Earn Thousands of Miles for Back to School Shopping

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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!

Enjoy the last few lazy days of summer

Enjoy the last few lazy days of summer

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

JCPenney 10x

Old Navy 3x

Shoemall.com 15x

Shoes.com 10x

Target 3x

North Face 6x

Walmart 2x


United MileagePlus Shopping:

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.

United Shopping Promo


Bed, Bath, and Beyond 2x

Gap Kids 2x

Staples 2x

Target 2x

Toms 5x

Kohls 2x – this also stacks with the 5x quarterly bonus on Kohls for the Chase Freedom®.


AAdvantage Shopping:

Sears 6x

Kmart 5x

Office Max 6x

Target 4x

Best Buy 2x


Southwest Rapid Rewards

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

Southwest Shopping Promo

Macys 4x

Sephora 8x


Delta SkyMiles Shopping:

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.

Delta Shopping BonusGap 3x

Nordstrom 6x

Shoes.com 8x

Macys 4x


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.

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Disclaimer: The comments below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.



  1. This is a great post and I really hope that anyone that has school age kids/college students will take advantage of all of these great mile earning opportunities. I have two college age students and books can be expensive. First, I comparison shop for the best price for books and I always shop through portals. This year I have found that renting some of their books is cheaper and you can still shop through the shopping portals and earn points and miles. Also, if your school allows, use your credit cards to pay for tuition if your school doesn’t charge a fee. I was able to do this with for one of my son’s tuition. If there is a fee, it may not be worth it.

    • Kathy, thanks and love the idea of renting college books through shopping portals. Which companies do you use? Also awesome when you have to pay a college that doesn’t charge a fee for using a card on tuition!

  2. I found a great site http://www.dealoz.com/price/index. You type in the ISBN # of the book you need to buy and it finds the best price online. It made my job super easy since I have 2 college students. It even gave me coupon codes to use at the websites. I mostly ended up buying the books at bookrenter.com, neebo.com, bookbyte.com, amazon.com, ebay, and textbook.com. Ofcouse, I hopped over to the shopping portals like ultimate rewards, ebates, etc and shopped clicked through those sites to save even more.

  3. I am guessing you have heard of this – evreward is great, as you can enter the retailer name, then see which program is offering the best bonus. It then links you right to the program – awesome when you are about to buy something form a particular retailer. They include some online coupon codes too.
    Need to go sync the AMEX cards, been meaning to do that!

  4. I purchased printer inks from Staples via Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal on July 29 and paid with a registered American Express card for $15 off $100 July’s purchase promotion but xtra UR points has not yet posted! Any thoughts?

  5. When shopping Kohls, using their Kohls card can get 30% off (search online for code). Do not believe that you can use other cards and get this discount. Would love to hear if anyone has experienced success using a non-Kohls card and getting the Kohls discount.

  6. Looks like someone got into the Tito’s Vodka from the picture 🙂 I would not blame them. In all seriousness, the Andaz at 5th is in a great location and rooms were a good size for NYC. As a diamond you can’t beat the breakfast in the room for a couple. In fact, I would say room service was the best service in the hotel.

  7. I’ve used shopping portals for several years. But I’ve developed a strategy lately to buy as much as possible through the portals instead of driving to stores. Did you know Walmart sells non perishable groceries online? And free shipping if you spend $50. So I order my TP, paper towels, ketchup, potato chips, rice, cat food, bleach, cleaning supplies, etc. More points, less driving, and the UPS guy does the heavy lifting with that 25 lb bag of dog food that I order from Petco for 6x miles per dollar and free shipping.

    I have had issues with points posting lately with three portals. A $200 purchase through Hilton’s portal back in April has never posted. I’ve emailed three times requesting points and the only response I get is a standard formulated response. Bad customer service and no specific response at all relating to my claim in over three months time. Another purchase in June from Ultimate Rewards where I used a store coupon for free shipping resulted in no points. Ultimate Rewards would not budge on that one. And an in-store exchange for a different size from Anthropologie resulted in a points reversal with United. Don’t know how they even knew there was an exchange since no funds were returned to my card. And surely an exchange isn’t the same as a return.

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