Are you using the best rewards program?

Becky at CompareRewards has compiled an excellent comparison review of shopping rewards programs. These would be web sites like EBates and FatWallet that give you cash back on purchases you make through them.

The review covers a total of 17 programs and compares what they pay at 155 merchants. Here is a quick run down of the finalists. For full details go directly to the review and the comparison table.

“Merchant” column shows the total number of merchants covered by the program, number of merchants that the program gives the best reward at (compared to its peers), and number of merchants that the program gives the worst rewards at. You certainly want the first and the second number be more while the last number — less.

Note, these numbers include only the 155 covered merchants. Programs may offer rewards at other merchants that were not reviewed.

Program Merchants Comments
BondRewards 109/56/0 Rewards offered: U.S. Savings Bonds. Minimum to Redeem: 50 Bond Dollars (equivalent to $25)
EBates 138/27/2 Rewards payable by check or PayPal quarterly, with a $5 payout minimum. Promotion: $5 for joining and making your first purchase.
FatWallet 123/28/3 Rewards go to your PayPal account with no minimum after a waiting period of 3 to 4 months to allow for returns and adjustments. Promotion: $5 bonus for first-time shoppers.
JellyFish 60/16/0 Rewards payable by check or by PayPal, any time your account reaches $10, after a 3 to 4 month pending period.
BabyMint 105/16/1 Rewards Offered: check or deposit into a college savings account
QuickRewards 140/8/5 Cash out for shopping within days with no minimum amount. Payable via Paypal or Gift Certificates.
GreenPoints 49/5/10 Rewards redeemable for gift cards or merchandise. Minimum redeemable - $25

Here is another spin on the data. These are the stores that I personally use most often. The table lists the programs that give the highest rewards for shopping with these merchants.

Merchant Programs Offering Highest Rewards
Best Buy 2.6% - GreenPoints 2.2% - JellyFish
Staples 4.0% - FatWallet 3.0% - Ebates 2.6% - BondRewards
CompUSA 2.6% - BondRewards 2.6% - GreenPoints 2.6% - BondRewards 2.2% - JellyFish
Dell (Home) 3.0% - FatWallet 2.6% - GreenPoints 4.0% - QuizPoints 3.7% - FellyFish 3.0% - FatWallet
Circuit City 2.6% - BondRewards 2.6% - GreenPoints
Home Depot 3.0% - EBates 3.0% - BabyMint 2.6% - BondRewards
Office Depot 6.0% - BondRewards 2.6% - GreenPoints
Office Max 4.0% - Ebates 3.4% - BondRewards
Snapfish 10% - Ebates 10% - FatWallet 10% - BabyMint
Shutterfly 12% - BabyMint 8.0% - EBates
Toys’R’Us 4.0% - BabyMint 3.1% - QuickRebates 3.0% - EBates
Starbucks 8.5% - BondRewards 8.0% - EBates 7.5% - JellyFish
Payless Shoes 8.0% - FatWallet 6.0% - EBates

I couldn’t find Amazon and Outpost/Frys (the other two stores I use frequently) in the list of merchants. Either no one offers rebates or they were not included in the analysis.

Looking at the last table here is the list of programs that I should be choosing from (the numbers show how many first, second and third spots the program has taken):

  • BondRewards: 5-1-1
  • EBates: 3-4-1
  • FatWallet: 3-1-1
  • BabyMint: 2-1-1
  • JellyFish: 0-3-1

As for my personal preference - I am torn apart between EBates and FatWallet. I will try both and will use what is more convenient. For big price items I might end up using the best choice rewards-wise at the time of the purchase. As for BondRewards - it seems to offer good rewards but I don’t like the idea of getting bonds as opposite to cash.

See also:

6 Responses to “Are you using the best rewards program?”

  1. 1 SQ Nov 8th, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    I personally am a big fan of Little Grad ( It has the most stores of any reward program, the easisest sign up, and the best chance of getting family & friends involved.

  2. 2 Golbguru Nov 22nd, 2006 at 9:43 pm

    Yan, this is a nice post here. Thanks for linking it through your comment. I will mention it in one of my forthcoming posts. :)

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  3. 3 KFC Apr 26th, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    Is it possible to stack these reward sites? I mean can we use fatwallet and ebates at the same time, and get rewards from both sites when we make a single purchase, or are we only allowed to receive cashback from just one?


  4. 4 Yan Apr 27th, 2007 at 10:01 am

    No, you cannot stack them. In fact you should not try to open the same merchant via different rewards programs. Affiliate programs use browser cookies to store your account information so when you buy something the merchant knows what to report back to the program. I am not sure how merchants resolve cookie conflicts if you happen to have opened the same product page from different programs.

  5. 5 Betty-Sue Winters Oct 19th, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Hey Yan, how about It gives all the cashback (it doesn’t keep any – how many rebate sites can say that?). You get paid via PayPal and can get $5 for referring friends and family, multiple times. Apparently it has 1,000 stores, but I don’t think there’s an easy way to check that without a manual count.

  1. 1 eBates - Earn cash back for shopping online | Moolanomy Pingback on Sep 18th, 2008 at 3:28 pm

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