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Earning Tons of Extra Miles on a Large Purchase — Reader Success Story

Jan. 03, 2017
5 min read
Earning Tons of Extra Miles on a Large Purchase — Reader Success Story
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One of the things I love most about being The Points Guy is getting to hear stories from readers about how award travel has affected their lives — the exotic vacations they’ve planned, the trips they’ve made to be with family and friends, the premium seats and suites they’ve experienced and so much more, all made possible by points and miles. I love to travel and explore, and it’s an honor to be able to help so many of you get where you want to go.

I like to share these success stories to help inspire you the way you inspire me! From time to time I pick one that catches my eye and post it for everybody to enjoy. If you're interested in sharing your own story, email it to; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. If we publish it, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure!

Recently, I posted a success story from Matthew, who used points and miles to avoid an overnight weather delay. Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Jared, who took advantage of a credit card offer and shopping portal bonus to earn a ton of rewards for a major purchase. Here's what he had to say:

Jared jumped on an increased bonus from the United MileagePlus shopping portal earlier this year.

Over the last few years I've been eyeing the mountain bike of my dreams, but I wasn't able to justify the high price tag. However, a few recent bonus offers helped make it possible.

In October, I read your article about the elevated bonus miles available through United MileagePlus Shopping. The bike I wanted was available for purchase on, which is one of the retailers featured on United's portal. The normal rate is 3 miles per dollar, but at the time that rate had jumped up to 20 miles per dollar!

The bike cost $3,150, so I was able to earn 63,000 bonus United miles for by using MileagePlus Shopping. On top of that, I took your advice once again by opening a Chase Sapphire Reserve, and used the bike purchase to meet the spending requirements for the sign-up bonus. That earned me 103,150 Ultimate Rewards points, so based on your most recent valuations, I earned over $3,100 worth of travel rewards in total.

I'm looking forward to spending those rewards on more travel adventures with my wife, as we're planning a business-class trip to New Zealand and Australia. Thanks to you, we're also learning how to use United's Excursionist Perk to build a free stopover into our itinerary for travel between the two countries. Thanks again TPG!

Shopping portals offer an easy way to boost rewards for online purchases. You can get points and miles on top of what you earn from credit card spending, and using a portal only requires a few extra clicks, so there's no real downside. You'll typically get a few extra points per dollar, but many retailers offer outsized rewards during the holidays or other peak shopping periods.

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Jared's smartly increased his return by also jumping on one of the top credit card offers currently available. Sign-up bonuses are great for maximizing rewards on large purchases, since you can meet the spending requirements and have those points at your disposal quickly. Of course, you shouldn't overextend your finances just to earn a sign-up bonus. It's a good strategy for purchases you already plan to make, but I don't recommend making charges you can't pay off in full immediately.

Jared and
Jared and his wife will put points earned from the bike purchase toward more travel adventures together.

I love this story and I want to hear more like it! To thank Jared for sharing his experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending him a $200 Visa gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you.

Again, if the strategies you’ve learned here have helped you fly in first class, score an amazing suite, reach a far-flung destination or even just save a few dollars, please indulge me and the whole TPG team by emailing us with your own success stories (see instructions above). Feel free to also submit stories of your most egregious travel mistakes. In either case, you’ll have our utmost appreciation, along with some extra spending money for your next trip.

Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!