I’m personally counting down the days until school starts (18!) both with sadness of another summer gone, but also with downright excitement for the return of a “normal” schedule. I’m sure for most working parents that is a shared sentiment. A new school year pretty much always means new school clothes, uniforms, and school supplies. In my world that means an opportunity to earn miles for things you have to buy anyway! This article states that families with school-aged kids spend an average of $669 on back to school gear – that number is higher for college-aged kids. That is a decent chunk of change that can result in thousand of earned airlines miles or credit card points if you make purchases strategically.
Here are some different current shopping portal payouts and other tips to maximize your mileage earnings for back to school purchases!
How Shopping Portals Work:
If you aren’t familiar with online shopping portals, the numbers below show how many extra points or miles you will earn for your purchase. For example, if you buy something for $100 from Shoemall.com as shown below for 15x then you will get 1,500 extra points for that purchase on top of the ones that you earn for using a credit card. Some portals even have extra bonuses on top of that! It can take a purchase that would have only earned a handful of points on the credit card to one that earns a significant number thanks to using an online portal.
You can often stack coupon codes, free shipping, or in-store pick-up on top of shopping through a portal, but that isn’t always the case. I recommend getting the best deal possible for an item first, and then worry about the miles and points second. Usually you can do both at the same time.
Ultimate Rewards Shopping Portal:
In case you aren’t overly familiar with how the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal works, then head to this post for detailed instructions as it is a little unique. While the Ultimate Rewards portal doesn’t always have the best payout (or the most retailers), they do seem to have some of the better customer service when something goes wrong with the points posting, so keep that in mind as well.
To access the Ultimate Rewards card you must have a card that earns Ultimate Rewards such as Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Plus® Business Card, or Chase Freedom®.
Current Shopping Portal Payouts and Bonuses:
Ultimate Rewards Shopping (amounts can vary some based on what card you are logged in with):
Office Max 5x – Remember that this 5x can stack with the 5x earned on cards like the Ink Plus® Business Card, for a total of 10x!
Apple Store 2x
Dell Home 5x
Bed, Bath, and Beyond 2x
Old Navy 3x
North Face 6x
Bonus: From 7/14/14 through 8/31/ receive 500 bonus miles with every $125 spent online through MileagePlus Shopping; up to 2,000 bonus miles.
Bed, Bath, and Beyond 2x
Gap Kids 2x
Kohls 2x - this also stacks with the 5x quarterly bonus on Kohls for the Chase Freedom®.
Office Max 6x
Best Buy 2x
Bonus: From July 21, 2014 – August 31, 2014 receive a one-time bonus of up to 1,000 bonus points in addition to the standard points earned from Rapid Rewards Shopping. Bonus points will be issued based on cumulative spending: 250 bonus points for $150; 500 bonus points for $300; 750 bonus points for $450; and 1,000 bonus points for $600 or more
Bonus: From 7/14/14 through 8/31/14 11:59 receive 250 bonus miles with every $150 spent online through SkyMiles Shopping. Spend $150, earn 250 bonus miles, spend $300, earn 500 bonus miles, spend $450, earn 750 bonus miles, spend $600, earn 1000 bonus miles.
Remember Amex Sync Statement Credits:
I just did a post about this easy way to save money two days ago, so won’t repeat all the different current options here, but if you pay at a participating retailer with a registered American Express card you can get things like $25 off a $250 Best Buy purchase, $10 off $50 JCPenney purchase, and $5 off $25 Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Remember these are statement credits you eventually get back on your Amex, so you can stack them with shopping through shopping portals, using coupon codes, etc. so it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation.
Shop Online During Tax-Free Weekends:
You would have to pay me big bucks to go to a mall on a tax-free back to school weekend, but those no-tax discounts transfer to many online purchases and can also be stacked with all of the above to save a little more on top of the miles you earned. For example, this coming weekend in Texas there is no tax on clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100 both in stores and online.
Happy shopping and be sure to squeeze some fun out of the remaining summer days before putting those new polo shirts and lunch boxes to good use.