Welcome to our cash-back calculator, a tool specifically designed to illustrate the powerful potential of stacking cash-back opportunities.
By intelligently combining cash-back from credit cards, shopping portals, card-linked offers and more, you can significantly minimize the cost of your online purchases.
If you’re unsure about these options, fear not! Continue reading to find a comprehensive guide to our calculator, as well as insights into the cash-back opportunities available.
How to Use This Cash-Back Calculator
Follow these step-by-step instructions to start calculating your potential savings:
- Total Purchase Price ($): Enter the total cost of your intended purchase.
- Credit Card Cash Back (%): Input the percentage of cash-back you receive from your credit card. Most cards offer between 1% to 5% cash-back on purchases.
- Shopping Portal Cash Back (%): Enter the percentage of cash-back offered by the shopping portal you plan to use. For example, if you’re using Rakuten and they offer 5% cash-back, you would enter 5.
- Shopping Portal Bonuses ($): This is a flat rate bonus given by shopping portals when you sign up. For example, if Rakuten is offering a $30 sign-up bonus, you would enter 30.
- Other Cash Back Offer (%): Here, you can enter any additional cash-back offer in terms of percentage. For instance, if you’re using an Amex or Chase Offer that provides an additional 3% cash-back, you would enter 3.
- Other Cash Back Offer ($): This is a field to input any other flat-rate cash-back offer. For example, if you plan to use a receipt scanning app that offers a $5 bonus, you would enter 5.
As you fill out these fields, the tool will automatically calculate and display your total cash-back, both in dollars and as a percentage of your total purchase.
Expanding Your Cash-Back Opportunities
If you’ve arrived here just to calculate your credit-card cash back, you might be surprised to learn that there are many more opportunities to save.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these and how they work:
- Cash Back Shopping Portals. These are websites and apps that offer cash-back or rewards when you shop through their platform. They collaborate with a wide range of retailers and usually offer a percentage of your purchase back as cash or points.
- Shopping Portal Bonuses. In addition to regular cash-back, many shopping portals offer sign-up bonuses or special promotional offers. These can be a flat-rate cash-back or extra points that you earn on top of your purchases. An example here is Rakuten’s new user bonus, which is typically around $30.
- Card-Linked Apps. These are apps where you link your credit card and earn cash-back or rewards when you shop at participating stores. Most often, you have to activate the offer within the app. However, since it’s scanning for credit card transactions and not placing a cookie in your browser, these can often be stacked with shopping portal bonuses. An example of a card-linked app is Upside.
- Loyalty Programs. Many retailers, especially grocery stores and restaurants, offer their own loyalty programs. By signing up and shopping regularly, you can earn points that you can later redeem for discounts or free items.
- Credit Card Offers. Credit card companies like Chase and Amex often have special offers where you can earn additional cash-back or points for shopping at certain places. These offers change regularly, so it’s worth checking your credit card’s offers page frequently. Typically, these require activating.
- Receipt Scanning Apps. With these apps — Fetch and Ibotta being the most popular examples — you earn cash-back or rewards by scanning your receipts from purchases. Each app has its own set of participating stores and offer details.
The rules get complex for what can and cannot be stacked. But, as a general rule of thumb, you can’t stack rewards from the same category (e.g., two cash-back portals), but you often can stack rewards from different categories.
For example, you might combine your credit card cash-back, shopping portal cash-back and a Chase or Amex offer. This can significantly boost your total cash-back and help you maximize your savings.
Finding the Best Cash-Back Programs
With so many cash-back programs and opportunities out there, it’s crucial to choose the ones that best fit your shopping habits and provide the most benefits.
Here are some tips and resources to help you make the best decision:
- Get the right credit card. Consider cash-back credit cards. Cards like the Chase Freedom Flex and Discover it Cash Back offer rotating categories where you can earn up to 5% cash-back. For everyday purchases, aim to use a card that offers at least 2% cash-back. Many options are available that provide this flat rate on all purchases. Check out CardRatings for the current best available cash-back cards.
- Check out our rankings. We’ve evaluated numerous cash-back programs and apps. Our best cash-back apps guide ranks our favorites based on several factors, including ease of use, number of offers and cash-back rates.
- Use Cashback Monitor. This tool compares the cash-back rates on different shopping portals, making it easier to find the best deals. Check out our in-depth Cashback Monitor review for more details.
- Take advantage of sign-up bonuses. Many cash-back sites offer bonuses when you sign up and make your first purchase. Check out the current bonuses for popular programs like Upside promo, Swagbucks promo, GoCashBack promo, Rakuten promo, Ibotta promo and Shopkick promo.
- Use CardPointers. This paid app notifies you of cash-back offers and automatically activates them on your credit card. It can be a great tool for maximizing your savings.
Here’s a list of our favorite cash-back sites with their corresponding review scores. You can click on each to read our comprehensive reviews:
|Cash Back Site||Review Score|
|Capital One Shopping||4.8|
Real-Life Case Study: Maximizing Cash-Back on Hotel Bookings
Let’s take a real-life example of how to stack cash-back offers to maximize your savings.
Assume you’re booking a $200 hotel room through Expedia using an Amex Green Card, which offers 3% cash-back on travel.
Here’s how you can combine different cash-back opportunities:
- Credit Card Cash-Back. Using your Amex Green Card, you earn 3% cash back on your booking. That’s $6 back on a $200 spend.
- Shopping Portal Cash-Back. Next, let’s assume you go through Rakuten (which offers fluctuating cash-back rates for Expedia, but when I checked it today, it was 6%). That’s another $12 back on your $200 spend.
- First-Time Bonus. If it’s your first time using Rakuten, you can also earn a sign-up bonus. At present, Rakuten offers a $30 bonus, so let’s add that to your savings.
- Card-Linked Offer. Amex has an ongoing offer for a one-time $20 statement credit when you spend a minimum of $100 on a prepaid hotel booking with your enrolled Amex card.
So, for your $200 hotel room, here’s how much you could get back:
- $6 from your credit card cash-back
- $12 from Rakuten
- $30 from Rakuten’s sign-up bonus
- $20 from Amex’s hotel offer
In total, that’s $68 back on a $200 spend, or a 34% return.
Every percentage point of cash-back you can earn truly counts.
As we’ve outlined in this guide, the combination of credit card rewards, shopping portal bonuses, card-linked offers and more can make a significant difference. Our cash-back calculator is a tool designed to help you visualize these savings and encourage you to strategize your cash-back opportunities.
With a multitude of cash-back programs available, the key is to find both a credit card and the right offers that work for you. For more insights, be sure to check out rankings of the best cash-back sites and apps.