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Rewards Mall Showdown: ShopDiscover Dominates

by on October 11, 2010

If you shop online but don’t use rewards malls, you’re missing out on some awesome discounts. And if you have a credit card, you’re probably already eligible to start saving. We’re not talking chump change here—bonus malls can yield up to 20% cash back. To see what deals your rewards mall entitles you to, or to decide which mall is right for you, check out our discounts tool and peruse over 10,000 different offers.

Types of rewards malls

With no shortage of options, choosing the right rewards mall can be tricky. First understand that there are two main types: 1) Malls operated by popular points programs (i.e. Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall or Delta SkyMiles) and 2) malls run by sites that direct you to their partners (i.e. FatWallet.com or eBates.com). Generally, malls operated by big-name rewards programs pay you in points, while independent mall sites offer cash.

If you find yourself returning to the same stores time and time again, it doesn’t much matter which kind of mall you use—you’ll get your money’s worth either way. But if you’re more of a sporadic shopper and can’t guarantee consistent purchasing, you may benefit more from a straight cash back system.

ShopDiscover: the easy choice

On the surface, they all appear to offer worthwhile kickbacks. But if you look closely, you’ll find significant differences between malls. We chose 20 of the country’s largest retailers (Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, etc.—scroll to the bottom for a full list) and made note of the most rewarding mall for each store. For 16 of the 20 retailers (or 80%), ShopDiscover came out on top with untouchable return rates. At Best Buy, for example, you earn 10% cash back through ShopDiscover. The runner-up stood at a mere 3.6%.

Capital One Perk Central was the next best program, with the best rate at 3 stores and the second-best rate in 6. Following close behind was the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall with 2 first places and 7 second places. (These totals, by the way, don’t add up to 20 because they include ties.) FatWallet.com was the first independent mall site on our list, earning 2 first place awards and 6 second places.

Rewards Mall Partner Stores # of 1st Place Kickback Deals from our Top 20 Store List # of 2nd Place Kickback Deals from our Top 20 Store List
ShopDiscover 229 16 0
Capital One Perk Central 527 3 6
Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall 442 2 7
FatWallet.com 1023 2 6
Citi ThankYou Bonus Center 757 1 7
Citi Bonus Cash Center 605 1 7
American Express Bonus Points Mall 722 1 6
American Airlines AAdvantage Shopping 1057 0 7
Marriott ShopMyWay Mall 450 2 2
Wells Fargo Earn More Mall 752 1 3
Upromise.com 953 1 2
Bank of America WorldPoints Mall 1036 1 2
Choice Hotel Privileges Mall 1325 0 3
Delta SkyMiles Shopping 733 0 1
Hilton HHonors Earnings Mall 474 0 1
MasterCard MarketPlace 151 0 1
US Airways Dividend Miles Shopping Mall 723 0 1
United Mileage Plus Shopping 739 0 0

ShopDiscover credit cards

Here’s of our favorite cardthat will get you signed up of ShopDiscover:

Discover It Credit Card
Apply Now

on Discover's
secure website

Combined with the ShopDiscover rewards mall, the Discover it card is virtually unbeatable when it comes to shopping rewards. You earn credit card cash back at a base rate of 1%. The it also has rotating bonus categories that earn 5%, including things like gas, groceries, restaurants and more. These categories are usually capped at $1,500 in purchases per quarter. It has no annual fee and comes with 0% purchase and transfer APR for 14 months.

Here’s a chart of the best malls for the 20 retailers as mentioned above:

Retailer Best Mall(s) Rewards Rate
Aeropostale Shop Discover / Capital One Perk Central 5%
Apple Store ShopDiscover 5%
Barnes & Noble ShopDiscover 15%
Bed Bath and Beyond ShopDiscover 5%
Best Buy ShopDiscover 5%
Dick’s Sporting Goods ShopDiscover / Citi Bonus Cash Center / Citi ThankYou Bonus Center / Wells Fargo Earn More Mall 5%
Game Stop ShopDiscover / Capital One Perk Central 5%
JCPenny ShopDiscover 10%
Kmart ShopDiscover 15%
Kohl’s ShopDiscover / Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall 10%
Macy’s ShopDiscover / Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall 5%
PetSmart ShopDiscover 15%
Radio Shack FatWallet.com 4%
Sears ShopDiscover 15%
Starbucks Store FatWallet.com / Bank of America WorldPoints Mall / Marriott ShopMyWay Mall 4%
Target ShopDiscover 10%
Toys ‘R’ Us Upromise.com 10%
Urban Outfitters ShopDiscover / Capital One Perk Central 5%
Victoria’s Secret American Express Membership Rewards / Marriott ShopMyWay Mall 5%
Wal-Mart ShopDiscover 5%
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  • Nick Gannon

    I loved the information and update on competition. One problem with Discover–they sometimes add perks like vacation packages but don’t say any more than a short description so what are we getting into… Don’t get me wrong, I love my Discovercard but I want to buy that “juicy” vacation package so my family will enjoy there time and not worry about where they should chase down their next meal or does it include entertainment as a couple of examples… Help me to stay informed!

  • Pelican703

    the purchase caps for the discover more card 5% program has recently changed to $1500 instead of a few hundred

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Good catch! It’s been updated to 2012 numbers.

  • Asdfasdf

    The absolute best thing about Shop Discover Mall I’m surprised wasn’t mentioned is the whopping 15% back on Groupon! I use it all the time for that..! And you should pick large online retailers as opposed to retailers in general – stores like Newegg are huge online and I’m sure would beat some of those places up there (I imagine, at least, why would you shop at Radio Shack over Newegg anyways? Newegg is known for being one of the most reputable and customer service oriented web sites in existence).

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