The internet has become the great equalizer for shopping. With a few clicks, you can compare prices for just about anything. Thus, stores have turned to bonuses to get you to shop there.
Before we go any farther, here’s a key point: You should never, ever buy anything online without determining if you can get some sort of rebate, whether it’s frequent flyer miles, cash (Yes, there is a way to do that and I’ll get to it in a future post. Contact me if you want the details now.) or something else. For now, we’ll stick to miles.
Virtually every airline has a shopping portal which will give you miles for shopping through them. The merchants buy miles from American and award them to you for making purchases. Why would merchants do this? Well, it’s for the same reason that frequent flyer programs exist: they have to. Their competitors are doing it, so they need to, also. Some airlines require you to set up a separate user name and password for the shopping portal, some do not.
If you want direct links to each airline’s shopping portals, they’re at the bottom of this post. But here’s an example of how to navigate a site to find them, as well.
For this example, we’ll assume that you are going to buy flowers and want to earn miles on American Airlines. Your first step is to visit American’s site at AA.com. In the top right-hand corner, you see “Aadvantage,” which is the name of their frequent flyer program. Click on it and then click on “Earn Miles” in the drop-down menu. Choose the category (Retail and Dining) and Aadvantage eShopping Mall. Then, click on “Shop Online” in the blue bar and “All Online Stores” in the drop-down menu. Someday, somebody will have to explain to me why the airlines put in so many steps, but at least it’s fairly intuitive . Still, for the future, if you want to skip all of the above, here’s the direct link to the shopping portal.
Let’s buy some flowers now. On the left-hand side, you can see that “Flowers, Food & Gifts” is a category, so go ahead and click on it. Click “Flowers” and then look at the merchants. Merchants are awarding anywhere from 4-30 miles per dollar spent. FTD.com has the biggest payout, at 30 miles/dollar. Click on “Shop Now” and you’ll get the following message:
You’re on your way to FTD.com!
Place an order now, and you will earn 30 miles/$.
It’s that simple.
Thank you for shopping through the AAdvantage eShopping℠ mall.
And that’s it! Shop as you normally would and the miles should show up in your American Airlines account within days. It’s also worth noting that if you already know the merchant you want to shop with, in the middle of the page, you can simply click on the first letter of the merchant’s name. Virtually every merchant you can think of is represented, with the glaring exception of Amazon.
Remember, never shop online without finding a way to get something back!