For those of you that use your credit card points to give you an extra trip at the end of the year, utilizing the shopping portals can give you that extra leverage of points that you need in order to maximize that amount of miles that you can earn per dollar. Taking that $365 purchase to up to 6000+ miles, Yowzah! It’s so easy that this makes couponing look like rocket science. Listen, if you are going to spend the money to pay for whatever it is you want, why not make frequent flyer points and get a free trip out of it?
First and foremost for those of you who don’t know what shopping portals are they looks something like this:
These portals are run by various airlines, hotel chains, and even credit card companies. They have hundreds of stores that are in their inventory and even some stores where you can get your groceries from! The only way that you can actually earn the mileage, is if you:
a) Sign up and link your frequent flyer # to your shopping portal account (account is free)
b) Start at the portal FIRST before you go into the store.
Unlike the Dining Portals, you can use any form of payment (except for cash, reason being is that you can’t hand them physical cash through the computer, but atm/debit cards are fine) even gift cards! I’ll get to that in a minute.
The only caveat to the shopping portals is that they do have some restrictions. Most of the time they do not allow any sort of gift card purchases, coupons or promotions outside of what is already offered on the website. So that promo card that Bed Bath and Beyond sends you for 30% off in the mail, if you use that then the mileage bonus is null and void, so read the exceptions first before you shop. They typically show up before they transfer you over to the actual website.
Finding the Peak Times for Multipliers
As you can see, some stores have multipliers where you can get more miles to the dollars. THESE CHANGE DAILY. So if you play your cards right, you can get pinpoint the days where some stores are at their peak before they drop back down. I’ve noticed a trend that when points are amplified to their highest amount they don’t last for longer than 3 days. For example: Macy’s typically gives a 2mi/ $1 multiplier on any given occasion. However during a promotion right now on the portal they’re giving an additional 6000 miles if you spend over $1250. So 4 days before the promotion ends, Macy’s amplified their mileage to 8mi/$1 for three days. However on the last day of the promotion, they dropped it to 6mi/$1. Now this is always subject to change.
Using the United Mileage X App
My best friend actually told me about this app. This app is God sent for those of us who like to shop online and get points, but want to be in the stores to try the stuff on and get the product right away. I don’t need to go too much into detail, you can get the jist of it in the video below:
You must have a smart phone in order to use this device since it is an app that is FREE in the app store. It is available for android and iOS systems so no one feels left out. All the multipliers can range anywhere from 1-5mi/ $1, however these don’t change. If you haven’t figured out in the video already, the app basically creates a gift card for the exact amount of your purchase. So when you’re paying tell the clerk that you’re paying with a gift card. What’s nice about this, is that you can use this at select restaurants as well in order to pay for your meals. Side note: make sure that you check the range of how much you can make a gift card for, some places have minimums so you may end up overspending!
Maximizing the Multipliers with the United Mileage X App
Its a bit easier to show you how to do this if I just show you an example of what I did. In this instance, I was doing my Christmas shopping at Sephora.com on the United Shopping Portal.
So please imagine this says 12 miles/$ because that what it said yesterday, and since I was shopping until 11:30pm I couldn’t get myself to write this post and grab a pic (so forgive me). See how it changes and drops so quickly?! Anyway, at this point I had completely re-arranged my Christmas list because on the United Mileage X app Sephora was at it’s regular 5mi/$
Now since the app created an online ‘gift card’, what’s to stop me from purchasing the items online and using the gift card that I made on the app and using it online? Nothing. So I did! In addition, I used my United Explorer Card to purchase the gift card on the app which gives me an extra mile for every dollar I spend. So to recap:
12 Miles/ $ – Sephora.com via United MileagePlus Shopping portal
5 Miles/ $ – Sephora Gift Card via United Mileage X App
1 Mile/ $ – United Explorer Credit Card
= 18 Miles/ $
Total Spent: $365
Total Mileage Earned: 6,570
I personally like to *favorite* all the stores that are both on the United Mileage App and on the Shopping Portal so that I know that I can maximize on mileage bonuses when I need to go shopping and see what my options are when picking the bonus that offers the most. So for this upcoming holiday season I hope you try this out and hopefully if you can plan it right you can manage to get some extra miles for a nice trip!