Most of us are happy to save a few bucks whenever we shop, but for others, bargain hunting is a sport requiring great skill and constant vigilance. Online shopping online has opened up a new world for the obsessive deal hunter and the ordinary shopper alike. There's a huge assortment of Web sites devoted to helping you find the lowest prices and best offers from online retailers. In this guide you'll find our favorites.
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You've probably been earning cash back, airline miles, or other rewards through your credit cards for years. Many Web sites offer similar rewards programs as long as you visit them on your way to making purchases. We've compiled some of the best (and most lucrative) here.
- Shopping "portals" offer rebates or rewards whenever you shop with their partner retailers. In general, you must first become a member of the shopping portal Web site (membership is usually free), and click through its link to get to the store at which you want to shop. As a result, you'll earn a reward for your purchase. Sometimes the reward is a percentage of your purchase amount, and other times it's points that can be redeemed for merchandise or services.
- Many of the "partner retailers" are the same for each shopping portal, so choose which portal to use based on what type of rewards you want. You'll accumulate more rebates and rewards at a retailer if you choose just one or two portals to use regularly.
For cash, gift cards, or merchandise ...
is one of the oldest and largest shopping portals online. You earn a percentage of your purchase (usually about 3-6 percent) as a cash rebate, which can be mailed to you as a paper check or sent to a PayPal account. You must earn at least $10 before your rebate is sent to you.
allows you to invest your rebates (usually 5 percent or so of your purchase amount) in any investment account of your choice, including a money-market account from your local bank.
offers a point reward system. You can redeem the points for actual merchandise from partner retailers as well as for restaurant gift certificates, fashion accessories, and perfume. You can also earn points by shopping at certain supermarket chains.
For travel rewards ...
loyalty program rewards shoppers with bonus points redeemable for hotel rooms, car rentals, and other travel related services.
Continental Airline ShopOnePass
has a limited number of partner stores. However, they are mostly major retailers, and the airline offers as many as 20 miles per dollar you spend.
American Airlines AAdvantage eShopping includes a "bonus offer" section. Shop through the "bonus" retailers and you'll double the number of miles you earn.
allows frequent travelers to track all of their miles and points in one place. The site also allows you to trade your miles for gift certificates, share miles with friends or family, swap miles between point programs, and more.
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