I’ve said many times that I’m a simpleton when it comes to miles and points hobby. I don’t do any fancy tricks, reselling, M/S etc. My strategy is simple: go after the most lucrative credit card sign-up bonuses and take advantage of low-hanging fruit.
Something I do try to be mindful of is getting miles and points via online shopping. And why not? It only takes a few seconds to access the portal, and then you do what you normally would anyway. My husband, on the other hand, thinks even that is too much trouble. When he orders something online, he just goes to the website and buys it without giving it a second thought.
Occasionally, he decides to involve me in the process. Few weeks ago, I was in the bedroom when I heard him yell to me from the kitchen: “I’m getting ready to make a $900 purchase from Newegg.” What he meant by that was : “You have a few minutes to pull up whatever shopping portal you want me to use, and maybe I’ll click through it. Maybe.”
So, I started scrambling to figure out what type of currency I would like to earn on this hefty purchase. None of the below information is earth-shattering, but hopefully, new readers will benefit from my thought process.
So, here is my “simpleton” approach:
1) Check Amex offers first and see if Newegg (or another store) is listed
In this case, it wasn’t, but very often there will be a discount in my online profile, something like $30 off $250 purchase. Since I have several Amex cards, there is a possibility of saving the offers by opening different tabs. My husband was planning on getting several parts, so I could just split the order in two.
I do try to use whatever card I’m working on when it comes to minimum spending requirements, but checking Amex “Offers for you” is prudent, especially if I can get more than 10% cash back.
2) Check to see if I need to top off an account for a specific award or redemption
Even if I decided to take advantage of Amex offer, it wouldn’t interfere with my ability to earn miles or points through a shopping portal. That’s because Amex offers are tied to a credit card, and in most cases, you don’t have to click through a special link in order to get the rebate.
So, if for example, I have 24,000 AAdvantage miles and know for a fact that I’ll need 25,000 miles for a specific award within few months, it’s likely that I’ll go through AAdvantage shopping portal, even if payout isn’t the highest out there.
It can cost as much as $35 to purchase 1,000 miles, so, clearly, this is a better strategy. Need to get to 2,500 points’ redemption threshold level on Barclaycard Arrival? Portals can help. Of course, it never hurts to check all other options. Which is why…
They will usually list all major portals. For example, here are the results for Newegg.com via Evreward:
Not let’s check Cashbackmonitor.com:
Clearly, the second one is a winner! If all shopping portals have a similar payout, it makes sense to take advantage of new customer sign-up bonus. I have a bunch of referral links in my Support the Site page for places like Ebates etc.
It’s always a nice surprise to get occasional $5, and it doesn’t cost you a cent, plus you get free money too. Unless you are looking to top off a mileage or hotel program account, it’s probably best to go for cash or flexible points (with all things being equal.)
I’m already a member of all the major portals, so I simply picked one where the payout was highest, and where I had a decent experience in the past. That’s how I selected glamourrewards.com I didn’t yet have my Chase Sapphire Reserve, otherwise I would go through Chase portal. That’s because each UR point is worth 1.5 cents towards travel if you have CSR.
4) Check for discounts as long as they won’t cancel out your shopping portal payout
In case of glamourrewards.com, the terms were clear:
5) Google and see if there are more lucrative discounts out there, that are not listed in the shopping portal
I checked and there was a decent offer: Make $250 purchase on Newegg and get $25 off when you use Paypal to pay for your order (after inputting a coupon code). Since we could split the order in two parts, this was clearly the way to go. Yes, we would lose $18 we could have gotten from glamourrewards.com, but in exchange we would get $50. No-brainer.
Except, it turned out that the code wasn’t working for some reason. I just went ahead and placed the orders through glamourrewards.com, paid via Paypal and decided to follow up with Newegg later on.
6) Even if online codes don’t work, call the company and ask them to apply them manually
That’s what I did. After everything was set, I called Newegg and the rep verified that the discount code should have worked. She went ahead and credited my card $50 as a courtesy. Certainly worth 10 minutes of my time.
7) Be prepared for the fact that your online purchase may not track via shopping portal
Technically, I didn’t use any coupons while ordering, because the credit was applied separately. So, the purchase should have tracked. It didn’t. I can’t follow up till it’s been 45 days since the order was placed, but I will definitely do just that. This happens all the time. I honestly don’t even count on my purchases to track, and am pleasantly surprised when they do. But try to keep records because it’s easy to forget this sort of thing.
While you are not going to get rich by going through shopping portals for all of your online purchases, every little bit helps. It may give you the needed miles for that award ticket, hotel points for your getaway, or just put some extra cash in your pocket. It doesn’t cost anything but few minutes of your time. Of course, getting all the purchases to actually track is another story.
Readers, what tips would you like to add?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.