Earn Miles for Online Shopping
Episode #2 of the course Travel hacking: Earn frequent flyer miles without flying by Chris Guillebeau
Hey there, traveler!
Yesterday, you learned how you can earn points for eating. Today, you’ll learn how to use online shopping portals to earn more points or miles.
Believe it or not, one easy way you can earn free travel is by shopping smarter. You have to buy stuff matter how much you like or dislike shopping—and you should always be earning points and miles toward free travel every time you swipe your credit card.
One very easy and lucrative way to maximize point earning on the things you are already buying is by starting all your shopping online through a “mileage shopping portal.” Shopping portals are simply websites run by your favorite airlines and hotel programs that contain links to nearly every online store you can imagine (and probably already shop at). Use these portals as a gateway to access a merchant’s online store. You’ll automatically earn bonus points (1x-20x miles per dollar) in the hosting mileage program for whatever you buy.
Here’s an example: Say you need to buy a new suitcase for all this free travel you’re about to do. You find a fancy new Samsonite (or maybe a Tumi because you like to travel in style) on ebags.com for $100. You can go directly to ebags.com and purchase the suitcase for this transaction and you will receive 0 points (or 100 points if you use a mileage-earning credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred that gives you 1x point per dollar on all purchases).
Or, you could first go to a shopping portal, say the American Airline’s E-shopping page, and log in with your AAdvantage mileage number. From this homepage, find ebags.com in their merchant list and click on their link. When the portal redirects you to ebags.com, find your same $100 Samsonite and check out the exact same way you always do.
Because you got to ebags.com via the AA portal, you’ll earn 7x American bonus points per dollar on your purchase. That’s 700 bonus American miles for your $100 bag (plus the 100 points you earn from your credit card). Yes, you really can earn hundreds of points—even thousands—every time you shop online. All it takes is one extra click.
This tip works for ALL kinds of stores. Once you master this trick, there are other ways you can stack shopping bonuses by buying gift cards, purchasing items online for in-store pickup, and earning additional points during holiday promotions.
Here are some of our favorite portals:
• Air Canada Aeroplan E-store
• Alaska Shopping Mall
• American AAdvantage E-Shopping
• British Airways Gate 365 E-store
• Delta SkyMiles Shopping
• United MileagePlus Shopping
• Etihad Guest Reward Shop
• Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Spree
Not sure which shopping portal you should use? Use EVreward to see which online shopping mall is offering the most points per dollar for any given store.
That’s it! You don’t have to do anything else; just wait a few weeks for the miles to appear in your account. Hundreds of stores—including many that you already shop at—have shopping portal links. One extra click can earn you hundreds or even thousands of points.
• Visit the shopping portal of your favorite airline or hotel and make note of which of your favorite stores are registered merchants
• Bookmark the site and always use the portal before you do any online shopping
• Check evreward.com to see which shopping portal offers the most lucrative shopping bonus
By simply implementing these two tips, you can earn thousands of miles and points for things you already spend money on, and in the long run, it will mean free travel for you.
Now that you know how easy it is to get started, it’s time to bring your friends in on the fun! Tomorrow, you’ll learn how you can use “Refer-a-Friend” promotions to earn even more miles and points.
Yours in the journey,
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