An increasing number of rewards club members are discovering the marvels of online shopping portals where they can pad their points and miles just for doing the shopping they do anyway. Most of the major credit card companies offer an online shopping portal or mall where cardholders can go to shop with popular merchants.
Shoppers can not only find deals on goods and services, they can also earn miles or points on their purchases. While shoppers can expect to earn a minimum number of points per dollar spent through the portal, they will also find merchants periodically offering bonus points.
For example, the AAdvantage eShopping Mall has over 950 merchants with many of the biggest names in retail, including Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, and Target. You can find similar deals on the shopping portals for Marriot Rewards, United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Delta SkyMiles, and many other rewards programs. If you are a participant in their rewards program, you should consider making purchases through their shopping portals.
So Many Shopping Portals, So Little Time
Because there are so many shopping portals, it becomes a challenge to know which ones are offering the best deals.
For example, you might go onto the United MileagePlus shopping portal to shop for school clothes at Gap, which is offering 3X miles. You might think that is a good deal until you go on the AAdvantage eShopping Mall where it is offering 5X miles. You might have to check your Marriott Shop and the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall to make sure you aren’t missing out on a better deal there either.
The earning rates on shopping portals vary widely and are constantly changing, so it can be very time consuming when you want to shop.
As an alternative you can use a shopping portal aggregator, such as EVreward, to search and compare earning rates among all of the shopping portals. EVreward constantly compiles the data from all of the shopping portals and allows you to set up side-by-side comparisons.
You simply search for the merchant you want and EVreward will line up the current earning rates at each of the shopping portals. When you find the best deal, and you are a member of that particular rewards program, you click on the link to go to that shopping mall and start earning miles or points. Just make sure you are logged in as a member on the shopping portal site before clicking through to a merchant or you won’t earn the rewards.
Just Sign Up, Shop, and Start Earning Rewards
If you are not yet a member of a particular rewards program but you like the deals it offers on its shopping portal, you can sign up for the program right on the spot. You don’t necessarily have to use a particular credit card to shop.
For instance, if you are on the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal, you can use any credit card you want. However, you should check to see if your loyalty credit card pays extra bonus points for shopping at its corresponding shopping portal.
It’s probably a good idea to limit your choice of shopping portals to the two or three where you have the best opportunity to build your rewards or miles. Earning shopping rewards is a great way to augment the rewards you earn for traveling or from other purchases.
These are some of the more popular shopping portals based in part on the size of their membership, but also because they offer great variety, and are not shy when it comes to elevating their earning rates.
Some of the Best Shopping Portals
Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall
Unlike most of the airline and hotel shopping portals which only require that you be a member of the rewards program, you have to be a Chase credit cardholder to shop for points on its mall. That doesn’t mean you have to pay for your purchase with a Chase credit card – but the way you earn points is through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, and the only way to be assured of getting your bonus points is to use your Chase credit card. There are nearly 300 participating merchants on the Chase shopping mall.
AAdvantage eShopping Mall
With nearly 1,000 participating merchants, including all of the top retailers and hundreds of specialty shops, the AAdvantage eShopping Mall could very well be your one-stop shopping destination. Shopping is made easy with filters that allow you to shop by merchant name, shopping category, or bonus deals. You’ll find a banner at the top that lists trending deals or you can click on “special offers” to see some of the best deals. You’ll earn additional miles if you shop with an AAdvantage credit card.
United MileagePlus Shopping Mall
If you want to start shopping at the United MileagePlus Shopping Mall, you will earn 1,000 bonus points just for signing up. You can then browse among the more than 850 retailers, specialty shops, and services.
Delta SkyMiles Shopping
The Delta SkyMiles Shopping portal has hundreds of participating retailers and specialty stores. You can easily search by merchant, shopping category, or by the earning rate. You can also look up current special offers. The site also posts a deal of the week banner at the top of the first page.
The one thing to watch out for is the SkyMiles Shopping Assistant, which is a downloadable browser toolbar. When it is loaded on your browser, it will track you when you go to an online merchant website, or search Google or Bing for products. If the same product is available on Delta SkyMiles with miles to earn, it will pop up a reminder. That’s good because you won’t miss opportunities to earn miles. It’s potentially bad because its knows everywhere you go – that is if you’re concerned about privacy issues.
Marriott Rewards MORE
The Marriott Rewards program has always been popular, and now there is a new way to score Marriott points. With its recently launched shopping portal – Marriott Rewards MORE – you can shop a growing number of top retailers and specialty shops, earning valuable Marriott rewards along the way. For a limited time, new members will earn 1,000 bonus points after spending just $25 on their first purchase. If you use a Marriott Rewards credit card, you can earn 25 percent bonus points.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping
Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping competes very well with the other airline shopping malls, offering a great number and wide variety of retailers. Looking at this month’s special offers, nothing stood out as exceptional with mostly 3 and 4X earning rates. What is unusual about its offers is the opportunity to earn 100,000 points when using OpenHouse as a realtor in the purchase or sale of a home. Southwest also has a downloadable toolbar app that works similarly to Delta’s in notifying you when you might be passing up an opportunity to earn miles.
Best of the Rest
At last count there were about two dozen online shopping portals offered by rewards programs as places to go to earn or redeem rewards. You can shop at any of them for free by simply signing up, but you will want to shop where you think you can generate the biggest bang for your buck.
For example, if you are a Discover cardholder, you can earn additional 5X cash back bonuses shopping on Discover Deals. If you prefer to earn Hilton points rather than Marriott points, you can find some great shopping rewards at Hilton’s Shop to Earn Mall. The same goes if you prefer Choice Hotels – you can shop at the Choice Privileges Shopping Mall. Go where you can find the stores you regularly shop at and where you can accumulate the most rewards doing it.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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