Do you have travel plans for spring break or summer? Need to fly your college student home? Need to visit colleges with your high school student? Airline miles are very valuable commodities!  For many years I bought everything I could from groceries to gas to Christmas presents with my Southwest Airlines Visa card. This habit enabled our family to earn enough miles for all 5 of us to fly somewhere every summer for vacation. The kids knew our philosophy was, “If Southwest doesn't fly there, we are not going.” As the kids have gotten older, we have become more adventurous and need miles on American Airlines, so my miles strategy has had to become more advanced.

I subscribe to a blog called (I am not receiving any commission for referring you to his blog or for any other advice in this post.) His blog is a wealth of information. While I do not need reviews of hotels in Malaysia, the advice concerning maximizing your miles is invaluable.

One incredible strategy I learned on his blog is SHOPPING THROUGH AIRLINE MILES PORTALS. Before going to any retail website to make a purchase, check the portal of the airline (or hotel or any other points card) website. I check the Southwest and American Airlines portals. I have provided links below to those portals. airlines shopping portal

To earn points:

  1. Register your loyalty membership with the portal.

  2. Search for the store from which you wish to make a purchase. For example, if I want to buy something from Nordstrom, I can search that retailer on both sites. Today Southwest is offering 3 points per $ spent and American is offering 4 miles per $, so I would choose the American Airlines link. Click on the Nordstrom link from the portal and shop as normal. If you make a $50 purchase, you will earn 200 American Advantage miles. You can use any credit card you would like and earn additional points on your card for the purchase as well.

  3. Important small print: You may not use any other promotional codes on your purchase or you will not receive the points/miles. Most airline miles are worth between $.01 and $.02 each, so 200 Advantage points are worth between $2 and $4. If a promotional code will save you more money than the points are worth, use the promotional code.

Happy Shopping and planning your next adventure!