November 25, 2013
Holy cow. 60 miles per dollar is a huge portal bonus. As I reported yesterday via Quick Deals, Magazines.com is now offering 60 miles per dollar via the AAdvantage eShopping portal through November 30th.
This deserves a few exclamation points beyond the single red one in the Magazines.com logo. Here you go: !!!!!
Browse to the AAdvantage eShopping portal and find Magazines.com (or, click here to get to the Magazines.com page directly). Click through to Magazines.com and buy magazine subscriptions. You should earn 60 miles per dollar for this purchase! Sure, the person you love most in the world would probably rather get a new iPad Air or PlayStation 4 for Christmas, but I’m sure they’d appreciate a dozen magazine subscriptions instead, right?
Right now, the AAdvantage eShopping portal is running another promotion that should stack with this one. It works as follows:
- Spend, cumulatively, $75 and earn 750 bonus miles
- Spend $150 and earn 1,500 bonus miles
- Spend $250 and earn 2,500 bonus miles
If you spend exactly to one of the amounts listed above, the math works out to an additional 10 miles per dollar over whatever else the portal is offering. Since magazines.com is offering 60X through November 30th, that means that you can earn up to 70 miles per dollar for ordering magazines.
If you’re looking to build up your AAdvantage miles, it might be worth it to you to buy magazines just for the miles. If you do so, I’d recommend finding a library, school, hospital, etc. that would be happy to accept magazines as a donation. Not counting any tax breaks you might receive, the cost per mile works out as follows:
- 70X = 1.43 cents per mile
- 60X = 1.67 cents per mile
Either way, that’s far lower than American Airlines sells miles for, even when they offer special bonuses on purchased miles.
Use any credit card to pay
I’m often asked if it is necessary to use an AAdvantage branded credit card for purchases made through the AAdvantage eShopping portal. Nope. Use any card to pay.
Credit card category bonus?
No, I do not think that magazines.com is categorized as a bookstore (for those who have cards that earn bookstore bonuses). American Express shows my pending transactions as: MERCHANDISE & SUPPLIES – MAIL ORDER. I don’t think that any category bonuses apply.
What purchases qualify for 60X?
The portal terms state:
Eligible on Magazine subscriptions only (automatically renewed subscriptions are not eligible). Not eligible on purchases made with coupon or discount codes that are not found on this site. Journals and International Magazines are not eligible.
I believe this to mean that you will not earn points for other stuff such as books, headphones, etc. They don’t appear to sell books or gadgets anymore (they used to) so that might be immaterial. The hardest part to understand is the language that states “automatically renewed subscriptions are not eligible“.
Here’s what I think that means: If you subscribe to a magazine, you will get portal miles for the initial purchase, but you will not get additional portal miles when the subscription renews and your credit card is charged a second time. I believe this to be the case because in past experiments people reported receiving points from portals even when they purchased a subscription that was set to auto-renew (and similar language was always present in the past).
What about gift cards?
It used to be the case that Magazines.com would pay out via portals for the purchase of gift cards, but not the use of gift cards. This was useful because it was then possible to earn points for purchases of things besides magazines by first buying a gift card (to get points) and then using it to buy books or whatever. Again, that mattered more when they sold lots of other things. It now appears that they sell only magazine subscriptions.
Most portals include a Gift Cards section in which you can see the retailers that offer points for gift card purchases. Magazines.com used to be prominently displayed there. Today, though, Magazines.com is absent from the Gift Cards section and does not state that gift card purchases are included in the terms & conditions. Therefore, I believe that purchases of gift cards will not earn miles. Also, based on past experience, I believe that using gift cards will not earn miles. Yesterday, I kicked off an experiment in which I tried the following conditions to see if any earn miles:
- I bought an e-gift card
- I bought a physical gift card
- I used an e-gift card to buy a magazine subscription
Since this promotion runs all week, I’m hoping to have some answers for you before it ends. If you’d like to be alerted to the answer as soon as I find out, please subscribe to the comments below by commenting “subscribe” and check the box that says “Notify me of follow-up comments by email”.
If it happens that gift cards do earn miles (despite my expecting otherwise), it might be possible to reduce the cost of buying miles by reselling the gift cards (at half price or so). Or, it might be possible to double dip by buying gift cards and then going through the portal again to use the gift cards.
How reliable is the AAdvantage eShopping portal?
Like most mile-earning portals, the AAdvantage eShopping portal is run by Cartera Commerce. While I’ve had pretty good luck with Cartera portals, many of my readers have complained bitterly about missing transactions and Cartera’s ensuing poor customer service. Also note that the AAdvantage eShopping portal ran a promo in the fall for 2000 bonus points and I have yet to hear from anyone who has received points from that promotion. So, be warned that investing in this promotion is risky.
You can reduce your chances of things going wrong by following my advice in my old post: How to ensure your portal points.