How to earn bonus miles through the AAdvantage shopping portal

Mar 14, 2022

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Online shopping portals are one of the easiest ways to boost your rewards balances. These programs offer bonus points for various airline and hotel programs just for shopping online through the portals. For such an effortless way to earn points, it would be a mistake not to utilize them.

In this guide we’re going to talk about how to use the American Airlines AAdvantage eShopping portal. If you play your cards right, this could be a lucrative tactic that could lead to an award flight sooner than you may have thought. Domestic award bookings start as low as 5,000 AAdvantage miles, but sometimes you can score an even better deal through an AA Web Special.

Not only is the AAdvantage shopping portal a great way to boost your points on top of flying and earning through credit cards, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to double or even triple dip with your credit card rewards. On top of this, all base miles earned through the portal count as Loyalty Points, putting you closer to qualifying for American elite status.

Here’s everything you need to know about earning miles through the AAdvantage portal.

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In This Post

Fundamentals of online shopping portals

Woman sitting at a computer and holding a credit card
(Photo by filadendron/Getty Images)

Online shopping portals allow you to earn bonus points and miles at hundreds of online retailers just by doing business with them through the portal. This already sweet deal gets even more generous when you use a rewards credit card that lets you earn additional points for your spending.

You can earn anywhere from a few extra points on smaller purchases — such as ordering photos through Walgreens — to reaping big rewards when you make significant purchases — like buying a new MacBook — through the portal. The points add up either way.

A practical time to use the portal is when ordering everyday necessities, like contacts. You might not think about earning additional points through purchases like these, but if you were to order through 1-800 Contacts, you could earn 5 miles per dollar spent by starting your shopping through the American Airlines AAdvantage portal. Not only is it convenient, but it adds up and could ultimately lead you to your next vacation just by ordering something you need online and through the portal.

Screenshot of mileage earning rate at 1-800-CONTACTS
(Screenshot from aadvantageshopping.com)

To put it into perspective, say you’re spending $500 per year on contacts. Here’s what you could be earning:

Now, you’ve effortlessly racked up 3,500 bonus miles just by saving yourself time and preordering your contacts online.

Related: Maximizing shopping portals for your online purchases

How to get started with the AAdvantage eShopping portal

Getting started with the AAdvantage shopping portal is incredibly easy. Simply sign up, search for a merchant you want to shop with and click through to your merchant using the link provided by AAdvantage eShopping. Here’s a step-by-step look at how that works:

Sign up for AAdvantage eShopping

Screenshot of welcome page to join for the first time
(Screenshot from aadvantageshopping.com)

You will need to sign up for AAdvantage eShopping whether or not you already have an AAdvantage frequent flyer account. Here, you will link your AAdvantage frequent flyer number and add some personal information.

Make sure to check our list of shopping portal bonuses regularly. Airline shopping portals are known for offering bonuses for new members or for certain spending activities. You may qualify for something like “sign up and spend $300 by [date] to receive 1,000 bonus miles.” These spending offers also come around quite often for existing members.

Browse offers

Screenshot of bonus earnings offers, highlighting Thrive Market 20X offer
(Screenshot from aadvantageshopping.com)

After you’ve signed up, you can browse the thousands of offers available. If you find one you’re interested in, you can click “Shop now,” and it will automatically take you to the online store. However, if you exit the site after clicking through, you will have to repeat this step to reactivate the offer. Bonus miles are only earned if the offer is tracked, and you need to stay on that same page after activating the offer — otherwise, it won’t track correctly.

One of the easiest ways to ensure you don’t miss out on any bonus points is to install the AAdvantage button. This browser extension will alert you with a pop-up anytime you are shopping on a site that’s eligible for bonus points.

Screenshot of information display when going to the store to shop, saying the offer is active
(Screenshot from aadvantageshopping.com)

You will get a message like this if your offer has been activated when you click through to go to the merchant website. If it has not, you’ll see a button that says “Activate Now.”

Related: How to earn miles in the American Airlines AAdvantage program

Tips and reminders

This is a relatively straightforward process, but it’s also easy to miss a few steps the first couple of times using it. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If using the plug-in, you must “activate” the points when alerted by the pop-up. Otherwise, you will miss out on the points completely, which would be a real shame, because you were so close.
  • Before shopping, you must click through the link on the shopping portal. Don’t navigate away and come back later, as the bonus will no longer be activated.
  • You must make sure that you have cookies enabled in your browser for the retailer’s site. This is what allows the portal to track your purchases and award bonuses accordingly. This also means shopping in “private browsing” or “incognito” mode won’t earn bonus miles.
  • Only use promotions or promo codes found on the portal; if you use others, the purchase may become ineligible for bonus points and miles.
  • Consider using shopping portal aggregators like Cashback Monitor. The site allows you to pull up a specific retailer and see the earning rate you’d get across all applicable shopping portals, allowing you to quickly compare earning rates and determine which one offers the best return for the individual merchant you are shopping with.

Earning Loyalty Points toward status

(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

While earning miles that you can redeem for free flights is great in and of itself, miles earned through the portal now count toward elite status, too.

As of 2022, miles earned from online shopping with AAdvantage eShopping or SimplyMiles count toward Loyalty Points at a 1:1 ratio. Since Loyalty Points are used to earn American Airlines elite status, using shopping portals is more beneficial than ever.

Let’s revisit our example above with 1-800 Contacts. If you spend $500 per year on contacts and the portal offers 5 miles per dollar, you’ll earn 2,500 AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points per year as long as the earning rate stays the same. AAdvantage Gold status requires 30,000 Loyalty Points in a year, so you knock out 8.33% of your path to Gold status by purchasing a product you would buy anyway.

Related: This is how many Loyalty Points the TPG staff has earned so far

AAdvantage cards to use when shopping online

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

If you’re loyal to American Airlines and looking to earn status faster, you may want to consider one of the airline’s cobranded credit cards. The airline offers a handful of cobranded cards, and each has different benefits, earning structures and annual fees.

Here’s a look at three of our favorite American cards and their current offers:

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Each dollar spent on one of these cards earns another Loyalty Point, helping you move toward American Airlines elite status even faster.

Related: A new era begins: American has revamped how you earn elite status with ‘Loyalty Points’

Bottom line

When you click through the American Airlines shopping portal, you can rack up miles and Loyalty Points when you shop online. By stacking shopping portal offers and bonus-earning offers, and using the right credit card, you can earn multiple points and miles for each dollar you spend online.

Featured photo by Guido Mieth/Getty Images.

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