The Power of Shopping Portals

Pure MS vs Resale

I’ve written about shopping portals a lot, but, as I wrote the Beginners Guide series, I realized I haven’t explicitly written about how much of a game changer Shopping Portals can be.

Shopping Portals

In my day job, I use a lot of terms not terribly common to the miles and points game. Perhaps the most appropriate is: Key discriminator. This isn’t to exclude. Rather, its to show what the real value of shopping portals:



When I talk about shopping portals as a key discriminator, I’m talking about the thing that makes a deal go from–before points–a loss to breakeven, or breakeven to profitable. Of course, I’m looking at the latter situation, but I realize that there are points where folks are happy to break even before points. After all, I don’t know about you, but, I started reselling for the purpose of generating points. So, let me give you an example: A few weeks ago, Ebates had an anniversary special, with 16% cash back on varying stores. Well, on Wednesday 13 May, they had 16% cashback on Staples. I bought a ton. Here’s one product that would have made no sense buying without the 16% shopping portal:

Surface 3-Staples


Now here’s Amazon’s price:

Surface 3-Amazon

Same price, I know, blah, right? Except for the fact that the Surface 3 is a top seller on Amazon, and, after all, I really want to focus on the quickest inventory turnover that I can. So lets see what the revenue would be, selling a Surface 3 on Amazon:

Surface 3-FBA Calc

Now, let’s work out the math accounting for the 16% cashback from Ebates:

As you can see – Purchasing and selling a product at the same price, when paired with a great Shopping Portal bonus, can in fact be quite profitable. In this case, more than $50 of profit, plus more than 3,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. This is a case where a product that would’ve been a loss, not only becomes breakeven, it rockets past to be a profit (albeit, less than 5% profit, but still profitable!).

The tools of Shopping Portals

My number one go to website is Cashbackmonitor.


Cashback Monitor offers all the info you need for Cashback Portals, Miles and Points portals, Bank Points, and whatever swagbucks is. In fact, you can configure your Cashback Monitor to show you the values of each portal based on your value.

Other tools out there include:


You can see that they identify the rewards portals differently than Cashback Monitor:


Wrapping Up

Regardless of which aggregator you use, do use an aggregator so you know which cashback/miles/points portal will give you the greatest value. And remember: Shopping portals can make the difference between an uninspiring reselling opportunity and a profit maker!



10 thoughts on “The Power of Shopping Portals

  1. This is a great analysis. Thanks for posting and sharing your magic. One question, how do you deal with taxes? Are you supposed to pay taxes in the profit you make? Up until now I have only sold one item so I am not sure when you become a business or what are the parameters. Hopefully you can bring some light to this matter.

    • So, I do have an S-Corp, and I pay taxes on the profit as if it was income. I am not a tax expert though. I decided to incorporate when I reached Amazon’s threshold for the tax doc, which was, I think $22k, plus or minus.

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