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Christmas Shopping Travel Hacker Style

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.

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2017’s AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card Review

Who Is the AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature Card Good For?

If you have a AAA membership and you want to earn cash back on credit card purchases, you should consider getting the AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature from Bank of America. The card comes with a small sign-up bonus, generous bonus earning categories and no annual fee.  If you spend a lot on travel or at AAA, this card might be right for you.

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AAdvantage eShopping Mall Portal: A Primer

aadvantage shopping portal

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.
Top Stores

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.
  1. 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.

  1. Log in to the AAdvantage eShopping online shopping mall.

The login link is at the top of the home page.

  1. 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.

Offers

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.

Seasonal Bonuses

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.

Money-Off Coupons

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.

Bottom Line

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.

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Amex Sign-up Bonus Clawbacks and Hitting Minimum Spend Requirements

Amex Sign-up Bonus Claw-backs

American Express sometimes offers 100,000-point sign-up bonuses. Not too long ago, some people found a link online for a 100,000-point sign-up bonus for the personal Platinum card which was not supposed to be made public.

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AA and United Set to Compete with Budget Carriers Like Frontier and Spirit

Delta first introduced Basic Economy fares which offer reduced amenities and flexibility relative to standard economy class tickets back in 2012. The bare bones fares were available in select markets in order to compete with low cost carriers such as Frontier and Spirit.

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The Travel Rewards World MasterCard Business Credit Card Review

Who Is the Travel Rewards World MasterCard for Business Credit Card Good For?

The Travel Rewards World MasterCard for Business from Bank of America is designed for any small business owner or independent contractor who wants to earn WorldPoints travel rewards. It comes with a generous sign-up bonus and earning scheme, particularly for a no-fee card. You’ll be saving money on travel expenses in no time with this WorldPoints credit card.

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Mileage Redemption Options And Bonus Points for Online Shopping

Alaska Mileage Plan is a crowd pleaser, and it continues to impress with new redemption opportunities with Japan Airlines. Also, don’t miss the latest points and mileage earning bonuses for making online purchases as you shop around presents this holiday season.

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Avianca LifeMiles Vuela Visa Credit Card Review

Who Is the Avianca Vuela Visa Card Good For?

Avianca, the second largest airline in Latin America, offers two co-branded credit cards to U.S. residents. The Avianca Vuela Visa is the carrier’s premium card, offering more perks and benefits than the lower cost Avianca Vida Visa. If you often fly on Avianca, or if you’re planning a trip to Central or South America, you should consider getting the Vuela Vista Visa with its superior earning potential and bigger sign-up bonus.

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Best App for Renewing Your Passport

Best App for International Travel

The appropriately named ItsEasy app makes it easy to renew your passport. You’ll never need to trudge down to the post office and wait in line again. Just use an iPhone or iPad to snap your photo, fill out the appropriate forms and send them off to ItsEasy. They’ll take care of the rest.

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Amtrak Credit Card Review

Who Is the Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard Good For?

Whether you’re planning a dream trip along the scenic California coastline or you’re a commuter in the busy Northeast Corridor, you should consider getting the premium Amtrak rewards credit card. It has some great perks, including a companion ticket, a lounge pass and a free ticket upgrade.

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United Pulls Back the Curtain on Polaris and Delta Gouges Members Who Want to Buy Extra MQMs

United’s much-heralded Polaris lounge and inflight product are finally here. The airline rolled out the new offering Dec. 1 and will slowly make its way across the airline’s network in the coming months and year. Delta also put its MQMs on sale, but the prices will make your jaw drop. At least, Air France and KLM have put some awards on sale and Aeroplan (Air Canada) has some free miles up for grabs.

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Using Citi ThankYou Points on Virgin Atlantic to Fly Delta and on JetBlue to Get to Cuba

Virgin Atlantic can be a fantastic airline to transfer your Citi ThankYou points to. The airline has 10 redemption partners of its own, so finding a good value is not an issue. You just need to be strategic and do your homework before transferring your points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Transfers are usually instantaneous, and you can even transfer your points while on the phone with an agent.

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Credit Cards That Reimburse You for Delayed Flights

We’ve all experienced flight delays. While it’s never fun, you can have some control over the situation if you’ve paid for your ticket with the right credit card. Some cards will reimburse you for expenses incurred because of the delay giving you plenty of options including taking a different flight, renting a car or staying at a hotel. Let’s take a look at which cards offer what.

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Best and Worst Use of Citi ThankYou Points on Air France/KLM and Singapore

citi thankyou points

Unlike Chase which partners with United, and American Express which partners with Delta, Citi doesn’t have a major U.S. airline partner. But it does have many foreign airline partners that you can transfer ThankYou points to and book one of the three domestic legacy carriers.

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Best and Worst Use of Citi ThankYou Points Through the Bank’s Travel Center

The Citi ThankYou travel rewards program is very similar to the American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards programs. Just like those two, Citi ThankYou allows you to book travel through its own portal or transfer your points to airline partners if you have a premium card. 

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Annual Spending Bonuses to Hit Before the Year is Over

spend bonuses

Did you know that many travel rewards credit cards come with annual spending bonuses? These bonuses can often boost you to higher levels of elite status. But there is an element of art as well as science in determining whether to ramp up spend on a specific card. We’ll break it down for you here.

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Best and Worst American Express Membership Rewards Redemptions on Cathay Pacific and Etihad

American Express has almost 20 airline partners, and you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to any of them. Two of the best Amex airline partners you might consider are Cathay Pacific and Etihad, but like other airline frequent flyer programs there are some sweet spots and some that may not be worth the transfer.

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How Small Businesses Can Maximize Rewards for Air Travel

Big companies get discounts and special deals for committing their business to one airline. This is often done behind the scenes and is a common and expected practice among airlines. It might even include complimentary elite status and fee waivers for corporate travelers.
But what about smaller companies? Isn’t their business valuable, too? Isn’t that the entire idea behind loyalty?

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How to Increase Your Credit Limit

How to Increase Your Credit Limit image

Credit card companies will typically increase the maximum amount of money they will let you borrow over time, particularly if you have good credit. But what if you want a higher credit limit before they offer it to you? Is there a good way to increase your credit and is it a good idea? Let’s find out.

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How to Earn and Use Hawaiian Airlines Miles

hawaiian airlines

Hawaiian Airlines’ reward program doesn’t get as much attention as some of the larger airlines, but it has some unique features that make it useful for many travelers, especially those planning a trip to Hawaii or between various Hawaiian Islands. Let’s take a look at Hawaiian’s award chart, award booking process and ways to rack up Hawaiian miles yo help you get familiar with the Hawaiian carrier.

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