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Rewards Programs

Use airline and hotel shopping portals to boost rewards

Summary

Earn airline and hotel points on all kinds of purchases.

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If you are looking for a new way to earn rewards with your favorite airline or hotel’s loyalty program, you might want to see if it offers a shopping portal. Several big programs, including United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards and Hilton Honors, allow members to earn bonus points or miles just by shopping at their favorite retailers.

These shopping portals send you to an eligible website through a special link, where you then shop as normal. By checking for bonus points or discounts offered by your loyalty programs before you shop, you can rack up rewards on even more purchases.

How shopping portals work

If your frequent flyer or hotel loyalty program offers a shopping portal, you can earn points or miles on more than just flight and hotel bookings. When you visit the portal website, you can shop at hundreds of retailers through the links provided. By shopping through this link, the airline or hotel knows to add bonus points to your membership account.

Promotions on shopping portals come in all shapes and sizes, from bonus points to discounts. Whether you are earning an extra 10 points per dollar or receiving free shipping on your order, these deals stack additional savings onto your normal online shopping routine.

Right now, for example, the AAdvantage eShopping Mall is offering the traditional bonus points as well as free return, free shipping and 15 percent off discount promotions.

AAdvantage eShopping Mall

 

One drawback with shopping through these portals is you can’t typically add any outside coupons or discounts. If you are offered a promo code through your shopping portal, you might be able to stack discounts. But Chrome extensions (like Honey) that automatically apply discounts found online will deactivate your bonus points. If you are trying to apply multiple discount codes, you’ll need to be careful not to void the shopping portal offer. Watch out for notifications that you’ve been logged out or redirected.

There is one exception to this, however. If you use a card-linked offer program, and pay with an eligible card after clicking through a shopping portal link, you’ll receive both deals. For example, take this Amex Offer for Crate & Barrel. If you spend $100 or more on their website, you get $20 back, just for paying with your eligible American Express card.

Amex Offers example

 

JetBlue’s shopping portal, ShopTrue, also has an offer at Crate & Barrel, awarding members 1 point per dollar for shopping through their link.

ShopTrue example

If you visit the Crate & Barrel site through ShopTrue’s link and pay with your American Express card, you will earn both 1 JetBlue point per dollar and $20 cash back on your Amex (if you spend $100 or more).

Excluded purchases

Before you make a purchase through a shopping portal, be sure to read the terms and conditions of each retailer. Cash equivalent purchases (like gift cards) usually don’t qualify for rewards points, and you might be restricted even further. Take this ShopTrue offer on Target for example:

ShopTrue example

Grocery, home appliance or personal care purchases made through the ShopTrue portal will not earn the 0.5 points per dollar. While most promotions are not this restricted, you should definitely keep an eye out for what qualifies for rewards.

Shopping portals to use

It seems most major airline and hotel loyalty programs offer a shopping portal nowadays, so log into your membership account to see if one is available. Each shopping portal features different brands and types of deals, so you’ll have to check out each website to get a full list of participating retailers. To learn more about how each of these programs works, check out our individual guides, linked below.

Airline program shopping portals

AirlineShopping portal
Alaska AirlinesMileage Plan Shopping
American AirlinesAAdvantage eShopping Mall
DeltaSkyMiles Shopping
Hawaiian AirlinesHawaiian Miles Online Mall
JetBlueShopTrue
Southwest AirlinesRapid Rewards Shopping
United AirlinesMileagePlus Shopping

 

Hotel program shopping portals

Hotel Shopping portal
HiltonHilton Honors Shop-to-Earn Mall
MarriottShop My Way

How to maximize shopping portals

Shopping portals are a great way to earn rewards on purchases other than flights or hotel stays, but by following a few simple rules, you can maximize your earning potential.

Add your shopping portal’s Chrome extension to your browser

Several of the most popular shopping portals offer Chrome extensions that notify you if the website you are visiting is offering a deal. Depending on the program, you’ll either get a notification when you are on a qualifying site (and can then log in or activate the reward as normal) or automatically receive points (as long as you are logged into your membership account). Check out these extensions for popular programs.

Check shopping portals often for new deals

Even if you have a Chrome extension that automatically searches for eligible purchases, check in on the main portal occasionally. Some deals might be exclusively available if you click through the program’s site.

Check Cashback Monitor for available deals

If your portal doesn’t have a Chrome extension – or if you are part of more than one loyalty program – check Cashback Monitor before you shop online. When you search for a specific retailer, the site will display all the available offers from different shopping portals. You can see which program is offering the best deal, or even catch a deal you would have missed.

Check your card-linked offer program for similar promotions

Always check your card-linked offer program for deals with the same brand before cashing in on a shopping portal promotion. You can occasionally stack deals for bigger savings.

Use a credit card with an online shopping or department store bonus category

When you shop through a shopping portal, you’ll still earn any rewards on your credit card. By shopping with a card that offers bonus cash back on online shopping, you can boost your rewards even further. Here are a few of our favorite cards with relevant bonus categories:

 CardRewards rate
Bank of America Cash Rewards card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

  • 3% cash back on a category of choice (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvements and furnishings)
  • 2% cash back on groceries and wholesale club purchases
  • $2,500 combined limit on 2% and 3% categories each quarter
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
Uber Visa Card

Uber Visa Card

  • 4 points per dollar on restaurants, takeout and bars, including UberEATS
  • 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels and vacation home rentals
  • 2 points per dollar on online purchases, including Uber, online shopping, video and music streaming
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • $50 credit for online subscription services each year you spend $5,000

Final thoughts

If you are already a member of an airline or hotel loyalty program, shopping online through these portals is an easy way to earn extra points toward your next reward redemption. If you don’t currently belong to any of these programs, it might be time to join. You don’t need to stay at a hotel or fly to earn rewards toward your next trip.

See related: A guide to card-linked offer programs: A simple way to earn more rewards, Rocketmiles guide: How to earn airline rewards on hotel stays

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Published: February 5, 2019

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: August 14th, 2019
Business
15.55%
Airline
17.50%
Cash Back
17.63%
Reward
17.50%
Student
17.69%

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