Tag Archives: frequent flier miles

Earn frequent flyer miles on everyday purchases

If you only travel by air once or twice a year, it can take a long time to accumulate enough frequent flyer miles to earn a free ticket. It’s easy to boost your mileage balance from the comfort of your home, however, through a few different methods. I will address these programs in this and future blog postings. Today, let’s focus on earning miles while shopping.

Major airlines offer you miles for purchases made with companies participating in their bonus miles programs. Typically, you go to the airline’s shopping website, and click a link to access the site where you wish to shop. This launches a tracking mechanism that records the amount of your purchase and credits you with bonus miles based on that amount.

For example, Delta’s Skymiles Shopping site is currently offering deals like these:

United Mileage Plus deals include:

The American Airlines AAdvantage E-Shopping Mall has:

Mileage amounts offered at specific retailers change periodically. To earn miles, you will need to create an account at the shopping sites and provide your frequent flyer number. There is no charge for using the sites and no fee to get the bonus miles.

If you return an item for which you received bonus miles, the corresponding amount may be deducted from your frequent flyer account.

If you have a credit card which earns frequent flyer miles, you may be able to get two sets of bonus miles for a single transaction. For example, a Gold Delta Skymiles cardholder would get 30 miles for a $30 purchase made on the Home Depot website (1 mile per dollar on all card purchases), plus 120 bonus miles for using the airline’s shopping portal.

To get the most out of these shopping programs, bookmark the portal site for your favorite airline’s shopping program and make a habit of going there each time you make an online purchase. If you forget to go through the virtual mall to get to your shopping site, you can’t earn miles.

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American Express offers prompt, flexible service and valuable rewards

This is not a column encouraging you to get a credit card. In fact, unless you can pay your balance off in full each month, I’d recommend avoiding credit cards, as they can tempt you to purchase things you don’t have the cash to cover. But if you’re a disciplined person who uses credit cards for rewards like frequent flyer miles or cash back, I’d recommend including an American Express product in your wallet. Here’s how the company shows it cares about its customers.

Timely service: I have contacted American Express by e-mail several times in recent months and been stunned by how quickly they respond to my messages. While some businesses with an online presence take days to get back to me or never acknowledge my question at all, American Express typically sends me a reply within 10 hours.

Transfers: American Express offers a variety of different credit cards. The company has allowed me to transfer between cards without filling out a new application or incurring any transfer charges. They simply switched me from one card to another and mailed me new cards to reflect the new rewards program I’d chosen.

Rewards: Whether you want to earn airline miles, free hotel stays or cash back, you can find a lot of different rewards options in the American Express lineup of credit cards. The Everyday Blue Cash Card has no annual fee and earns 3 percent cash back at supermarkets, 2 percent back at gas stations and department stores and 1 percent cash everywhere else. The Gold Delta SkyMiles Card earns you one airline mile for every dollar spent. While it does have a $95 annual fee, it allows you to check your first bag free on every Delta flight. You also get a bag free for up to nine people in your reservation. So, if you and a spouse or friend take one roundtrip a year on Delta and check one bag each, the card has paid for itself, and you’ve gotten the benefit of extra miles.

While there are several benefits to having an American Express card, one downside is that they are not accepted everywhere. You will need to carry a Visa or MasterCard in your wallet as well if you want guaranteed access to credit when shopping.

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Filed under Customer service, Rewards programs, Saving money, Uncategorized