Increase your points balance with Shopping Portals!

If there is one thing that I might consider yelling from the rooftops, it is that Shopping Portals are huge! For the casual mile and point collector, I would argue that shopping portals rank either second or third in the scale of miles generated. Obviously credit card sign-on bonuses are the top generator for miles and points. Those huge sign-on bonuses are so great, that credit card issuers have started making it tough for churners. The tie, I would say, is between flying, where you used to earn a mile for a mile flown, but predominantly, that earn rate is based on your fare now a days, and from shopping portals.

Why Shopping Portals?

First of all, shopping portals just don’t get nearly the kind’ve play that credit card sign-on bonuses get. Any mile and point collector can increase their balances through the use of shopping portals for things that they would buy anyway. Resellers can supercharge their mile and point balances. Many–though not every–airline and hotel chain has a shopping portal, as well as Chase Ultimate Rewards, though the other transferable points programs (SPG, American Express, Citi Thank You)  don’t seem to have portals anymore. Here’s a look at some of the common portals that you’ll see for a store; in this case, Macy’s:

Macy Shopping Portals

Its not a ton of miles, but, lets say you are buying a wedding gift for a friend, and they happen to have a registry on Macy’s, you could earn some miles for that purchase. 

Shopping Portals aren’t limited to Miles

While I tend to find shopping portals as very valuable for earning miles, the fact is, you can also get cashback. It can often be a tough decision as to whether you go for the cashback, the miles or points, or the bank points. Take a look here at Kohls:

Kohls Shopping Portals

So here you have to decide whether you’d want to earn 7% cashback, or 3x British Airways Avios points, or perhaps 2x of Alaska, American, Delta, or Southwest. There’s also some other less attractive options in there, like Spirit. 

Pay Close Attention to the Terms and Conditions!

While there aren’t many stores that have unique terms, some do in fact have unique terms. Perhaps the greatest–and most lucrative— example was Sears, which had for a time allowed double dips, in other words, you could buy or reload a gift card via a portal like Southwest, United, American, or others, then go back in via a portal and make your purchase via the same portal and get double the points! It was pretty huge. In fact, it was a large part of how I got my first Southwest Companion Pass.

Another example is a recent enhanced United Mileage Plus Shopping Portal bonus on Apple (it was 8x), which a reader was kind enough to warn me:

United Apple Shopping Portal

The key here is operating within the various terms and conditions. 

Wrapping Up

There are a lot of opportunities to generate miles and points; Credit Card sign-ups are perhaps those most popular, but that door seems to be closing ever so gently on many of us long time credit card churners. Logically, the next easiest way to generate points for spend that we’ll already be spending, just by adding a simple extra step. Speaking of that extra step – Don’t forget to go to the portal via an incognito tab; otherwise there might be other cookies that mitigate the portal you are going through.

Do you regularly generate miles and points from Shopping Portals? 

12 thoughts on “Increase your points balance with Shopping Portals!

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  2. I use portals to buy small items to keep my points and miles from expiring. If I have a major pre-planned purchase I sometimes take the extra minutes to buy online for store pickup. Also note that US members of BA Executive Club can earn points on eBay purchases.

    • @NSX – Great point on BA and eBay! I do use the BA portal when I buy from Ebay because of that. I’m curious though why you prefer store pick-up? Just don’t trust UPS? Do you still get the points (as I recall, you don’t…)

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