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I have talked several times about online shopping portals (here, here, and here). Many airlines and credit cards have shopping portals that try to get you to link through to other shopping websites from theirs. In exchange, they grant you free miles. If you are a human, I’m betting you shop. If you are reading this blog, I’m betting you use the internet. If you use the internet, I’m betting you shop online. I’m psychic like that! So, if you are shopping online anyways, make sure you are getting rewarded for it!
The United Airlines shopping portal doesn’t offer the best point values out there. For example, 4x points is a pretty standard offer on many these days, but I really like to try to find deals in the 6-10x range. If you are making a $50 online purchase, that would translate to 200 points at 4x and up to 2,000 points at 10x. I once bought flowers at 50x points. That was freaking amazing! United’s offers are primarily 4x points and under. What it typically lacks in points, it makes up for in variety. United’s portal does have a really large selection of stores, some of which I have not found on other shopping portals (like Little Tyke’s), so it is worth taking a look at the variety of stores they have to offer. The reason for this post though is to tell you about a current promotion they have that makes it worth trying out.
Until the end of June they are giving 1,000 bonus miles if you spend $100 with an online shopping partner through their portal. The terms and conditions make it appear that all transactions will count towards the $100, implying that it doesn’t have to be all in one transaction (but I’m not a lawyer, so check out the terms for yourself). I bought a Little Tykes trike and a Pottery Barn drink dispenser to meet my $100. My $70 Pottery Barn purchase gave me 2.5 miles per dollar, so 175 miles. The Little Tykes trike was $30 at 2 miles per dollar, so 60 miles. This is in addition to the regular 1 mile per dollar I get for using my Continental credit card, so in total, my purchases gave me approximately 335 miles plus the 1,000 mile bonus for spending $100. That’s a total of 1,335 miles for $100 worth of purchases that I was going to make anyway. Remember, a domestic round-trip ticket typically goes for 25,000 miles, so that is a good chunk towards a free flight just for those two purchases.
The Little Tykes miles posted directly into my United Airlines account about 2 weeks after the purchase, and I am still waiting on the Pottery Barn points. UPDATE: The Pottery Barn points posted about 3-4 weeks after the initial purchase. Not too shabby! Both transactions were made on the same day. Over the years I have found that some miles from shopping portals post within a few weeks, some take several months, and others you have to “fight” for. Of course, if you don’t have time to email back and forth for missing points, you can just appreciate the ones that post correctly and not worry about the ones that don’t. Since I’m points obsessive crazy, I try and go after every mile or point I have coming to me. The retailers typically state it will be anywhere from 6-10 weeks for the points to post, so you do need some patience.
Remember that when using shopping portals, you have to click on the retailer you want to shop from while on the portal, and then not leave that site again until you make your purchase (or just go back through the portal if you get side-tracked and need to start again later). You also need to log in using the frequent flier number associated with the portal you are using. So, for the United portal you need to have a United Mileage Plus number and log in using that number on the portal’s site before you start shopping.
Check out the beautiful Pottery Barn drink dispenser that will house a couple gallons of fruity Sangria for my Mommy Play Group party this weekend. (More on that point-filled extravaganza later) If you want your own, go through United’s portal and pick one up – they are 20% off right now! Bottoms up!