If you have accounts with some of the most popular hotel chains and major airlines, then you’d probably like to know the ins and outs of boosting those loyalty balances. Of course, traveling is the obvious one, but did you know that you can earn some big sign-up bonuses and other travel awards when you get many of the available credit cards that offer travel rewards? And, you can earn tons of miles and points just by doing what you always do and that’s everyday activities like shopping. That goes double for the holidays when we all shop 'til we drop, buying gifts for friends, family, co-workers, and anybody else on that endless Christmas shopping list.
One of the best ways to shop is through the many airline shopping portals. So, in case you’re not up-to-speed on what they actually do, here’s a little basic info followed by some specifics about a few of the best airline shopping portals available today. For starters, they give you the opportunity to earn miles and bonus points at online retailers and there are virtually hundreds of those.
All you have to do is start at the portal, then click through that particular retailer’s website. You’re doing this instead of going to the retailer’s site directly. See where this is going? Well, you are simply purchasing those same items, but since you arrived there via the airline’s shopping portal, you can still be buying directly from the merchant, but earning miles and points. This is usually based on your total purchase amount, but not including shipping and taxes.
Now, on top of that, you should still be earning miles and/or points on your actual airline credit card, so surprise, you could actually be double-dipping on each transaction. In addition, if you make strategic use of the airline shopping portals, you’ll be contributing to your next business or first-class airline ticket redemption.
So some people when they hear about this start wondering if it’s too good to be true, But, it’s not and there’s really no catch either. The fact is that the portals are getting a piece of each purchase when they are responsible for steering a consumer there. In exchange, the retailer gets your business and the airline only has to give you miles or points. It’s a win-win for everybody involved and basically just a different form of affiliate marketing. Only, with this plan, you're the big winner!
Sure, you might think that an extra couple of hundred miles won’t have much of an impact on your travel plans, but if you make consistent use of the portals, especially to the extent that holiday buying escalates everybody's spending, you could end up acquiring thousands of miles a year. And, the best part of it all is that you’ll be earning those bonuses for buying merchandise that you would’ve been buying anyway.
Here are a few of the major airline portals for you to choose from:
1. Alaska Airlines: Mileage Plan Shopping
We started with this one because it is actually the very first airlines to offer a shopping portal. They give you the opportunity of earning bonus miles when you shop with hundred of retailers using their Mileage Plan Shopping site. It’s also especially easy to use since you can utilize the username and password for your Mileage Plan. After logging in, navigating is pretty simple and, by clicking on “Stores”, you can get a complete list of the participating retailers. After finding the retailer that you want to go with, then clicking on “Shop Now” will redirect you to the site. In addition, you’ll get a confirmation email and your miles should have posted to your account within five days.
2. British Airways: Gate 365
A partnership with a broad range of retailers makes this portal a winner and it’s made even more user-friendly by allowing you to log in using your username and password from their Executive Club. That way, you don’t even have to spend time creating a separate account. When you do log in, be sure to choose your country, i.e. either the UK or the US. You can do this in the drop-down menu. Then you can search for retailers, pick your favorites and make your purchases. The miles or points will show as pending within 5 working days but could take longer to post to your account.
3. American Airlines: AAdvantage eShopping
To use this one for accessing hundred of retailers, you will have to register by utilizing your AAdvantage account number. Once you’ve done that, using the top right search bar to locate your chosen retailer or clicking on “Stores” beneath the AA logo, you can shop to your heart’s content. Usually, the bonus miles will be posted to your AA account within four weeks, but that might take as much as eight weeks in some cases.
4. Delta Airlines: SkyMiles Shopping
This airline shopping portal also requires signing up for an account with your SkyMiles number. Once you do that, you might notice a similarity to the American Airlines portal and that’s because they both use one particular third-party provider. After you log in, then you can just use the top right search bar to find a store. Miles usually post within three to five business days of purchase but could take up to 45 days, depending on which store you choose to buy from.
5. JetBlue: ShopTrue
Now, this one seems to be the easiest airline shopping portal out there as far as login goes. Jut entering your name and email address will get you access. Then searching for retailers is as easy as clicking on the top left box or just using the Categories drop-down. You’ll especially like their ShopTrue Notify toolbar. It’s a Google Chrome browser extension that notifies you each time you are browsing a site that is eligible for earning bonus points via Shop True. This is a great way to stay on top of your shopping to make sure that, if you forget to enter through a shopping portal, you’ll be notified. That way, you'll never miss out on the opportunity to get those points or miles. And, they will usually become pending within five business days, but could take as many as 60 days to change to approved status and post to your account.
Now, these five are of course not the only ones available. You can also find similar portals for Southwest, United, some hotels, and others. So, as you're doing your holiday shopping, don't forget to try these portals for the best of both worlds. You'll still be spending money this season, but earning rewards at the same time. Happy Holidays!
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker