Shopping portals are websites that allow you to earn miles or points for a loyalty program when you do online shopping. They are a great way to supplement your miles and points earnings, often allowing you to net an extra few thousand miles a year. It’s usually pretty easy to find products you were already looking to buy since so many different major retailers are partners with shopping portals. You’ll often find that you’ll earn 1 to 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases but there are a few ways to earn much more than this.
The first is to jump on special bonus earning rates. For example, you might see that a portal is offering 15 miles per dollar spent at Nike but this may only last for 24 to 48 hours. Thus, these type of promotions are harder to jump on and may not be good for you if you didn’t already have plans to buy products from that merchant.
Another great way to capitalize on shopping portals is to utilize them during the seasonal promotions which come every year. We see these promotions during different holidays and every year when school starts.
And now the back to school promotions are here once again. While these are “back to school” bonuses the eligible retailers are not limited to merchants where you’d typically purchase school-related purchases from. You should be able to utilize this promo for general shopping at all stores in the portal, unless otherwise stated.
Keep in mind that these promotions are based on cumulative qualifying purchases. So if you spend $600 on the United shopping portal to earn 3,000 miles you don’t also get 500 miles + 1,500 miles that you would earn from the lower tiers.
It looks like these end on August 18, so you’ve got a couple of weeks to take advantage of them.
I won’t run down every single back to school promotion that’s out there but there are a few you want to consider.
United MileagePlus Shopping Portal
Out of these three United probably has the strongest offer but you should only use the portal that you’ll get the most use from. Remember, portals are generally only going to earn you enough miles to supplement your earnings from flying or credit card sign-up bonuses so you don’t want to go chasing a shopping portal promotion just because it earns more miles than another program. It’a all about what’s useful to you.
And if you’re new to shopping portals make sure you’re familiar with the basics of using them before you proceed. The biggest thing that you want to remember is to turn off your ad blocker because that can interfere with the tracking process and cause you to miss out on your bonus. Also, gift cards are excluded.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.