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Are Online Shopping Portals as Rewarding as They Seem?

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TPG reader Ben sent me a message on Facebook to ask about shopping portal bonuses:

“25 miles per dollar spent on flower delivery service seems crazy. That can’t be right, can it?”

One of the best (and easiest) ways to maximize purchases is by taking advantage of online shopping portals. While bonuses vary depending on the portal you use and the merchant you buy from, there are plenty of opportunities to boost the points and miles you earn from spending with a wide variety of online retailers.

The Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus shopping portals recently increased bonuses for purchases made at flower and gift retailer, offering 25 miles per dollar in both cases. For its part, the American AAdvantage portal increased its bonus to 20 miles per dollar. To answer Ben’s question, yes, those numbers are correct. However, as impressive as those bonuses are, we’ve actually seen them go even higher (like this Mother’s Day, when Delta was offering 35 miles per dollar).

Bonuses tend to increase around peak retail periods — for example, see United’s recent All Day Recess promotion for back-to-school shopping. Like last year, I expect to see stronger offers as the holiday season approaches. You can earn these points and miles in addition to whatever you’d receive normally for credit card spending, as well as any return you get from retail loyalty programs (like Staples Rewards or Walgreen’s Balance Rewards). That means if you’re planning to shop online anyway, going through a portal is a no-brainer.

The MileagePlus Shopping portal partners with over 850 retailers to give you bonus miles for online purchases.
United (and just about every other airline, hotel chain and more) offers bonuses for online purchases through shopping portals.

Aside from the bonuses, shopping portals are a great option for keeping loyalty accounts active, since spending even a single dollar through a shopping portal can be enough to prevent your points and miles from expiring. That can be a lifesaver if you haven’t banked travel to your account in a while, and don’t have a viable option to transfer points in from elsewhere.

If you aren’t already using shopping portals for your online purchases, I highly recommend doing so. Most major loyalty programs have a shopping portal, so you can earn whichever points or miles you need most, and you can easily jump from one portal to another depending on which has the best offer. To maximize your return, search EVReward to see available bonuses for a given retailer, and use my monthly valuations to help you figure out which points are most valuable. Once you get used to the process, it shouldn’t add more than a few seconds to your shopping trip, and you’ll get paid pretty handsomely for it!

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at

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