How to earn frequent flyer miles without even flying (or leaving your desk)

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This is the third post in the “Fit more travel into your family’s new year” series this month. If you missed the earlier posts, you can start here.

Following last week’s post: “Get (at least) one roundtrip flight with a mileage credit card,” I want to address one of the other best ways I’ve learned to earn frequent flyer miles—without flying.

Whether you use a mileage credit card or not, you can also earn frequent flyer miles by shopping online for everything from business cards to big box appliances, and from breast pumps to birthday bouquets. I’m not kidding.

When you enter participating web stores—such as LandsEnd.com, BestBuy.com, PetSmart.com, EddieBauer.com, OneStepAhead.com, Sears.com, and Target.com to name just a few—through certain mileage program portals, you earn one or more miles per dollar spent regardless of which credit card or form of payment you use (PayPal, etc.).

To get an idea of how many online stores are actually participating in these programs, take a look at any of these mileage shopping portals (or online “eshopping malls”):

To participate in any of these programs, you just need a frequent flyer (or mileage) number with the airline, and then you can simply register online with the mileage shopping portal. The next time you go online to shop, just start at the portal site and click through to the store you want to shop. Done!

The real advantage of this program is how frequently you can earn multiple miles per dollar spent on goods from stores such as Staples.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Overstock.com, and eBags.com. And if you do use a mileage credit card to make your purchase? You’ll just be earning that many more miles to your account for each transaction.

Skeptics: I recently earned 4 miles per dollar spent on my new washing machine and a whopping 16 miles per dollar spent for new laser printer toner. And I’ll come clean with you all right now: I did not hesitate to pad my mileage account with a bit of holiday shopping as well. Since these were things I had to buy anyway… it was great to earn the most miles possible for every dollar spent and get that much closer to my next award flight. 

Have you used a shopping portal to earn miles shopping online?

Do you have another easy way to add to your frequent flyer account?

Safe journeys,
Shelly Rivoli

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