Earn holiday bonus miles on airline shopping portals

Ring up extra rewards with online shopping via American, Southwest, United

Summer Hull
Personal Finance Writer
Summer Hull writes the weekly "Get to the Points" column for CreditCards.com


How to rack up holiday bonus miles with airline shopping portals

While your family’s holiday shopping may put a dent in your household budget, you can get a big bump of holiday bonus miles just by using airline shopping portals.

According to a National Retail Federation Survey, in 2017, the average American consumer plans to spend $967.13 on holiday-related purchases, and for the first time, online shopping ranks as the most popular holiday shopping destination (as opposed to heading to department stores). 

So, if you’re going to be doing the bulk of your shopping online, why not earn bonus frequent-flyer miles by using airline shopping portals. Use your favorite credit card at any of these airline shopping portals, and you earn your card’s rewards while earning the holiday miles or points bonus! 

How airline shopping portals work

To earn miles on airline shopping portals, you click from your airline shopping site through to your desired retailer’s website. 

For example, before heading to the online Pottery Barn Kids website to order personalized stockings for your little ones to hang on the fireplace, to earn airline miles, you must first head to a site like United MileagePlus Shopping and log in with your frequent-flyer information. 

If you don’t have a frequent-flyer account, just sign up and then immediately earn your first miles online using the airline’s shopping portal. 

Once you are on one of the airline shopping portals, click on Pottery Barn Kids from the list of hundreds of retailer websites. You’ll then be on the PotteryBarnKids.com website where you can shop and make your purchase as you normally would. 

Yes, airline shopping portals add an extra step to your online shopping, but it is a quick one that can literally earn you a free flight as you make your online holiday purchases. 

Airline: Holiday shopping bonus Runs through Holiday bonus details

American: Earn up to 4,000 bonus AAdvantage miles

Nov. 19

500 bonus miles when you spend at least $150.
2,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $600.
4,000 bonus miles when you spend at least $1,200.

Southwest: Earn up to 3,000 bonus points*
Nov. 20 500 bonus miles for spending at least $150.
1,000 bonus miles for spending at least $500.
3,000 bonus miles for spending at least $1,000 or more.

United: Earn up to 5,000 bonus miles
Nov. 19 500 bonus miles for cumulative qualifying purchases of at least $150.
2,500 bonus miles for cumulative qualifying purchases of at least $750.
5,000 bonus miles for cumulative qualifying purchases of $1,500 or more.

* Note: Holiday bonus points will not count toward earning a Southwest Companion Pass, but the points per dollar earned on your purchases will count toward earning a Companion Pass.

Tips for earning airline miles for your online shopping

If you have a bunch of online shopping to do this month, know that you can earn one holiday shopping bonus from each airline’s site. Theoretically, this means you could earn a total of 12,000 bonus airline miles if you maxed out all three of these holiday shopping airline mileage bonuses! 

On top of that, you will also earn miles for each dollar you spend via these online sites, which can add up quickly since retailers can offer up 15 miles per dollar spent, or potentially even more. You will see this total listed next to the retailer’s name in the online shopping site. 

You will also still earn miles or points by paying for your purchase with your favorite rewards-earning credit card. 

That is a great way to stack your rewards: Holiday bonus + miles/points earned on each $1 spent via airline shopping portal + your credit card’s rewards

Since these shopping sites use cookies to track your eligible purchases, you are best served by clicking from the airline shopping site to your selected retailer and then making your purchase while on that site in that particular browsing session. 

If you get distracted or decide to come back to the purchase later, I would start again from the airline shopping site to be sure that your purchases are tracked correctly. 

My family’s holiday bonus haul

My family earns well over 10,000 airline miles virtually every holiday shopping season, in large part thanks to these online airline shopping bonuses. 

It is realistic to value those 10,000 airline miles between $150 to $200, so don’t miss out on turning holiday purchases into future vacations!  

See related: 5 ways to earn airline miles without an airline card, Rev up holiday rewards with your card’s shopping portal, 4 easy ways to stack your card rewards, Rack up card rewards with holiday bonuses, perks

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Updated: 09-26-2018