May 26, 2013
The triple mile promotion is just the beginning of the story. Read on for ways to maximize points and savings…
This week, the AAdvantage eShopping portal is offering triple miles for a few merchants:
- LivingSocial 9X (was 3X)
- JC Penney 12X (was 4X)
- Charles Tyrwhitt 12X (was 4X)
And a couple of double mile deals:
- Nordstrom 8X (was 4X)
- Bose 6X (was 3X)
How to maximize points and savings
Here’s a 5 part guide to maximizing points and savings for shopping at these or any merchants:
- Compare portals to find the best rates
- Look for discount gift cards
- Look for the best online coupons
- See whether purchases made with gift cards earn points (or cash back)
1. Compare Portals
There is no single best portal finder, but I find it is a good idea to check both cashbackholic.com (for cash back rates) and evreward.com (for miles & points) to find the best options for any particular merchant. For example, with JC Penney, I checked both portal finders and discovered that the AA portal at 12X was in fact the best option for earning points. For cash back, the ShopDiscover portal currently offers 10% back.
2. Look for discount gift cards
Go to GiftCardGranny.com to search for gift cards for the merchant where you want to shop. For example, I looked up JC Penney and found gift cards discounted as much as 20%:
If you’re in a hurry to buy something, then look for e-gift cards which are typically delivered in a few hours or overnight:
Once you find a vendor to buy gift cards from, check cashbackholic again to see if you can get extra cash back for buying from that vendor. For example, here I searched for the gift card vendor “Raise”:
You can find sign up links for most cash back sites in my “Sign-Up Links” page. In some cases you’ll get a $5 bonus for using my links.
3. Look for the best online coupons
Normally I would simply do a Google search for something like “JCP coupons”. In this case, the site EvReward automatically showed some decent coupons:
Typically coupons found on sites like Ev’Reward will work fine with shopping portals.
4. See whether purchases made with gift cards earn points (or cash back)
In some rare cases, merchants won’t give you points (or cash back) for going through a portal if you make your purchase with gift cards. Visit the Frequent Miler Laboratory to see if data exists one way or another. For example, I went to the Laboratory and searched for “JCP”:
As you can see, attempts to use gift cards to buy merchandise and to get portal points or cash back were all successful. The only failures were the attempts to use JCP gift cards to buy other gift cards.
Given the work done above, here is how I would maximize points and savings when shopping at JC Penney:
- Go through BeFrugal or TopCashBack to Raise to buy JCP e-gift cards for 18% off. By doing this, you would get an additional 2% back from BeFrugal or TopCashBack.
- Go through the AAdvantage eShopping portal to JC Penney and pick out merchandise.
- Apply coupons (e.g. 10% off).
- Pay with gift cards.
Through the above techniques you could save approximately 30% off anything at JC Penney and earn 12 miles per dollar!
Note that by using gift cards you do not get automatic warranties or price protection that are often automatically provided by your credit card company so in some cases you might do better to pay directly.