I can’t remember the last time I shopped in a physical store… and that is because you can buy everything — seriously, the weirdest stuff — online.
I don’t even want to know what’s in some of your Amazon search histories…
But it’s true, we have access to just about everything we’d ever want or need on the internet. And here’s a great idea… Why not take advantage of your online purchases and rack up even more points, miles, and perks by using an online shopping portal?
What is an Online Shopping Portal?
In a nutshell, online shopping portals allow you to purchase items online and will reward you with extra points, miles, or cash back by purchasing through them. You’ll often find thousands of retailers linked to these portals.
Many airlines and credit cards have an affiliated online shopping portal. So if you’re a rewards member with a particular airline or credit card, simply log into your account and head to their shopping portal.
It will honestly look the same as if you went directly to the merchant’s site, but because you went to the merchant through the rewards shopping portal, you’ll stash all those extra juicy miles, points, or cash.
Let’s look at some specifics.
Different Online Shopping Portals
It’s no secret that we love Capital One around here. And yes, one of our favorite cards happens to be the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
Its current offer includes earning 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. Its $395 annual fee may initially seem steep, but each year you’ll receive a $300 travel credit and 10,000 bonus miles on your card’s anniversary (equal to $100 in free travel). That covers the cost of the annual fee right there!
Plus, this card grants you access to over 1,300 Priority Pass lounges worldwide with its free priority pass membership.
Despite this card being just simply awesome on its own 😎, you don’t actually need to have it (or any Capital One credit card) to use the Capital One Shopping portal.
Simply put, Capital One Shopping has access to over 5,000 retailers and gives you cash back in the form of gift cards. (Don’t mix this up with Capital One Offers which is only available to you if you have a Capital One credit card.)
To get going, head to the Capital One Shopping site, make an account, and instantly start browsing deals.
If something catches your eye, simply click the Get This Deal button, and you’ll be well on your way to getting all those lovely rewards.
And just like all online shopping portals, be sure you’re navigating to the specific retailer through Capital One Shopping in order to ensure your purchase tracks through the portal correctly.
This is cool and all, but it gets EVEN COOLER when you install the Capital One browser extension.
If you don’t have it, you’ll be prompted to install it once you sign up.
With this extension, you will automatically be able to see the cash-back rates, the special deals, and the coupon codes for the store you’re currently looking at.
It’s effortless! Just a one-click browser extension installation can save you so much $$$. Go do it!
Let’s check out a specific airline’s shopping portal. I’ll go with United.
The thing with deals, though, is that they are always coming and going. So a deal that is here this week may not be available next week. These online shopping portals just really like to keep you on your toes ☺️
And the portals all work similarly. So no matter if you’re logging into a credit card’s portal or an airline’s, you’ll be routed directly to the retailer you choose, and you’ll be raking in the (miles and points) dough.
Other popular airline shopping portals:
British Airways Executive Club eStore
American Airline’s AAdvantage eShopping
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles Shopping
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Shopping
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Shopping
And just like how airlines will launch promos for rewards flights or other sign-up bonuses from time to time, you may also see that on their online shopping portals as well.
Sometimes we all need a little extra nudge (or a big, fat incentive from an airline) to finally commit to an item that’s been sitting in our online shopping cart for so long it’s starting to rot.
We may talk more about deals that earn you points and miles, but certain cash-back portals can also hold some value for all you little travelers out there (including the Capital One Shopping portal).
This third portal option is here to highlight one of the best-ever online shopping portals, Rakuten.
If you don’t remember Rakuten (or haven’t heard of it before), it’s a shopping portal that offers cash-back perks when you make purchases through their site.
You’ll find over 3,500 different retailers and many of them are travel-specific sites!
For example, we wrote an article a little while ago that talked about the importance and benefits of sticking an Apple AirTag in your bag to avoid losing your luggage into travel oblivion. It’s super helpful… trust us!
You can also earn a cool $30 just for referring others to Rakuten as well. Know any kitty kings?? 🤭
Another super-cool feature that we like to take advantage of is maximizing your hotel rewards via Rakuten.
I thought you had to book directly through the hotel’s site in order to get your perks? Well, yes, young grasshopper. You’ve listened well.
BUT, just like how you might be buying new cat toys directly from the retailer through Rakuten… you can do that with some hotel chains as well 😏
For example, if you have an IHG® Rewards Premier credit card, you’re likely using it to book and earn rewards with its partner hotels.
BUT if you go to book your stay via Rakuten, you’ll not only get all of the extra points and other benefits you normally would, you’ll also earn 3% cash back because you booked your stay via Rakuten 🤯
We’re maximizing on top of maximizing our rewards here 👍
Okay, so… what about this hybrid option you mentioned earlier?
Rakuten also allows you to earn American Express Membership Rewards points instead of the cash-back option. So if you spent $30 on a new cat window hammock (only me?), that $30 back would be worth something around 3,000 Amex points.
With Amex points currently worth about two cents apiece, you’ll double your earnings through Rakuten if you go for the Amex points over the cash-back option. So in this example, we’re talking about a value of $60, rather than $30. It’s a no-brainer!
We love this option for all of our Platinum Card® from American Express holders ❤️
Things to Remember with Using Online Shopping Portals
Always go to the retailer’s site through the online shopping portal in order to get the good deals and extra points.
Use travel credit cards opportunistically depending on which portal you’re shopping through (e.g. use a United card on United’s shopping portal).
Stay on your toes for sourcing out the best deals among online shopping portals before immediately purchasing something without much research.
The world of travel hacking is a wonderful thing, but it does take a little extra effort in order to maximize your rewards. We promise, though, that you’ll see its worth in no time 🤗
What will you buy through your first online shopping portal purchase??