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TPG reader Julie sent me a message on Facebook to ask about maximizing purchases:
“If I shop through the Delta Shopping portal and pay with my Amex card, will I earn both SkyMiles and Membership Rewards points for my purchases?”
An easy way to boost your loyalty accounts is to look for opportunities to earn rewards from more than one source. Some of these opportunities are intuitive, like earning both airline miles and credit card points for buying airfare. Others take a little more planning or a few extra clicks, but are well worth the effort — shopping portals are a perfect example.
Most loyalty programs offer their own shopping portal, which allows you to earn extra rewards for simply initiating your online shopping trip there. The returns can be huge, with portals sometimes offering as much as 35 points or miles per dollar spent. Even better, you can typically earn those points regardless of which payment method you use, which makes it easy to double-dip.
In Julie’s case, she’ll earn SkyMiles for making eligible purchases through the Delta shopping portal, and she can use whichever credit card she sees fit. For example, she could earn 4 miles per dollar for purchases at Neiman Marcus, plus 1 Membership Rewards point per dollar for using her Amex card. She could also enroll in one of the current Amex offers to earn more Membership Rewards points.
Another example would be to earn 2 SkyMiles per dollar at Staples.com, and then use a card that offers a bonus for spending on office supplies, like the Ink Cash Business Card or the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express. Since the shopping portal and payment method are independent, you can use whichever combination will maximize your rewards.
The earning rates vary between shopping portals, and they often spike during the holiday season, so shop around to find the most rewarding deals. Continuing with the Neiman Marcus example, you could forego Delta and earn 5 or 6 miles per dollar through the Alaska Airlines and American Airlines portals, respectively. Check EVReward.com to compare rates between different portals, and look for promotional bonuses when you spend above a certain threshold (like Delta’s recent offers of 500 miles for spending $150, or 1,500 miles for spending $750).
Featured image courtesy of Hero Images via Getty Images.
The Points Guy Assessment:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards