Top Deals to Earn Back Airline Miles

Smart shoppers can recoup some of their spent airline miles.

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Summer travel often means chewing through hard-won airline miles. Returning from far-flung destinations can mean already plotting a return trip or thinking of the next locale on the list, and after the thrill of vacation is over, travelers may be looking for quick ways to earn those airline miles back.

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Fortunately, smart consumers can find good deals readily available online through airline carriers’ shopping programs. Online purchases, made through the airline’s own online shopping portal, garner significantly more bonus miles than shopping in-store. For example, American Airlines offers one bonus mile per dollar spent at a brick-and-mortar Sunglass Hut store when you use a credit card registered with the airline, but six bonus miles per dollar when shopping online through the AAdvantage shopping portal.

With such lucrative deals on bonus miles floating around, we’ve decided to highlight a few that will help smart shoppers recoup some of their spent airline miles.

OfficeMax.com

If returning from a summer vacation means returning to the office, you can at least comfort yourself with dreaming of your next airline destination. United Mileage Plus Shopping allows an online customer to win four bonus miles per dollar spent at OfficeMax.com, so you can generously volunteer to order supplies online for the office and have your company reimburse you later. If you prefer to fly Delta, Delta SkyMiles shopping offers two miles per dollar spent at OfficeMax.com as its bonus rate.

Shoebuy.com

You might have purchased shoes or sandals prior to vacation, but if you’re trying to earn miles for the next trip, you can replace those flip-flops with some more sensible walking shoes. The Hawaiian Airlines eMarket program entices with eight bonus miles per dollar spent on Shoebuy.com, and Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Shopping gives a very good seven bonus miles per dollar as well.

Macy’s

With a large inventory, Macys.com is stocked for deals. American Airlines’ AAdvantage Shopping gives four bonus miles per dollar spent at the online retailer. Hawaiian’s online shopping portal offers the same four bonus miles as well.

Under Armour

To stay in shape for the next beach outing, get good athletic gear to make the most of your workouts. Purchases at Under Armour’s online store will net you five bonus miles per dollar spent through Hawaiian Airlines’ shopping program. Other airline carriers give significant bonus miles too, from American’s four bonus miles on AAdvantage Shopping to Southwest’s three bonus miles on Rapid Rewards Shopping.

QVC.com

Another online retailer that makes it easy to earn bonus miles, QVC has plenty of summer deals for home, beauty, clothing, and a lot more. Take four bonus miles per dollar spent at QVC.com from Delta’s SkyMiles program, and three bonus miles from American Airlines’ AAdvantage shopping program. US Airways’ Dividend Miles Shopping Mall offers two bonus miles per dollar spent for customers who shop through their portal, and JetBlue’s ShopTrue program comes in with one bonus mile for every dollar spent at QVC.com.

The deals highlighted above are by no means a comprehensive list of the best deals to recoup lost airline miles, but just a sampling of the rewards that can accrue for a discerning customer. Remember to sign in through the airline carrier’s own shopping portal to receive all these bonus miles. Or use NerdWallet’s Online Deal Finder to see which retailers are participating with each airline carrier’s shopping program.

Tim Chen is the CEO of NerdWallet, an unbiased credit card comparison website dedicated to helping you find the best credit cards.