently, the below Amex Offers were available at the time of publication on The Platinum Card® from American Express:

  • Lululemon: Spend more than $100, get $20 back.
  • Nike: Get five Membership Rewards® Points (up to 3,000) per eligible dollar spent.
  • Hertz: Spend more than $350, get $90 back.
  • Turo: Spend more than $150, get $30 back.
  • Hilton: Spend more than $750, get $150 back.

The terms of each offer vary, so be sure to double-check the details of each promotion; some require the minimum spending to be a single purchase, while others are for cumulative spending. Some offers are for purchases made online or in-store, so know which purchases will trigger the statement credit.

Plus, you can combine these Amex Offers with any other coupon or a bonus from an online shopping portal, allowing you to double or even triple dip your savings.

Try Chase Offers

Similar to Amex, Chase also offers statement-credit opportunities when you use your registered credit card to make a purchase. Log in to your Chase account online or on the app to see which offers you are eligible for. Some accounts will show more offers than others, and some might not display any offers at all.

Below are some current travel and shopping offers on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card at the time of publication:

Check Citi Merchant Offers

Citi Merchant Offers work similarly to Chase Offers in that you can add these offers to your eligible credit card and get cash back when you make an eligible purchase at the participating merchant with your Citi card. All offers are targeted, and some accounts may show more than others.

At the time of publication, there were various travel, dining/entertainment, shopping and health/wellness offers available on the Citi Premier® Card (see rates and fees), including:

Know which credit card gets you the most points

When you’re spending a lot of money, it’s important to choose the credit card that will earn you the most rewards based on what you’re buying.

Below are some bonus-earning opportunities you can reap by spending strategically with the right card at certain merchants:

Best cards for Amazon

  • Discover it® Cash Back: Enroll to earn 5% cash back (on up to $1,500 in cumulative spending on purchases for the quarter, then 1%) at and Target through Dec. 31.
  • Prime Visa: Earn 5% cash back on Amazon purchases. Plus, earn 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, local transit and commuting (including rideshare), and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Best card for Target

Best card for Walmart

  • Chase Freedom Flex: 5% cash back (on up to $1,500 in spending for the quarter). PayPal, wholesale clubs and select charities must activate the offer by Dec. 14 for purchases through Dec. 31).

Best cards for wholesale clubs (Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s Club)

Best cards for department stores

Best cards for office supply stores

Even if you aren’t gifting someone a new office chair, remember that many office supply stores sell third-party gift cards — like Amazon, Delta or Disney — that you might want to give someone on your holiday shopping list.

The information for the Discover it Cash Back, Target RedCard and the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

With Black Friday nearly upon us, now is the time to put a shopping plan into action. Check the online shopping portals; add the Amex and Chase offers to your credit cards; use the cards that offer the most points, miles or cash back for your purchases; and note the cards with price and purchase protections.

Happy shopping!

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