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If you’re serious about traveling (nearly) free with points & miles, you need to get serious about using shopping portals. I’m a huge online shopper. If I can have something delivered to my door, there’s no reason for me to go to a store. This is the one area of the points & miles game that I always forget, but trust me when I say, “USE A SHOPPING PORTAL.” When you combine (excessive) online shopping with travel credit card shopping portals, you can easily earn tons of bonus points & miles. 

As I mentioned in 5 Things to Do Before You Can Travel (Nearly) Free with Points & Miles, most successful points & miles enthusiasts transfer all ordinary spending to travel credit cards. The key is to earn points & miles for things you were already going to purchase. Shopping is no exception. If you’re buying a gift, buying school clothes, or buying a little something for yourself, you can earn even more bonus points & miles if you just click through a shopping portal first.

How Shopping Portals Work

It’s a pretty simple process. Instead of going directly to the website where you want to shop, you go to your travel credit card website and click through their shopping portal. You end up shopping in the same place, but you earn bonus points & miles while you do it. There is no increased cost to you. Then you turn around and use that bonus to achieve your travel dreams for less.

Where to Find the Best Shopping Portals

Before you make an online purchase, check CashbackMonitor.com and EVReward.com. I personally use Cashback Monitor, but both websites break bonus rates down between cashback, points & miles, and other rewards. Once you’ve found the best bonus, you can click on the name of the portal and you will be taken directly to the login page. If you start shopping with one these websites, you can find the best bonus and go straight to the best portal simultaneously.

How to Pay at Shopping Portals

Pay as you normally would. Most shopping portals allow you to use any credit card that you want for your purchase. This means you don’t necessarily have to use the credit card from the shopping portal you clicked through. If you’re trying to meet a minimum spending requirement, use that card. If you’ve purchased a discounted gift card, use that card. This allows you to double dip in two programs at once.

Keep an Eye Out for Even More Bonus Points & Miles

The holidays tend to be a great time to get even more bonus points & miles through shopping portals. Many travel credit cards will increase the bonus to get a slice of the holiday spending pie. This includes holidays throughout the year, not just December. If you’re going to make a large purchase, you should monitor bonus rates and try to complete your transaction around a holiday. These increased bonuses tend to only last for a short period of time so make sure to take advantage while you can. But…

Beware of Shopping Portal Quirks

Before you click through a shopping portal to your desired retailer, make sure to read the fine print. Some shopping portals don’t allow you to use additional promo codes on your purchase. Some exclude gift card purchases from bonuses. Finally, make sure you have cookies enabled and complete your purchase in the same browser window or tab from the shopping portal link. This allows the portal to track your purchase and award your bonus.

Final Thoughts on Shopping Portals

Using shopping portals is a great way to turn ordinary spending into bonus points & miles. If you want to travel (nearly) free with points & miles, you should always shop through shopping portals. Those small bonuses add up to big time travel rewards.