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11/11 is just 1 week away and we’re nearing the end of the year – the time when people tend to spend more money on shopping.
With this in mind, I thought it was apt to write a post to share how I maximise my savings and rewards when I shop online.
In general, there are 2 steps – maximising savings by applying as many vouchers as possible, then maximising rewards by making the final payment with the best credit/debit card you have.
Let me start with how to maximise rewards because it’s a pretty standard approach regardless of which e-commerce platform you’re shopping on.
Online shopping counts as online transactions, so you’ll want to make sure that whatever card you’re using to pay earns rewards for online transactions.
For students, the best debit card to use for such transactions is the GrabPay card while using the Standard Chartered Cashback debit card to top up your GrabPay wallet.
This will allow you to earn up to 2.2% cashback in rewards.
I wrote a post explaining this which you can find here.
For working adults with access to credit cards, the best card to use depends on your average monthly expenses and your preference for miles or cashback.
- Miles: HSBC Revolution, UOB PPV, Citi Rewards
- Cashback (monthly spending >$600): UOB EVOL, DBS Live Fresh, Citi SMRT
- Cashback (monthly spending <$600): AMEX True Cashback/UOB Absolute
All of the miles cards stated above earn miles at a rate of 4 miles per dollar (mpd). You can check out this post for a detailed comparison of all 3 cards.
The high cashback cards earn cashback at rates of 5% – 8% but have monthly spending requirements of $600. You can find out more about them in this post.
Finally, if you can’t hit the monthly spending requirement of high cashback cards, your best option is to use the GrabPay card while leveraging on cards that award cashback for GrabPay top-ups.
This allows you to earn up to 2.9% cashback in rewards and I explain this in detail in this post.
Next, let’s look at how you can stack vouchers when you’re shopping to maximise the savings on your online purchases.
Shopee has 2 types of vouchers that you can stack to maximise savings – store vouchers and platform vouchers.
1: Store Voucher
Store vouchers can only be applied to items from that store.
These vouchers don’t necessarily apply to all items from the store and may only be limited to selected items.
There are 2 ways to get store vouchers.
The first is to simply claim the voucher from the store.
When you add an item to your cart, an option to select a store voucher will be shown below the item.
If you don’t see this option, it means the store doesn’t offer any vouchers this way.
By clicking on this option, you can see what store vouchers are available.
After claiming the vouchers, you will be able to apply them if you meet the requirements.
The second way is to follow the store to get a special voucher that would otherwise not be obtainable.
To do this, navigate to the store’s page. You will see a pop-out prompt asking you to follow the store to get a voucher.
Again, if you don’t see this prompt, then the store probably doesn’t offer any vouchers via this method.
Store vouchers are applied at the store level – not during checkout.
In other words, after applying store vouchers, you should still be able to select a Shopee voucher during the checkout process.
2: Platform Voucher
Platform vouchers can be applied to a range of items across Shopee and are not limited to a specific store only.
However, they may be limited to specific categories or payment methods (ie ShopeePay only).
There are several different types of platform vouchers available.
Daily Cashback Vouchers
These vouchers must be claimed daily from 12 am before you can use them and are only redeemable in limited quantities.
That is, claiming a voucher doesn’t “reserve” the voucher for use at a later time.
If the voucher reaches the redemption limit (by other users applying it at checkout), you won’t be able to use it anymore even if you’ve claimed it.
Daily cashback vouchers can be accessed by clicking on the “Daily 18% Cashback” icon (or as applicable) from the main page.
Sale Campaign Vouchers
Sale campaign vouchers are released in accordance with the ongoing sale campaign, ie the upcoming 11/11 or 12/12.
They can be pre-claimed before the actual sale date, but can only be used from the specified date (ie 11/11).
Sale campaign vouchers can be accessed by clicking on the “11.11 Vouchers” icon (or as applicable) from the main page.
Bank Promotions Vouchers
These are vouchers that can only be applied if you use specific bank cards to make payments.
You can access bank promotion vouchers by clicking on the “Bank Promotions” icon from the main page.
Note that there are actually 2 types of bank vouchers – Bank Of The Day vouchers and exclusive category vouchers.
The former is indicated on the “Bank Promotions” page with a banner that says “Bank Of The Day”.
These vouchers do not need to be claimed. Instead, they should be automatically applied at checkout given that all the terms & conditions are fulfilled.
The latter will indicate that it is only applicable for selected categories or users like Big Brand Discounts or Mum’s Club members.
These vouchers must be claimed in order to use them.
Member Rewards Vouchers
Member rewards vouchers can only be claimed if you’re a member of that specific club.
There are several clubs available for different types of products and come with different membership tiers + qualification requirements.
in 1 month
These clubs offer exclusive vouchers that are applicable to the respective categories that can be claimed every month.
Also, you only need to fulfil the criteria once to gain VIP membership.
Note that you have to manually sign up for both the basic and VIP membership (if you qualify) in order to become a member.
Then, you have to claim the relevant vouchers in order to use them.
There are also brand-specific memberships that you can join where you can get exclusive brand vouchers and earn points for spending on the brand’s store.
With these points, you can redeem exclusive vouchers.
You can access member rewards clubs by clicking on the “Member Rewards” icon from the main page.
You can scroll down to the member clubs to view your membership status or to sign up.
Once you have joined as a member, you can claim vouchers according to your membership tier.
Shopee Rewards Vouchers
Finally, Shopee has a platform-wide membership program.
There are different tiers of memberships that you can attain depending on your bi-annual spending and number of orders on Shopee.
Rewards that you can claim include monthly vouchers, birthday vouchers, and exclusive brand deals.
All vouchers must be claimed to use them.
You can access Shopee Rewards from your profile at “Me” by clicking on “Shopee Rewards”.
Then, you will see your current membership status and the vouchers that are available to be claimed this month.
3: Best Payment Method
For the most part, you should be paying with the best credit or debit card you have available as discussed above.
The only exception is if the platform voucher you’re using requires payment to be made via ShopeePay.
ShopeePay requires you to top-up your ShopeePay wallet either via card or PayNow.
In this case, you should treat topping up the ShopeePay wallet as you would the GrabPay wallet.
That is, the cards that would award cashback for GrabPay wallet top-ups will also award cashback for ShopeePay wallet top-ups:
- AMEX True Cashback
- UOB Absolute
- Standard Chartered Cashback debit card
1: Platform Discount
The first layer of savings comes from ZALORA’s platform discounts.
The thing I like most about ZALORA is that their discounts come in the form of promo codes rather than vouchers.
This means you don’t have to worry about camping for the release of vouchers to collect them, nor about them being used up before you get to make your purchase.
Also, ZALORA automatically applies the best promo code by default that applies to the items in your cart when you’re about to checkout.
So you don’t have to worry about finding promo codes or comparing which one is the best.
ZALORA conveniently shows you how much discount each item in your cart is receiving based on the applied promo code, so it makes it easy to check.
However, do note that promo codes may be applicable for different items and some items are not applicable for discounts at all.
Since only 1 promo code can be applied per checkout, you’ll want to check that all the items you’re checking out are eligible for the applied promo code.
If you don’t see any discount being applied to certain items, it means that item isn’t applicable for that particular promo code.
In this case, you may be better off splitting up your purchase into separate transactions.
But if the item is a non-sale item (as above), then it doesn’t matter since no promo codes are applicable to it.
2: Store Credits via ShopBack
After applying the best promo code that is available on ZALORA, you can save even more on the balance amount by buying store credits from ShopBack.
ShopBack is an app that awards cashback when you spend at their partnered merchants using your linked credit/debit card.
ShopBack is partnered with ZALORA and also offers store credits for sale – for which you will be awarded cashback.
Open the ShopBack app and search for ZALORA store credits.
Store credits are sold in varying denominations of $30, $50, $100, $150, $200, $300, and $500.
The amount of cashback awarded for store credit purchases varies depending on whether there is an ongoing promotion for upsized cashback.
Normally, the cashback rate is 10% but can go as high as 20%+ during sale periods – either way, this is a generous amount of cashback.
The idea is to buy as much store credit as possible to pay off the remaining balance of your purchase after applying the best promo code.
This may require buying more than 1 store credit voucher and will maximise the amount of cashback you get to earn.
Furthermore, buying store credit vouchers on ShopBack transacts as an online expense, so you’re able to earn card rewards for the purchase.
For example, let’s say that after applying the best ZALORA promo code, your purchase balance is $70.
You could buy a $50 voucher to earn $5 cashback, but it’s actually better to buy 2x $30 vouchers instead which earns $6 cashback.
After buying the store credit vouchers, simply load them into your ZALORA wallet and it will automatically be used to offset your purchases.
If you’re not using ShopBack yet, you can signup with this referral link or enter the referral code “flshiB” to earn a $5 reward.
This bonus will be credited after you add your cashback withdrawal details, spend $25 via ShopBack, and have your earned cashback be confirmed.
3: Best Payment Method
By this point, the balance that’s left to be paid for your purchase should be fairly small (<$30).
For the most part, the best payment method should be in line with the earlier section about Maximising Rewards.
However, your payment method may be dictated by the promo code that is applied (ie Atome, Grab).
If it is not (ie credit/debit card), besides the guidelines from earlier, make sure you click through to ZALORA via the ShopBack app to earn even more cashback on your final transaction.
If it is via Atome, you should link the best credit or debit card to your Atome account because Atome transactions are online transactions that earn card rewards.
If it is via Grab, you should make top-ups to your GrabPay wallet with an appropriate card that earns rewards for GrabPay top-ups.
You can stack savings on ZALORA with platform promo codes and store credits bought via ShopBack.
With Shopee, you can stack both store and platform vouchers to maximise savings.
Finally, be sure to complete your payment with the best credit/debit card you have to maximise rewards.
Are there any other saving hacks you use when shopping on these e-commerce sites?
Let me know in the comments below!