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The holiday season brings a variety of point and miles earning opportunities. Whether it’s buying gifts for your favorite traveler or using the best credit card for these purchases, you can do many things to boost your account balances before the end of the year. One of the best ways to do this is through airline shopping portals, and one carrier just sweetened the deal for those of you in need of last-minute gifts.

If you've waited until the last minute, you may be able to earn bonus American miles for your gift purchases.
If you’ve waited until the last minute, you may be able to earn bonus American miles for your gift purchases.

Through December 24, you can earn bonus American miles and take advantage of other discounts when you shop at select retailers through AAdvantage eShopping. These offers are actually grouped into three different categories:

  1. Green Monday (generally the second Monday in December and the third largest online shopping day of the year)
  2. Free Shipping
  3. BOPUIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In Store)
  4. eGift Cards & Last Minute Gifts

Let’s take a closer look and see if any of these bonuses are worth your while.

Green Monday

As mentioned above, Green Monday generally refers to the second Monday in December — it’s typically the third largest online shopping day of the year (behind Cyber Monday and the Tuesday immediately following Cyber Monday). It dates back almost 10 years and started with eBay. Not surprisingly, the online auction site is one retailer with elevated offers for United miles in this first wave.

Here’s the full list along with applicable dates:

Retailer Usual bonus Elevated bonus Applicable dates
eBay 1 mile/$ 4 miles/$ December 11 – 14
New Balance 5 miles/$ 10 miles/$ December 11 – 14
Macy’s 3 miles/$ 6 miles/$ December 11 – 14
Kohl’s 2 miles/$ 6 miles/$ December 11 – 14
HP Home 2 miles/$ 4 miles/$ December 11 – 14
Lenovo 2 miles/$ 4 miles/$ December 11 – 14
Bose 3 miles/$ 6 miles/$ December 11 – 12
Omaha Steaks 7 miles/$ 14 miles/$ December 11 – 14
Aveda 5 miles/$ 10 miles/$ December 11 – 14

As you can see, many of the merchants are offering a big jump through the end of the day today (12/14). Just be sure you pull the trigger soon! These bonuses end at 11:59pm tonight.

Free Shipping

The second wave of retailers includes both bonus miles as well as free shipping offers. Here’s a detailed break-down of the merchants in this category:

Retailer

Usual bonus

Elevated bonus

Applicable dates

Barneys New York

2 miles/$

6 miles/$

December 15 – 18

Toys “R” Us

1 mile/$

3 miles/$

December 15 – 18

Dell Home

3 miles/$

6 miles/$

December 15 – 18

The Finish Line

4 miles/$

8 miles/$

December 15 – 18

Kmart

3 miles/$

6 miles/$

December 15 – 18

Bed, Bath & Beyond

2 miles/$

6 miles/$

December 15 – 18

Bloomingdale’s

4 miles/$

8 miles/$

December 15 – 18

Nordstrom

4 miles/$

6 miles/$

December 15 – 18

Backcountry.com

6 miles/$

10 miles/$

December 13 – 18

It’s important to note that the free shipping offers aren’t automatic and across the board. Some require a minimum purchase while others require you to add a coupon code at checkout. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for the individual merchant so you know what to expect when it comes to earning American miles!

BOPUIS

The third category is an acronym that I had to Google to see what it stood for. BOPUIS stands for “Buy Online, Pick Up In Store.” As we get further and further into December, many sites start posting cutoff dates to receive gift before Christmas via standard shipping, and picking up an item in the store is an easy way to get around that. Here are the details for the merchants in this category:

Retailer

Usual bonus

Elevated bonus

Applicable dates

Neiman Marcus

6 miles/$

10 miles/$

December 15 – 18 and 20 – 22

Sears

3 miles/$

6 miles/$

December 15 – 18 and 20 – 22

Walmart

1 mile/$

3 miles/$

December 15 – 18 and 19 – 21

L.L. Bean

2 miles/$

4 miles/$

December 15 – 18 and 19 – 21

Jos. A. Bank

5 miles/$

10 miles/$

December 15 – 18 and 19 – 21

Apple Store

1 mile/$

3 miles/$

December 15 – 18 and 19 – 21

Cabela’s

3 miles/$

6 miles/$

December 15 – 18 and 19 – 21

While this category is geared towards picking up your item(s) in store, it does appear that all purchases should earn the higher bonuses. However, be sure to read the details for each store’s offer before you click through.

eGift Cards & Last Minute Gifts

The final category is fantastic for anyone on your list who’s typically hard to shop for. Many retailers restrict your ability to earn bonus miles through shopping portals when you purchase gift cards, but for a few days, select stores are lifting this restriction. These last wave is also great for procrastinators who need last-minute gifts! Here’s a break-down of the participating retailers:

Retailer

Usual bonus

Elevated bonus

Applicable dates

Rosetta Stone

7 miles/$

16 miles/$

December 22 – 24

Home Depot

2 miles/$

4 miles/$

December 15 – 16 and 22 – 24

Groupon

3 miles/$

6 miles/$

December 15 – 18 and 22 – 24

LivingSocial

3 miles/$

6 miles/$

December 15 – 18 and 22 – 24

Gilt City

2 miles/$

4 miles/$

December 15 – 18 and 22 – 24

Restaurant.com

11 miles/$

16 miles/$

December 15 – 18 and 22 – 24

Magazines.com

20 miles/$

25 miles/$

December 15 – 18 and 22 – 24

REI

3 miles/$

6 miles/$

December 15 – 18 and 22 – 24

Example

Here’s an example of how this promotion can result in some significant earnings. Let’s say that you have a friend or family member who wants to learn a new language. AAdvantage eShopping usually offers you 7 miles per dollar spent at Rosetta Stone, but from December 22-24, this earning rate jumps to 16 miles per dollar spent. You decide to spend an even $500 and you use TPG’s recommended card for everyday non-bonus spending: the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express.

Your earnings are thus:

$500 x 1 point per dollar spent = 500 Starpoints (worth $12.50 based on TPG’s valuations)
$500 x 16 miles per dollar spent = 8,000 AAdvantage miles (worth $136)

Total Rewards = $148.50

Total Return = 29.7%

That’s a solid return for your holiday shopping!

Maximizing with Gift Cards

While you typically can’t earn bonus points or miles through shopping portals by purchasing gift cards, I have been able to use retail gift cards to pay for the purchase and earn bonus points or miles.

A few retailers in the above table do have electronic gift cards (delivered via e-mail) on Staples.com, including Sears and Macy’s. You also may be able to find additional ones in an actual store, though you also have the option of purchasing them in grocery stores (with a card like the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card from American Express) or gas stations (with a card like the Citi ThankYou Premier Card).

Etihad A380 Featured
Etihad’s A380 First Apartment is a fantastic use of AAdvantage miles, and this promotion can put you closer to that redemption!

Bottom Line

Everyone should be making online purchases through shopping portals as it is, but it’s great to see one airline offering an additional incentive to shop through its site. Even though American will be significantly devaluing its award chart in March 2016, you still have many ways to get a ton of value from redeeming AAdvantage miles before that happens. This holiday promotion can hopefully put you even closer to that dream trip!

Will you be taking advantage of these bonuses through AAdvantage eShopping?

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®
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More Things to Know
  • For a limited time, earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
  • Enjoy Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines flights*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases.1
  • Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*
  • Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back — up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.24% - 24.24%* (Variable)
Annual Fee
$95, waived for first 12 months*
Balance Transfer Fee
3.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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.

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