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Maximizing Shopping Portals for Valentine's Day Purchases

Feb. 01, 2017
6 min read
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Valentine’s Day is coming up quickly, and if you plan on purchasing flowers, candy, jewelry or other gifts for your loved ones, make sure to do so via an online shopping portal to earn extra points.

Why You Should Use a Portal

If you’re not familiar with portals, here’s a little info on what they are and why you should use them. Many hotel and airline loyalty programs partner with retailers to offer consumers bonus points and miles for shopping online. It's easy: You register your loyalty account with the shopping portal and click through to your preferred retailer. A cookie tracks your purchase, and then you’ll earn bonus points and miles on your purchase.

The best thing about portals is the double-dip: Not only do you earn bonus points or miles on your purchase when you click through a portal, but if you use a travel rewards credit card you can earn even more points or miles. For example, using your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can earn 1 point per dollar spent at ProFlowers, plus 15 American Airlines miles when you go through the AAdvantage eShopping portal.

If you’re unsure which portal is offering the best deal and you participate in various loyalty programs, you can always check EVReward to see the different rewards offered across different programs.

Use EV Reward to see your best earning options by vendor.

While many retailers offer coupon codes that can lower the total cost of your purchase, you should only use codes listed on your portal of choice. If you use a code that isn’t listed on the shopping portal, you may be ineligible for bonus points or miles through the portal.

This Valentine's Day season, we've got even better news: American and United's shopping portals have a way for you to triple-dip: In addition to using your favorite credit card and getting bonus points from a specific vendor, the two airlines are also offering additional spend bonuses, which are detailed out below.

Extra Bonus Offers

American AAdvantage eShopping (through 11:59:59pm ET on Feb. 13, 2017)

  • Earn 500 miles for qualifying purchases of at least $125.
  • Earn 1,000 miles for qualifying purchases of at least $250.

The bonus amounts are based on cumulative qualifying spend. Bonus points will post 8-10 weeks after the promotional period.

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United MileagePlus Shopping (through 11:59:59pm ET on Feb. 14, 2017)

  • Earn 500 miles for qualifying purchases of at least $125.
  • Earn 1,000 miles for qualifying purchases of at least $250.

The bonus amounts are based on cumulative qualifying spend. Bonus points are posted 8-10 weeks after the promotional period.

Make sure to shop via an online portal to maximize points and miles earnings. Image courtesy of MicroStockHub via Getty Images.

Valentine's Day Deals by Portal and Vendor

Here are some shopping options by airline portal and vendor so you can maximize your points earnings this Valentine’s Day. The value of each loyalty currency is based off of TPG's latest valuations.

AAdvantage eShopping (1 mile = 1.5 cents)

  • Shari's Berries: 12 miles per dollar
  • FromYou Flowers: 12 miles per dollar
  • 1-800 Flowers: 10 miles per dollar
  • ProFlowers: 15 miles per dollar
  • Fannie May: 8 miles per dollar
  • 25 miles per dollar
  • Earn 1,500 miles per order (use promo code PESLAMA)

Chase Ultimate Rewards (1 point = 2.1 cents)

  • Shari's Berries: 12 points per dollar
  • ProFlowers: 15 points per dollar
  • Blue Nile: 3 points per dollar
  • The Body Shop: 4 points per dollar
  • Cheryl's Cookies: 8 points per dollar
  • 15 points per dollar

Delta SkyMiles Shopping (1 mile = 1.2 cents)

  • Things Remembered: 4 miles per dollar
  • Coach: 4 miles per dollar
  • Kiehl's: 4 miles per dollar
  • L'Occitane: 4 miles per dollar
  • Gilt: 2 miles per dollar
  • 25 miles per dollar
  • Personal Creations: 20 miles per dollar

Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping (1 point = 1.5 cents)

  • See's Candies: 3 points per dollar
  • Perfumania: 4 points per dollar
  • Cheryl's Cookies: 6 points per dollar
  • Personal 7 points per dollar
  • Ghiardelli: 4 points per dollar

United MileagePlus Shopping (1 mile = 1.5 cents)

  • ProFlowers: 8 miles per dollar
  • Minted: 3 miles per dollar
  • Coach: 4 miles per dollar
  • Cookies by Design: 3 miles per dollar
  • FromYou Flowers: 7 miles per dollar
  • 25 miles per dollar

Deciding Which Card to Use

When your spending falls under a bonus category like travel or dining, it’s easy to decide which card to use: one that qualifies you for the extra rewards! But for non-bonus-category spending, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which card is best. If you’re trying to stock up on points or miles with a specific loyalty program, consider using a card that earns you currency in that program, and if you’re working toward a welcome bonus, it probably makes sense to use that card for your purchase.

Assuming you aren’t working toward a credit card bonus or trying to accumulate rewards with a specific program, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is a great option. The card earns just 1 Starpoint per dollar spent on non-Starwood/Marriott purchases, but at 2.7 cents apiece, Starpoints are the most valuable loyalty currency in TPG’s book. TPG has even recommended this card as the best option for non-bonus category spending. In addition to earning you valuable Starpoints, as an Amex card it offers great purchase protection, customer service and extended warranty coverage. It’s always nice to know you’re protected when making an important purchase, especially one like expensive jewelry for Valentine's Day.

There's also the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card, which earns you Membership Rewards points on all purchases (including 3 points per dollar on the first $6,000 spent at US supermarkets per year), and you get a 50% bonus when you hit 30 transactions in a billing period, so even for non-bonus spending you can earn 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent. This is a great way to earn points while taking advantage of the solid purchase protection Amex offers.

Another great option for non-bonus spending is the Chase Freedom Unlimited. This card earns you 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and if you also hold a premium Ultimate Rewards-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, you can redeem your rewards as points and get a 3.15% return on all spending.

Bottom Line

If you plan on doing any Valentine’s Day shopping (or really any shopping at all, ever) do it through a portal so you can get those extra points and miles.

Happy Valentine’s Day — and happy shopping!

Featured image by Getty Images/iStockphoto