TPG reader credit card question: Which credit card should I use in shopping portals?

Aug 17, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.

Savvy TPG readers know that while credit card sign-up bonuses and bonus categories are usually the fastest way to rack up points and miles, it’s also important to look for opportunities to double-dip and earn as many miles as possible on each purchase you make. TPG reader Beth wants to know if it matters which card she pays with when purchasing through a shopping portal.

Can I use a shopping portal from one program but pay with another? For example, use the AAdvantage shopping portal but pay with my Chase Sapphire Reserve?


Get the latest points, miles and travel news by signing up for TPG’s free daily newsletter.

Online shopping portals are one of the best ways to earn bonus miles on everyday purchases with thousands of online merchants. Most major airlines and hotel chains offer a shopping portal, and Chase even has its own version for Ultimate Rewards-earning cards.

If you don’t want to bother with points and miles, there are also a number of cash-back portals like Rakuten (though Rakuten also lets you earn your rewards as Amex Membership Rewards points, which is an amazing opportunity). This array of options allows you to pick what type of rewards you want to earn. Any time you’re shopping online, you should check a site like to compare earning rates across multiple portals.

Related: The beginner’s guide to airline shopping portals

Current shopping portal earning rate at Nike, according to
Current shopping portal earning rate at Nike, according to

The good news for Beth is that most programs don’t care which card you use to pay, and you can mix and match as you please. One day you can use a card such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited to earn a solid return on non-bonus spend, and then you can switch to a brand new card if you’re working on earning a sign-up bonus. These shopping portals earn their commission by directing you to the merchant where you make a purchase, so you would even earn bonus miles from the portal if you paid with a debit card (but please don’t).

Now, it’s worth pointing out that if you invert Beth’s question and look at the other side, there’s one important exception to this rule: the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. When you log in to your Ultimate Rewards account and navigate to the shopping portal, you’ll be told that you need to use a Chase card to earn the bonus. Many people have successfully earned bonus miles even if paying with another card, but this is not how the program was designed to work and it might cause headaches if your purchase doesn’t track correctly.

In addition, these portals can be a little glitchy, so I strongly suggest only clicking through to the store when you know what you want to buy and are ready to checkout (i.e. do your browsing first). I usually add all the items I want to my cart before activating the shopping portal, and I find that it helps my purchases track better. It also helps to close out extra tabs and make sure you only have one browser window open at a time. Finally, be sure to read the exact terms of the given merchant, as certain types of purchases — mostly gift cards or other cash equivalents — are generally excluded from earning shopping portal bonuses.

(Screenshot courtesy of
(Screenshot courtesy of

Many airlines also offer dining rewards programs, which follow a similar concept as online shopping portals. The one major difference is that you have to link your card of choice online before going out to eat at an eligible restaurant. While you can only link each card to one program (so you can’t register your Chase Sapphire Reserve with American and United at the same time) you’re free to use any card you want with these portals, and there’s no requirement to stay within the same program.

Bottom Line

Shopping portals are a free and easy double-dip opportunity, and if you ever shop online, it’s an absolute no-brainer to use them. You’re free to use whatever payment method you want when shopping through these sites, giving you valuable flexibility in choosing the type of rewards you want to earn on the purchase.

Thanks for the question, Beth, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at

Featured photo by Poike / Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.