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EVERYTHING You Need to Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online

EVERYTHING You Need to Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online

Million Mile SecretsEVERYTHING You Need to Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping OnlineMillion Mile Secrets Team

Do you know this effortless way to exponentially increase the miles & points you earn?

Online shopping portals are an easy way to earn lots of bonus miles, points, or cash back on purchases you’d probably make anyway.  Nearly every airline, hotel, and bank has some kind of shopping portal to help you earn Big Travel extra quickly!

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online
Online Shopping Is Only Growing in Popularity! Do You Know How to Get the Biggest Return for Your Hard-Earned Money?

I’ll tell you everything you need to know about online shopping portals.  And show you how easy they are to use!

Different Types of Shopping Portals

No matter what rewards currency you want to earn, you’ll find a beneficial shopping portal that suits your needs.

1.   Airlines

Almost every major airline has a shopping portal, so you can likely earn bonus miles with your favorite airline!  Here are examples of airlines with shopping portals:

Depending on current promotions and where you shop, you could earn 30+ points per $1!

2.   Hotels

Hotel shopping portals aren’t as prolific as airlines, but there are still a handful to choose from, like:

3.   Cash Back

If you’d rather earn hard cash, there are tons of portals for you.  Depending on where you’re shopping, you could earn 20%+ back!

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online
Lots of Folks Prefer Cash Over Miles & Points. Cash Is the MOST Flexible Reward, After All!

Some of the top cashback sites are:

You can even sometimes earn cash back for travel purchases, like airfare, hotel stays, and online travel agencies (Orbitz, Expedia, Priceline, etc.) through these sites!

4.   Banks

Several banks have their own shopping portals, as well.  So you can earn cash back and flexible rewards from your online shopping, too!  You can earn bonus points through:

What Are the BEST Type of Rewards to Earn?

There is no “best” rewards program.  The rewards you choose to earn will differ based on your travel goals.  For example:

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online
Choice Hotels Are Practically EVERYWHERE, Including Small Towns Where You Won’t Find Most Other Hotel Chains Like Hyatt, Starwood, and Marriott

That said, earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points is likely the best idea if you don’t have any travel plans in mind.  That’s because it’s easy to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to lots of travel partners, or use the points at a fixed cash value to reserve travel.

Use Shopping Portal Aggregators to Find the Best Deal

Shopping portal bonuses change constantly, and checking each individual portal takes forever.  So it’s important to know the best shopping portal aggregators!  They keep tabs on all shopping portals, and let you know which one will give you the highest return for your purchase.

Examples of shopping portal aggregators are:

My current favorite is Cashback Monitor.  I find it’s usually the most up-to-date, and there are lots of handy features!

Keep in mind, miles & points can have VERY different values.  One thing I love about Cashback Monitor is that you can designate different cash values to miles & points.  Then instead of displaying the amount of points you’ll earn, it will tell you what percentage you’re getting as a return.

So if you value Alaska Airlines miles at ~1.8 cents each, and British Airways Avios points at just 1 cent each, you can type that into Cashback Monitor.

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online
You Can Create Shopping Portal Alerts, Configure Which Portals You Want to View, and Even Assign Your Own Value to Miles & Points to Give Yourself a Better Idea of What Each Shopping Portal Is Offering

Then when you click on a merchant, you’ll see which is the better deal according to YOU.

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online
According to the Value I Placed on Miles & Points, I’m Better Off Shopping at Macy’s Through the Alaska Airlines Portal Instead of British Airways. Even Though British Airways Is Offering 3 More Points per $1!

Get Even Bigger Returns on Your Purchases

Here are a few tips to help you get the most for your money.

1.   Stack Promotions for Even More Rewards

If you know what you’re doing, you can get an even better return than what the shopping portal aggregators tell you.  That’s because you can sometimes “stack” bonuses, to earn more than one for the same purchase.

For example, you can get a $10 statement credit at Lowe’s when you spend $50+ with a current AMEX Offer at the time of writing.  You can add that offer to your AMEX credit card, and use that card to make a purchase on the Lowe’s website through an online shopping portal, and earn even more cash back!  And Lowe’s sells lots of things other than home improvement stuff. 😉

2.   Monitor Bonus Promotions

Shopping portal promotions are being released all the time.  For example, American Airlines just released a tiered bonus that disappears soon.

Log-in to your accounts once in a while, and watch for email promotions.  Sometimes they are NOT listed on sites like Evreward and Cashback Monitor.  Though with Cashback Monitor, you can set alerts for when certain stores increase their cashback offer.

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online
Sometimes Portals Increase Their Offers for a Single Day! You Can Be Ready by Setting an Alarm on Cashback Monitor

A great way to stay on top of all this is by subscribing to the Million Mile Secrets newsletter, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter!  We monitor these kinds of things, and we tell you about the ones we think are worthwhile.  It makes things a lot easier for our readers!

Watch Out for Pitfalls

If you’re not careful, there are a few mistakes you can make to lose your bonus points.

1.   Ad Blockers

Ad blockers prevent shopping portals from properly tracking your purchases.  So if you have an ad blocker enabled on your browser, you will likely NOT get bonus miles & points for making purchases through a shopping portal.

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online
Programs Like AdBlock Can Foil Your Bonus Mile Earnings!

Turn off your ad blocker beforehand!

2.   Non-Qualifying Purchases

Some items do NOT qualify for bonus rewards through shopping portals.  They will be listed in the fine print, but you can generally count on cash equivalents (like gift cards) to NOT be eligible for bonus earnings through the portal.

3.  Combining Promotions

Many shopping portals will state that you can NOT use store promotion codes alongside their cash back offer.  So always read the fine print, or you might be unpleasantly surprised later!

That said, in my experience you’ll sometimes still get a shopping portal bonus when you use a store promotion code.  But don’t count on it.

How to Use a Shopping Portal

Here’s a quick guide to help you see exactly how a shopping portal works!

1.   Choose a Merchant Through Cashback Monitor

When you get to the Cashback Monitor home page, you’ll see a long list of popular stores.  You can see at a glance what kind of return each is offering.  Or you can use the search bar near the top to find a certain merchant.

I’ll choose Walmart for this example.

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online
According to Cashback Monitor, the Best Return You Can Get by Shopping at Walmart Is Currently 6.4%

Note:   If you see notifications on the top and side of the page about ad blockers, that means your ad blocker is still on.  Turn it off before you continue, to ensure that your purchases will track later on.

2.   Choose the Rewards Currency You Want to Earn

You will now be able to see all the available portals you can use with Walmart.

Click on the miles, points, or cash back you prefer to earn.  I generally value miles & points higher than cash back, because of the value I can squeeze from them!  I’ll choose to shop at Walmart through the British Airways Mall.

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online
Choose the Portal That Has the Best Return for Your Goals

3.   Navigate to the Merchant Website via the Miles & Points Shopping Portal

You will be immediately directed to the store page on the shopping portal you selected.  Just click “Shop Now” (or whatever variant is on your preferred shopping portal).

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online
Click Through to the Merchant Website From the Shopping Portal

Then you’ll be prompted to enter your British Airways account details.

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online
To Get Your Miles and Points, You’ll Have to Enter Your Account Details Before You Start Shopping

The shopping portal will indicate that it’s taking you to the store website.

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online
Remember to Turn Off Your Ad Blocker, or You May Not Earn Your Bonus Points!

4.   Shop as You Normally Would!

You are now on the actual store website!  Shop just like normal, and you’ll receive bonus miles, points, or cash back for your purchase.

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online
Your Shopping Experience Will Be Exactly the Same as If You Didn’t Go Through a Shopping Portal!

I’ll now earn 4 British Airways Avios points per $1 I spend at Walmart.  Plus, because the Chase Freedom currently earns 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on the first $1,500 in spending at Walmart and department stores this quarter, I can stack those deals, and earn both bonuses!

You can even use online shopping portals to save money if you prefer picking up your items in person at the store!

5.   Check to See If Your Points Have Posted

Depending on the portal, it can take several days to several weeks for your miles and points to show up in your account.  Check the terms and conditions on the portal you’re using to get an idea of what to expect.

If you don’t receive your bonus within the specified timeframe, you can contact the portal with your issue.  There’s usually a “Contact Us” or “Help” section you can click through.

EVERYTHING You Need To Know About Earning Bonus Miles Shopping Online
If You Don’t Get Your Bonus Miles and Points, Contact the Portal to See What Went Wrong

In the case of cash back portals, each portal pays out a little differently.  For example, Top Cash Back requires users to manually request a payout (via bank transfer, PayPal, or gift card).  But sites like Ebates automatically mail you a check every 3 months.

Bottom Line

If you shop online and are NOT using online shopping portals regularly, you are leaving LOTS of miles & points (or cash) on the table!

Shopping portals are easy to use.  You can earn airline miles, hotel points, or cash back to accomplish whatever goals lie ahead.  But sometimes all the flash deals, increased earnings, and limited-time promotions are a lot to juggle.

Subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and we’ll let you know when there’s a deal you shouldn’t pass up!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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This must be rather new? I've been racking up both Southwest and Avios points here.

Million Mile Secrets

Thanks for this, Karey! It looks to offer the same return as the British Airways Avios eStore, but with a different URL. How are you earning Southwest points through the site? I'm not seeing the option.

Thanks for the timely information on ad blockers. I will disable mine for the shopping portals. Also, I was not aware of the fact that you must use a Chase credit card on the UR website in order to get the bonus points. I haven't lost out on a whole lot of points because I usually buy gift cards at an office supply store before shopping, but I seem to learn something new every day about this hobby!

Million Mile Secrets

No problem, Sandy. Yes, the fine print on the Chase site says to complete your purchase "with your Chase card". Happy earning!