Getting Started Guide: Part 9b–Earn points by shopping online

The beginner’s guide to traveling for (almost) free on miles and points:
1. Set travel goals
2. Check your credit
3. Sign up for rewards programs
4. Manage your miles and credit cards
5. Sign up for a rewards earning credit card
6. Shift your everyday spend to credit cards
7. Meet the minimum spending requirements
8. Maximize bonuses and promotions
9. Earn points by dining
9b. Earn points by shopping
10. Redeem points and miles for free travel
Shopping Portals
Shopping online is another easy way to earn extra points and miles for items you already intend to purchase! If you shop online and are not going through a shopping portal, you most likely are leaving points on the table! Many airlines and hotels offer online “shopping malls,” or “portals,” which allow you to directly click through to the store of your choice earn extra valuable points. Once you are signed up for accounts with these portals (doesn’t take long if you already have a frequent traveler account with the particular airline or hotel), it only takes a few extra seconds each time you shop to click through the portal and potentially earn thousands of extra points!

I always start by visiting before I make any online purchase to determine which portal has the highest payout. In addition to airline and hotel online portals, I also like to use and TopCashBack because the payouts are typically comparable, and sometimes much higher, and I know they are reliable–I’ve received checks from them before. I suggest taking a few minutes to sign up for cash back programs such as Ebates and TopCashBack, as well as any particular hotel or airline which you are actively trying to earn points in. Points High Tip: If the payouts are fairly comparable, I tend to favor using the Ultimate Rewards Mall, since Chase Ultimate Rewards are very valuable to me because of their flexibility to transfer into various partners.

evreward useIn the example above I was searching for the best payout for Groupon, a daily deal site I regularly use to purchase vouchers for food and entertainment, both locally and when I’m going to a new city on vacation. Shop Discover was the highest at 10% back, but I do not currently have a Discover card so am not eligible for those rewards. The next highest was MyPoints, at 8 points per dollar, so that’s what I would use in this case. FYI, if you sign up for MyPoints through my link you can earn a bonus of 750 points. See the complete list of sign up bonuses on my Promotions Page.

Once I’ve determined which portal to use, I open it up in a different browser window, log-in, search the store I’m looking for, and confirm the payout is the same as listed on evreward. This is probably an extra step since you can click through directly from, but I like to confirm I am logged in and ready to earn points.

Next, I search to look for any additional promotion codes, discounts or coupons.

Make sure to use the card at checkout that will earn you the most rewards! In the example with Groupon, I would use a card I am trying to hit minimum spend on. But if I were buying something from Staples, I would make sure to use my Chase Ink to earn an additional 5x points. Recently I bought a wedding gift online at Crate&Barrel, and wanted to use my AmexSync to get a $20 statement credit. I accidentally used the wrong card without thinking (so focused on reaching the $10,000 spend on our new Citi AAdvantage Executive card!), but a quick call to Crate&Barrel and I was able to change the credit card on the transaction.

By taking a few extra seconds to click through to a shopping portal to your favorite online store, you can easily earn extra points to help you travel for free quicker!

The Villain and I try to make any of our big purchases online, provided of course that the price is comparable to the price in-store. You can even buy smaller, everyday household purchases online, but do the math for yourself to see what is the best use of your time and what will save you the most money.

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