The best portal finder. A new king is crowned.

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In order to get the most points or cash back when shopping online, it’s a good idea not just to go through a shopping portal, but to go through the one that currently offers the best rebate for the store where you want to shop.  In order to find the best portal, you need a “portal finder”.  A portal finder is a web site that shows the current portal payouts for whichever merchant you’re interested in.

I’ve examined portal finders before, and in each case I found that the site cashbackholic.com was the best.  For details, please see:

Since writing those posts, I’ve discovered that Cashbackholics is not always accurate with respect to airline mile portals, especially when there have been recent changes to the earning rates.  As a result, I’ve been using ev’reward to look up the best point-earning portals and I’ve continued to use cashbackholics for finding the best cash back portals.  Is that a good strategy?  I decided that my theory was worth testing…

A new test

In the past, I’ve looked for portal finders that did the best job of pointing out the best earning option for any given merchant.  This time, I decided to look at accuracy.  More than anything else, I want the portal finder that is most often correct.  In order to create a tough challenge, I found a number of merchants that had changed their payouts on some portals overnight.  This way, if a portal finder isn’t updated often, it would perform poorly in this test.  And, I think that is fair.  Often merchants run very short term promotions within a portal and so it would be a shame to miss out just because the portal finder you used wasn’t updated.

I selected three portal finders to compare:

  • Ev’Reward
  • CashBackHolics
  • CashBackMonitor

And, I selected 10 merchants with at least one overnight portal payout rate change:

  1. 1&1 Internet Web Hosting
  2. BestBuy.com
  3. Birthday in a Box
  4. Cabelas.com
  5. Elizabeth Arden
  6. Kyoku
  7. Lucky Brand Jeans
  8. No more rack
  9. Puritan’s pride
  10. Spanx

And, I looked at the payout rates for each of the above merchants within each of these portals:

I then painstakingly compared the rates shown within each of the 3 portal finders to the actual rates displayed within each portal. 

Results

Here is how well each portal finder performed in my test:

  • Ev’Reward:
    • Cash back: 58% correct
    • Points: 70% correct
    • Overall: 63% correct
  • CashBackHolics:
    • Cash back: 76% correct
    • Points: 63% correct
    • Overall: 70% correct
  • CashBack Monitor:
    • Cash back: 88% correct
    • Points: 78% correct
    • Overall: 83% correct

Analysis

Wow!  CashBack Monitor blew away the competition with 83% correct overall.  This was 13 percentage points better than CashBackHolics and 20 percentage points better than Ev’Reward!  CashBackMonitor did best with cash back portals (88% correct), but still performed extremely well (and better than the competition) with points-earning portals. 

CashBackHolics, as expected, did better with cash back portals than with points-earning portals.  As expected, it was not as good as Ev’Reward for points-earning portals (63% vs. 70%). 

Ev’Reward performed poorly partly because they don’t list FatWallet or TopCashBack in their results.  If we look at just the cash back portal results without those two portals, Ev’Reward actually did really well: 87% accuracy.  So, they seem to be pretty good at reporting cash back rates for the portals they list.  Still, since CashBack Monitor performed 8 percentage points better with point earning portals, I don’t see any reason to continue to look to Ev’Reward.

Conclusion

This conclusion is simple.  From now on, I’ll use CashBackMonitor for finding the best portals!  And, in case you’re wondering, the answer is no: I do not have a relationship of any kind with CashBackMonitor other than as a newly minted fan of their site.

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[…] is an experiment done by FrequentMiler which found that CashbackMonitor was the most accurate of these three at 83% correct. Keep in mind that 83% is still not all that accurate so make sure to […]

Jan W

This confirms my use of cashbackmonitor. I often find TopCashBack has the highest payout (of the ones I use) so that has to be included. But FatWallet closed down last year. It was my “gateway drug” into this whole world and was a great site while it lasted. RIP FW.

[…] since I declared that CashBackMonitor was the king of portal finders, I’ve relied on their website to find the portal offering the best rewards for whichever […]

[…] to try to find the best Portal Finder.  In the end, CashBackMonitor proved to be the best (See: The best portal finder. A new king is crowned).  Since then, I’ve used that site almost exclusively and have never looked […]

[…] try to find the best Portal Finder.  In the end, CashBackMonitor proved to be the best (See: The best portal finder. A new king is crowned).  Since then, I’ve used that site almost exclusively and have never looked […]

[…] Even when you’re not working on a new card promotion you can be earning lots of miles on your cards if you pay attention to the category and store bonuses. This can be a little tricky to keep track of, for instance I know my Chase Ink card gives me 5x points per dollar on office supplies. And if you want to make a purchase at a large store (like Macys) you can look at the shopping portals and you might find that American Air is offering 10x points per dollar as long as you shop online by clicking through their portal (you don’t have to use their credit card). There are some good websites that list all the promotions available so you can usually just search for these in one place. I recommend reading Frequent Miler’s summary of the best portal finders. […]

[…] shop online, I generally recommend searching for that merchant on an online portal finder, such as CashBackMonitor, to find the portal that offers the best rewards for that […]

[…] There are many portal comparison sites to choose from and Frequent Miler does a good job of running through the pros and cons of each. […]

[…] Shopping portals are websites that pay you rewards when you start your online shopping at their site.  For example, if you want to shop at sears.com, you can earn a rebate in the form of cash back, miles, or points by starting in a portal, finding a link to Sears.com within the portal, clicking through, and then making an eligible purchase.  With cash back portals, you’ll see rebate offers listed as percentages or fixed amounts.  For example, Sears.com might offer 3% cash back.  Another merchant might offer a fixed amount, such as $45 for a new cell phone activation.  To find the best portal offer for a given merchant, I recommend using a tool called CashBackMonitor (to see why it’s a favorite, please read “The best portal finder. A new king is crowned”). […]

[…] for online shopping, you’re wrong. Here’s a good introduction to it. In my opinion, and in many others, cashbackmonitor is the best shopping portal aggregator, to find the best deals in your regular […]

[…] are the websites that compare the best deals, but according The Frequent Miler’s research found here, Cash Back Monitor seems to be the most accurate of all the comparison […]

[…] that CashBackMonitor was significantly better than others for the merchants I selected (see “The best portal finder. A new king is crowned.”).  And, now, thanks to the release of two new features, CashBackMonitor is even […]

[…] it does become second nature after a while. I used to use EvReward all the time, but after reading this post by one of my favorite Miles & Points bloggers (The Frequent Miler, definitely check him out) I […]

[…] #8 Cashback Holics is apparently the best points per dollar portal comparison site according to Frequent Miler […]

[…] I reported recently (see “The best portal finder. A new king is crowned.“), the site CashBackMonitor is an excellent resource to use to find the best current portal […]

FrequentMiler

Larry: CashBackMonitor does have Shop Discover.

[…] And while we’re talking about FM, he scientifically proved after exhaustive research that CashBackMonitor is the best rebate portal finder. […]

[…] Miler did more experiments. He says that Cashback Monitor is the best portal finder. This is good enough for me, out goes evreward and in comes Cashback Monitor! You know, trust goes […]

Ken

Now all they have to do is make Cashback Monitor look nice and it’ll be super popular. As it is now it looks like it’s in Beta testing.

Larry

I noticed CBM does not have the Shop Discover portal, Amtrak, or Hawaiian Airlines. Boo.

Jorge

I want a website that I can use to enter a specific product and it can tell me the best cashback portal to use.

Example: I want to buy a pair of Bose QC15 headphones. I enter “Bose QC15 headphones” and it shows the lowest price and the best portals to use.

Does it exists? if it doesn’t , this would be a great idea for a web developer.

pointsmachine

I know the author of the CashBack Monitor. He told his web would update every day except some cb web needing a login.

Anita

Thanks for the analysis. For me, the main lesson is that I can’t completely rely on any one portal finder. 83% correct is not that impressive!

pier11

Thanks for analysis. I liked how tests were designed.

Ryan H

@Eli I believe he was referring to his previous tests on comparing portals

Fishing4Deals

I wonder why Amtrak rewards points are not included. I find they often have the highest payout rates.

Eli Sherer

Am I missing something, or is it just a fare/fair mistake 🙂

Near the beginning you say, “in each case I found that the site cashbackholic.com was the best”.

At the end, after the analysis, you say, “From now on, I’ll use CashBackMonitor for finding the best portals!”

Donnie Law

Cashback monitor is an ugly site but seems well updated and that’s all that matters.

Corky

That must have been really fun for you.

DaninSTL

None of the three show points for BA’s shopping portal. None are perfect but it seems evrewards is the easiest on the eyes. Cashbackaholic seems easier to find cashback deals but needs to list or default to alphabetic sorting.

Nice post. Thanks.

WeddingSpend

I’ve always been a fan of cashbackmonitor from the getgo. When I wrote my own post about receiving cash back on everything, I recommended using cashbackmonitor based on my own shopping experiences and observing their accuracy though it’s certainly great to see that confirmed here via actual numbers.