I love shopping portals. I have literally made hundreds of thousands of points all at one time by taking advantage of shopping portals. See how I made 264,000 Ultimate Rewards Points + $1000 shopping at Sears or how I made 189,000 Rapid Rewards Points + a companion pass shopping online. But what exactly are shopping portals and how do they work?
What are Shopping Portals?
A shopping portal is just like the name describes it is a portal (like a doorway) that takes you shopping online. Think of it like a mall. It is full of many shops that are all owned by different companies. What if I told you if you went through one entrance of the mall that you could get 5 miles for every dollar you spent? And if you went through another entrance you could get 10 miles for every dollar? And if you went through yet another entrance you would get no miles at all! That is how they work! But it’s easiest to explain with an example.
How do Shopping Portals Work?
Let’s say you have gone through our Getting Started Page and have already signed up for a free United MileagePlus number. If you haven’t, go do it now! We are going to use the MileagePlus Shopping Portal in our example. This portal gives you United Airlines Miles for shopping in their mall. Some malls you need to create a separate login, but this one you can just log in with your United MileagePlus number and PIN or password you use to access your MileagePlus account online.
After logging in, search for the store you want to go shopping in. FYI here is their version of how the online shopping portal works.
In our example we are going to use Walmart. Online is about the only way I will ever go to Walmart. I search for Walmart in the search box and it brings up a screen that shows details about that merchant.You can see that they are offering 1 Mile for every dollar that you spend. This means if you buy a $500 LCD TV from Walmart on Black Friday, you can get an extra 500 United Miles just by starting your shopping session through this portal! They also list some sale and coupon codes that you can sometimes use. Since you are already logged in just click on the Shop Now button and you will be transported to the exact same Walmart.com as if you went their directly. Same products, same prices.
1 Mile per dollar is pretty much the bare minimum you will find and many of them offer much higher rates. I have even seen up to 60 Miles per dollar on occasion which is incredible!
The miles will typically show in your account after a week or so, but sometimes it might take up to a month to see them reflected. You can see your earning history by clicking on the My Account link at the top right of the screen.
What shopping portals are there?
Almost every major US airline, most hotel chains and even some random point programs have shopping portals. Here are a few of them.
- American Airlines AAdvantage Shopping
- Delta Airlines Skymiles Shopping
- United Airlines MileagePlus Shopping
- US Airways Dividend Plus Shopping
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Shopping
- Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping (my favorite!)
- Marriott Shopping
- Hilton HHonors Shopping
There are also some straight Cashback shopping portals that give you cold hard cash instead of miles such as:
How do I know which shopping portal to use?
Luckily there are web sites whose whole purpose is to help you decide which portal to use. Of course if you are specifically after United Miles then that might be the best one to use. But you should at least compare a few of the portals to make sure a much better deal isn’t available. The shopping portal comparison site I like to use is EVReward.com. If I go to that site and type in Walmart for instance, here is what I see.
I hope this has showed you how easy it is to make extra miles and cash by shopping online. You really shouldn’t shop online without utilizing a shopping portal. If you don’t, you are simply leaving free miles on the ground that you should be picking up. If you have any questions then leave them in the comments and I will answer them.