CashBackMonitor May Not Be Perfect

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CashBackMonitor chimed in in the comments and let me know that URM rates vary by card. They are working on implementing a way to show what rate each card is, so hopefully that will be happen soon. For now, you should double-check the URM portal before making purchases.

If you don’t know what CashBackMonitor is, it’s a website that tells you how much money, points, or miles portals pay out for different stores. It’s a great website that I use almost daily, so don’t get me wrong by the title of this post. However, since it keeps track of literally 10,000+ retail stores and 40 portals, there are bound to be mistakes made.

Today I was shopping on Staples for some items to resell, because they’re running a promotion where you can get $25 off a $150 purchase when you use Visa Checkout. Quick note: that offer expires on 9/20/14, it cannot be used on gift cards (I tried), and you can use any credit card with the service (Ink cards anyone?). Anyway, when I went to check CashBackMonitor to see what portal had the best rate, here’s what it looked like:

Staples Cashbackmonitor

As you can see, CashBackMonitor says the best portal is ShopDiscover at 5%. I didn’t want to use that portal, because I’ve heard mixed reviews about Discover tracking purchases made with other credit cards and of course I planned on using my Ink Bold. So, I decided to use the Ultimate Rewards Mall at 2 pt/$. I could’ve use Top Cashback for 3%, but I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.5 cents each, making the UR portal basically 3%. When I found Staples on the UR Mall, I noticed it was 4 pt/$ instead of 2 pt/$. That was great for me, but a little disappointing to find out that CashBackMonitor wasn’t perfect.

Ultimate Rewards Staples Points Per DollarBecause of this discovery, I checked a few other stores to see if it was only Staples. Here’s what I found:

  • JCPenney was at 4 pt/$ on CBM and 10 pt/$ on the URM.
  • Macy’s was at 3 pt/$ on CBM and 5 pt/$ on URM.
  • Sears was at 3 pt/$ on CBM and 5 pt/$ on URM.
  • Home Depot was at 2 pt/$ on CBM and 3 pt/$ on URM.

The moral of the story: It appears that CBM takes a while to update URM rates, so you should always double-check URM to see the real rates.


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