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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Chase, who helped his fiancée get a great return on holiday purchases. Here’s what he had to say:
Sephora has a sale each November that my fiancée takes advantage of to stock up on her favorite makeup and skincare products for the coming year. I saw your post last month about elevated shopping portal offers, and it got me thinking about how she could get the best return on her upcoming Sephora haul.
After we researched a few options, she decided to shop through the Alaska Airlines portal for their holiday promotion 1,000 bonus miles after spending $300. She also earned 2 miles per dollar spent through the portal, but that wasn’t all. By using a Sephora gift card generated from the United MileagePlus X app, she earned 6.25 United miles per dollar (5 miles base earnings with a 25% bonus for having the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card). Finally, she topped it off by using her Platinum Card from American Express, which coded the purchase through the app as travel and earned her 5 Membership Reward points per dollar.
In total, her Sephora order of around $300 netted her 1,600 Alaska miles, 1,875 United miles and 1,500 Membership Rewards points on products she was planning to purchase anyways. That equals a return of around 28 percent based on your most recent valuations, and it will all go towards our future travels together. On top of that, we saved a trip to the store and got to skip the long checkout lines during the sale! I hope this story helps others make use of shopping portals and find ways to stack rewards.
One of the most fundamental ways to earn rewards is to maximize your everyday spending, and online shopping portals make that easy. Chase’s fiancée would have earned just 1 mile per dollar (300 total) if she made her Sephora purchase in person with one of the credit cards he mentioned. Using the portal boosted her earnings to over 5 miles per dollar — that’s 1,300 more miles for a few additional clicks. The bonus from any single purchase probably won’t take you far, but the miles add up quickly if you make a habit of checking for the best earning rates before you shop.
I recently shared a story about stacking dining rewards, and Chase’s story illustrates that the same ideas can be applied to other purchases. However, you should balance trying to maximize your rewards with using a card that offers benefits like purchase protection and extended warranty service. It’s worth sacrificing some points to insulate yourself from problems down the road, especially for more expensive items.
I love this story and I want to hear more like it! To thank Chase for sharing his experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending him a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own award travel success stories to firstname.lastname@example.org; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. Feel free to also submit your most woeful travel mistakes. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure!
Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!
Featured image by izusek via Getty Images.