When something is too good to be true, it scares me.
(Ironic coming from a guy who spends an inordinate amount of time convincing people that traveling can be done for next to nothing)
So when I first heard about shopping portals I remember thinking, “there’s no way clicking through a portal could be that beneficial, can it really be that easy?”
The answer is: YES.
At the foundation of award travel is maximizing points/miles on every dollar you spend, and using shopping portals is one of the simplest ways to earn additional points/miles for money you are already spending.
Today, I’m going to show you that shopping portals are not too good to be true.
I’m going to walk through what they are, how they work, and where you can find them. By the end of today’s post shopping portals will be like that rich uncle who slides money in your wallet when you’re not looking (wait, I want an uncle like that).
What are shopping portals and how do they work?
Okay, let’s start from the top. What exactly is a shopping portal?
A shopping portal is a third-party website that offers you an incentive for shopping at various retailers through their portal.
When you shop through their portal they receive a small commission on any purchase you make and give you points or miles as a reward.
Think of it like your friend buying you a beer in exchange for using their Uber code. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Like I mentioned earlier, I am pretty skeptical of these sorts of arrangements without knowing why it benefits each person involved. So let’s take a look at what everyone has to gain here.
- You receive points/miles for shopping through the portal
- The retailer gets additional business when you buy something
- The airline gets revenue from selling points/miles to the portal
- The portal receives a cut from the retailer from what you purchased
Boom. Everyone’s happy.
How to use a shopping portal
Sounds great, so how do you use these glorious shopping portals?
I’m glad you asked.
All you need to do to take advantage of shopping portals is to start any online shopping search at the airline shopping portal of your choice.
(Google “X Airline Shopping Portal” to find them)
You’ll need to create an account on your first visit so the portal knows where to credit the points. This should take no longer than 60 seconds.
Then simply find the retailer that you would like to shop with, click the link to redirect to their site, and complete the purchase as you normally would. The portal will track your purchase and award you points/miles based on the amount you spend.
Easy, right? Let’s review.
- Go to the shopping portal of your choice
- Create an account on the portal and link it with your airline loyalty account
- Use the portal to find the retailer and product you want and complete your purchase through the portal link that pops up
Okay, now let’s take a look at a few major airline shopping portals:
Southwest has a straightforward and easy-to-use shopping portal. From the homepage, simply login (or enroll if this is your first time) and enter your Rapid Rewards information to get started.
How it works: