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TPG reader Ruth sent me a question on Facebook about maximizing points with online shopping:

“Hi Points Guy, I have a question about double dipping in the AAdvantage shopping portal. If I go to gift and buy a $100 cert at a store that is also on the portal, can one then turn around and use that certificate at said store via the portal?”

Shopping through online portals is one of the best ways to rack up bonus miles and points on every dollar that you spend. Most airlines, hotels and credit cards have these online portals, which allow you to simply log in and then click through to a retailer for your shopping. In addition to earning the points you normally would by simply spending on your credit card, you also earn a separate bonus of whatever kinds of miles/points the portal offers that you can usually see deposited into your account within a week or two. So that’s a great way to double dip.

Click through shopping portals like American's for extra points and miles.
Click through shopping portals like American’s for extra points and miles.

What Ruth is asking is: can you go through a shopping portal once and buy gift certificates or cards and earn the bonus miles on that purchase? Then when you get those cards/certificates, can you then click through the shopping portal again and make your purchase with the gift certificates and earn another bonus?

Technically, no. Most retailers and portals say that you won’t get any bonus points on gift certificate purchases. However, these portals don’t always have the best technology in place so it’s anyone’s guess as to how well they can track what kind of card or certificate you use to make a purchase after you’ve already clicked through to the merchant, so there are lots of reports (and I personally have had this happen) where people have done exactly what Ruth is talking about and earned bonus miles on both transactions.

If you’re interested in testing this out, I’d recommend doing a little trial-and-error experiment to see whether you get the points or not on some small purchases before you commit to spending thousands of dollars on gift certificates you may not want to use – in case you don’t end up earning the bonus points you expect.

And if you happen to find any great deals – be sure to email me! I can’t promise I won’t share them with the rest of the TPG community, but in the end hopefully there will be a lot of bonus points for all of us.

In the meantime, here’s a handy reference list of shopping portals:

Air Canada: Aeroplan EStore
Amtrak: Amtrak Guest Rewards
British Airways: BA Miles Estore
Chase: Ultimate Rewards Shopping
Choice Rewards: Choice Privileges Mall
Discover: ShopDiscover
Frontier: Early Returns Mall
Hawaiian Airlines: Hawaiian Airlines eMarket
Hilton HHonors: Hilton HHonors Shop to Earn Mall
Marriott Rewards: Shop My Way
Southwest: Rapid Rewards Shopping
US Airways: Dividend Miles Shopping Mall
Virgin Atlantic: ShopsAway

Let me know if you have any other questions by messaging me on Facebook, Tweeting me or emailing me at

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

With some great bonus categories and an annual fee that’s waived for the first year, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card has a lot going for it. If you don’t have PRG, now’s as good a time as any to add it to your wallet, as Amex added some great new benefits several months back.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Receive 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • No matter where you're traveling, when you use your Premier Rewards Gold Card there are no foreign transaction fees from American Express.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
  • Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at Terms apply.
  • There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195.
  • Terms and limitations apply. See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195.
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.