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You may not be a New Year’s resolution type of person, but you’ll actually do yourself a disservice if you don’t make a few promises related to your travel hacking hobby. Earning miles and points that will help whisk you and your family around the globe in style isn’t easy, and it takes planning and organization.
Before you sing “Auld Lang Syne” at the dawn of the New Year, make a few resolutions that may help you get where you want to go in the next 12 months. Here are some resolutions shared by us at RewardExpert. You may want to commit to them as well.
In the two years since its inception, DUFL has changed the way savvy professionals travel for business. Voted Best New Travel App of 2015 by USA Today, this unique company eliminates the need to pack for a trip, check or stow luggage, even do laundry and visit the dry cleaner. They do it all for you.
Thousands of executives, salespeople, athletes, celebrities and others who use DUFL’s services enjoy a stress-free journey while the company’s staff carefully packs and ships their clothing, toiletries and personal items to their destination.
Part of an effective miles and points earning strategy is to take advantage of every opportunity to rack up extra miles. Here are some tips for earning miles in places you may not have thought of before.
Airline ticket and hotel prices go through the roof for the host city during big events like the upcoming Super Bowl, which is being held in Houston on Sunday, February 5.
One way to cut costs if you want to see it in person is to use points and miles where the price in miles is fixed regardless of the cash price of the ticket. Because tickets will be costly. You can expect to use 25,000 miles to get to Texas for the game though some airlines will cost more and at least one route is less.
Unless you’re a road warrior with elite status, chances are you earn more points and miles through credit card spend rather than actually flying. Hopefully, you have one or two credit cards in your wallet that earn bonus points on dining, but there could be extra points you’re leaving on the table. In the points and miles hobby, the art of stacking is an advanced skill to accelerate your points earning potential, and it might even save you money.
Now is a good time to review where you stand with your preferred airline and hotel partners.
If you don’t take action, when the clock ticks to midnight on January 1, your elite status fate for the coming year will be sealed. Since airlines and hotels base elite status and earned rewards on the calendar year, everything must take place before the end of the year.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Your credit score is one of your most valuable assets and you should nurture it and protect it. You want a healthy credit score to help you accomplish all of your life goals, including getting a mortgage or car loan (with reasonable interest rates) or passing a potential employer or landlord’s background check.
It’s a messy relationship when it comes to airline partners, and this month sees Alaska end its on-again, off-again relationship with Delta and formally marry Virgin America. This is good news for Alaska fliers although Delta travelers lose a valuable earning and burning partner. Alaska also beefed up benefits for its Mileage Plan members; this is a net win for Alaska fliers.
The past year was one of non-stop change in the travel rewards industry with huge changes in major frequent flyer programs, bank credit card offerings, and mergers and acquisitions. We saw devaluations continue for all three of the major domestic legacy airlines. And the major travel rewards credit card issuing banks all imposed stricter sign-up bonus rules. There were several mergers between airlines and hotels that also lead to some big changes to loyalty programs.
Have you wished you had a special someone to explore the world with? You might want to check out MissTravel.com, an online dating site for travelers.
Headquartered in Las Vegas, MissTravel is among the new wave of dating sites that cater to specific lifestyles. Entrepreneur Brandon Wade founded the site in 2012 and serves as chief executive officer.
If Southwest Rapid Rewards is your main frequent flyer program, you need to be aware of Rapid Reward Shopping as well. This online shopping mall acts as a portal to all of your favorite online retailers, from Kohl’s and Old Navy to JCPenney and Ulta Beauty. All you need to do to earn extra Rapid Rewards points is visit the portal and click on the store you wish to shop at. Then, once you make a purchase, you’ll be rewarded with a certain number of Rapid Rewards per dollar spent. It’s that easy, but we’ll step you through the entire process.
Barclaycard was the issuer of the US Airways co-branded cards before US Airways merged with American Airlines. When the merger occurred, existing cardholders were given the option to convert their cards to a variety of new Aviator cards in the lineup. Unfortunately, those cards were not available for new applicants at that time.
As we approach the holiday season, sign-up bonus offers for new credit cards are proving to be generous and rewarding. Also, read on to find out how Hilton is making lifetime Diamond status easier to achieve and how to bypass part of American’s new elite status spending requirements in the new year.
A lot happened in the world of frequent flyer programs this year. Not surprisingly, award chart devaluations were the norm, particularly for premium cabins. The news wasn’t all bad, though. Some redemptions actually dropped in price, and airlines and credit card issuers introduced new partnerships, giving members more redemption and transfer options.
You’ve been painstakingly saving those miles for a special trip and you finally reached your goal. You’ve got enough miles to book that award flight you’ve had your eye on. Booking award travel can be a bit intimidating if you haven’t done it before—especially when booking over the phone. But, have no fear. It’s easy to master the art of booking award tickets. Just use our handy script if this is your first time trying to book a free flight from your frequent flyer program.
If you are a fan of online shopping and you’re a miles and points junkie, you have to get in the habit of using your favorite airline or hotel’s online shopping portal. Delta Skymiles Shopping is just such a portal, and we’ll show you exactly how to sign up so you’ll be rewarded with extra miles on purchases made through this venue. We’ll also show you how to spot deals at SkyMiles Shopping and how to know when to pass up that purchase.
How much will you spend on holiday shopping this year? According to PricewaterhouseCoopers the average shopper will spend about $1,100 although many will spend more.
When you add to that the amount spent on food, entertainment and other holiday expenses, this time of year represents a tremendous rewards opportunity for savvy travel hackers. It’s just a matter of knowing how to buy travel hacker style.
If you’re not leveraging your favorite airline’s online shopping portal, you are leaving miles—and possibly points—on the table.
Sure, it might be easy to log in to your favorite etailer to buy that pair of sneakers for your kids, but if you go the extra mile and make one additional click at the airline portal, you’ll be rewarded with a certain number of miles per dollar spent—and that’s on top of whatever bonus your credit card offers you for making purchases.
Let us help you discover the value of online shopping portals. Today we’ll step you through American Airlines’ AAdvantage eShopping portal just in time for holiday shopping.
What Is the AAdvantage eShopping Mall?
Like most airline frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs, American Airlines offers an online shopping portal. The portal makes it quick and easy for you to earn valuable AAdvantage miles, which can be used to book award flights on American Airlines flights as well as on every single oneworld partner airline. You can earn miles whenever you purchase something online from one of the shops that belong to the AAdvantage eShopping online mall.
What Kind of Retailers Are Part of AAdvantage eShopping?
Some of AAdvantage’s most popular retail partners include Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Target, Kohl’s, The Home Depot, Nike, and JCPenney.
But, there are tons of additional shops to browse, including those in the categories shown below, which include everything from apparel to flowers and gifts to travel.
Online shopping advances include some hidden gems in the category list, so you really need to explore the offerings. Otherwise, you may miss out on potential miles-earning opportunities. For example, under the Books category, you’d expect to find the popular chain Books-A-Million. But, you’ll also find indie bookstore AbeBooks as well as The Scholastic Store for youngsters and Textbooks.com for college students.
Hundreds of online retailers participate in the AAdvantage eShopping mall, so you’ll want to check out the directory to see if the stores you love are available.
How to Earn Miles (& Points) By Shopping at the AAdvantage eShopping Portal
You will love how quickly you rack up the miles once you begin shopping through the AAdvantage eShopping mall. It’s really simple to get started.
Sign up to be an AAdvantage eShopping member.
While you are already an American Airlines AAdvantage member with a frequent flyer number, you’ll need to register with the shopping portal before you can begin to earn miles. Click the “Sign up” link on the home page. (Be sure to have your AAdvantage frequent flyer number readily available.) In order to keep abreast of the mall’s special offers and deals, be sure to check the box at the bottom of the order form that adds you to the portal’s email list.
Log in to the AAdvantage eShopping online shopping mall.
The login link is at the top of the home page.
Search the store you want to make a purchase from. Let’s say you want to buy something at Sephora.
You’ll see a few offers from the store and a “Shop now” button. Click on the link that will take you from the portal to the store’s website. You must be logged in to your account when you click the link. Otherwise, your purchase won’t earn any points.
How to Find Deals and AAdvantage Shopping Promotions
While it’s great to earn a few miles per dollar spent on your purchases, AA eShopping portal also offers a variety of deals that can earn you additional miles. Here’s how you can find any special bonus offers:
Extra Rewards Deals
When you log in to your account, look for the dollar icon on the right top of the page. When you click on it, it will get you to a page with special deals and extra rewards offers. The deal usually means an increase in the number of miles you’ll receive per dollar spent at a retailer.
Click on the “Offers” tab at the top of the page, and you’ll get a menu that lists all of the current offers from every retailer that comprises the shopping portal. You’ll see deals for free shipping, gift cards, special holiday offers, and more.
Oh, this could be a boon for anyone that’s planning to spend at least $250 at Macy’s. You’ll earn an increased number of miles per dollar spent: 6 miles per dollar instead of the normal 3 AND you’ll receive 500 bonus miles if you spend a minimum of $250 at the store.
If you’re shopping during holidays or love seasonal shopping, be sure to check the home page for a link with deals. It will lead you to all of the special deals that vendors are offering during a specific—and limited—time period.
RewardExpert is publishing this story during spring season so there are a number of deals to consider.
Which Stores Offer the Most Miles Per Dollar
Finally, it makes sense to review the list of participating stores in order of the store’s earn rate. You can do that by clicking on “Stores” at the top of the page and then “Stores by earn rate.”
Be sure to sort the list by the highest earn rates; click on the tab that says “6+.” The miles per dollar payout changes randomly so it’s always a good idea to review the list before you decide to purchase through the portal.
Which Credit Card You Should Use at the AA Shopping Portal
Whenever you shop online you’re faced with the decision of what credit card to use. When you buy anything through the AAdvantage eShopping portal, you’ll most likely want to use your Citi / AAdvantage credit card that rewards you with AAdvantage miles for every dollar you spend. That’s in addition to the miles you’ll earn for shopping through the portal.
Let’s look at an example. If you send flowers from FTD by clicking on the link at the AAdvantage eShopping portal, you’ll receive 20 miles per dollar spent. So, if your total before tax and delivery was $89, you’ll be rewarded with 1,780 AAdvantage miles from the portal.
Now, when you charge this purchase to your credit card you’ll earn more miles or points. If you use the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, you’ll receive 1 mile for every dollar spent on your purchase. The flowers were $89 but with tax and delivery your total was $104.95. Citi will reward you with 105 AAdvantage miles for that purchase.
So, when all is said and done, you’ll receive 1,885 AAdvantage miles for your purchase (1,780 miles from the shopping portal and 105 miles from Citi for using its AA-branded credit card).
If you’re going to make purchases anyway, it’s a no-brainer to do so through the AAdvantage eShopping mall. You’ll earn a healthy number of miles each time you shop.
Best and Worst Deals on the AA Shopping Mall
An informed shopper is a smart shopper. Just because there is a “deal” at the AA shopping mall doesn’t mean it’s the best deal. You’ll need to determine if you’re best off making the purchase through the portal or elsewhere.
Sometimes you’ll receive a money-off discount code from your favorite retailer. Oftentimes, those coupons can’t be used in conjunction with an online shopping portal that rewards you with miles or points. You’ll need to read the fine print for each shop to determine if you can use a coupon that was sent to you. Otherwise, look for coupons and deals right at the AAdvantage eShopping portal. You may find the same, or better, options.
Fixed Rate Options
Most stores offer a certain number of AAdvantage miles for each dollar you spend. However, there are a few dozen retailers that offer a fixed number of miles for a specific purchase. For example, you can earn 25,000 AAdvantage miles for switching to Sprint through the portal. Or, you can earn 250 miles for buying a membership to AT&T TV NOW. You’ll need to look at all of your other buying options outside of the shopping portal to see if it makes sense or not.
Once you get the hang of how the AAdvantage eShopping mall works, you’ll be earning miles on all of your online purchases. To find the best use of all those AAdvantage miles, use RewardExpert, a free service that will help you figure out the best partner airline to use American’s currency on based on where you want to go.