I leave a lot of points and miles sitting on the table. It can happen at any time but it’s more noticeable this time of year with Christmas shopping. I’m not talking tens of thousands of points, like you would be wasting if you screwed up a credit card bonus offer. It’s not that huge of a mistake. I call it my “biggest mistake” because it’s easy to avoid, yet I still manage to screw it up regularly. I’m talking about online shopping portals.
Virtually Free Points and Miles with Online Shopping Portals
With online shopping portals you can earn potentially thousands of bonus points for about 20 seconds of work and a few keystrokes. Many credit card points and frequent flier miles programs offer these online shopping portals, where you can earn bonus points for clicking through their link before shopping online. You make the purchase on the retailer’s website just like normal, but you get bonus points for whichever program you used to click through to the retailer’s site. Here’s an example:
You are about to make an electronics purchase at my favorite online computer store, newegg.com. You remember you can earn bonus Ultimate Rewards if you shop through the portal at Chase’s website. You log on to your Ultimate Rewards account and click “Shop through Chase:”
Search for newegg.com in the “earn more” area:
You’re in luck! Newegg.com is one of the retailers in the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal program. In this case, you earn 2 additional points for every dollar you spend on newegg.com
Click through the link to newegg.com and shop like usual. (If I go afk and I get signed out of either the shopping portal or the retailer’s site, I usually start over again. This probably doesn’t matter but I wouldn’t want to lose out on points because something weird happened.) I normally get my purchase researched and ready to buy, close the browser tab, and then start over with the shopping portal to actually make the purchase.
With Chase Ultimate Rewards portal (and I believe all other programs’ shopping portals) you can use whatever payment method you want. In other words, you don’t have to use the card tied to that points program to make the purchase from the online retailer. This comes in handy when you want spending on a particular card but would like bonus points for another program.
Do as I say, not as I do
The key to getting these bonus points is simply remembering to get them! As this article title suggests, I am horrible at this. Many times I don’t realize I lost out on points until weeks or months later. It’s one of those things where you just have to get into the routine and it will become second nature.
Don’t throw away free points and miles! Check if your credit card or frequent flyer miles program has an online shopping portal BEFORE you make those last minute Christmas shopping purchases.