Online Shopping Portals – Last Minute Solutions for the Black Friday / Cyber Monday Slacker

My name is Point A and I’m a serious Holiday Shopping Procrastinator.  Once again, I slept through Black Friday and managed to let Cyber Monday slip away.  As a result, I’m now scrambling to get all of my gift buying done. It’s at times like these I turn to the Online Shopping Portal for my salvation. Of course, as I happily mouse click away, I’ll also be engaged in some serious Pointing

Walnut Room Chicago Christmas 2013

Photo: Walnut Room at Macy’s Chicago (though it will ALWAYS be Marshall Field’s to me!)

Many of the major airlines and hotel chains maintain sites that enable the shopper to earn points by patronizing a variety of online retailers. In order to use a shopping portal, you simply log in with your frequent flyer number, identify an online retailer that’s of interest to you and “click through” to the retailer’s regular website where you complete the transaction as you normally would. The portal notes the transaction and awards you bonus points for the purchase.  Although you can use any credit card to make your purchase, you can maximize your Pointing by paying with your favorite awards earning credit card.  In other words, you would earn points from shopping through the portal AND points associated with the card that you’re using.

Some of the major Online Shopping Portals include the following:

Air Canada
American Airlines
British Airways
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Hawaiian Airlines
US Airways

Several of the airlines are also offering bonus points for channeling your Holiday purchases through their shopping portals:

American: Earn up to 3000 bonus miles by spending $250 through December 22.

AAdvantage Shopping 2013 Holiday Bonus

Aadvantage Shopping 2013 Bonus T&C

United: Earn 500 bonus miles (up to a maximum of 2500 bonus miles) for every $250 spent through December 31.

MileagePlus Shopping 2013 Holiday Bonus

MileagePlus Shopping 2013 Holiday Bonus T&C

However, given the various options for shopping sites, how do you make a decision on which portal to use? For situations such as these, I find to be a very helpful resource. The site is a directory of online shopping sites that allows you to make side-by-side comparisons of your various rewards options.  For example, a search of the options for The North Face reveals the following Pointing opportunities:

The North Face EVreward OptionsNevertheless, I realize that by shopping at home I’m missing out on the camaraderie that arises when you cram large numbers of bargain hungry consumers into a confined space. Therefore, in order to simulate the Black Friday experience I got up well before dawn to write this post. Also, to experience the festive crush of humanity I missed earlier, I’ve taken to jumping into revolving doors with complete strangers.

Of course, I don’t want my Partner F to miss out on all of the fun. So, as a special treat I’ve set his alarm set for 3:00 am tomorrow morning.  Shhh …. Don’t tell anyone. It’s meant to be a surprise.  Happy (Online) Holiday Shopping everyone!

How about you?  Have you ever made a purchase through a points earning online shopping portal? What has been your experience?