Quick Points: Earning points, miles and cash back on in-store purchases – The Points Guy - 1Home

Quick Points: Earning points, miles and cash back on in-store purchases – The Points Guy

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This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
You’ve likely seen us talk about all of the ways to “double dip” — or even “triple dip” — when making online purchases. You can earn the points from your credit card, a shopping portal and an app. These combinations are a great way to rack up points and miles.
But what if you’re shopping in person? Can you still earn extra points and miles when you aren’t in front of a computer, using a shopping portal? Luckily, the answer is “yes.”
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As the name suggests, you can earn United Airlines miles with the MileagePlus X app.
Prior to making an in-store purchase, you can purchase a gift card for that merchant via the app. This applies even if you don’t pay with a United credit card — as long as the card is listed as a payment method inside your MileagePlus X app. But if you have a United cobranded credit card, you’ll earn 25% more miles on top of the standard earnings. You’ll earn this bonus even if you pay with a different credit card.
As gift card transactions process quickly, I normally walk up to the cash register and type in the exact charge, to the penny, in the app. Thus, you can earn a bonus multiplier from the app (up to 8 miles per dollar) and then use the best credit card for that spending category to earn extra points this way.
In the screenshot above, you could earn 5 United miles per dollar on purchases at Domino’s. If you pay with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn an additional 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar. And remember that at most merchants, you can pay the exact amount you need for your purchase, rather than buying set amounts with traditional gift cards.
Related: Here’s why it matters which card you use to pay in the United MPX app
While they’re usually called “online shopping portals,” some of these portals work with in-store purchases. If the portal doesn’t specifically say it works with in-person shopping, your luck can be hit or miss. However, some of these portals specifically highlight the ability to shop in person and still earn bonus points and miles — including new-user bonuses.
Two portals that regularly offer bonuses and allow you to achieve them with in-store shopping are the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan shopping portal and United MileagePlus Shopping.
You may also earn on purchases you pick up in-store. Read the terms and conditions of each merchant to ensure this applies.
Related: Earn more miles with new shopping portal bonuses from these airlines
Similar to the above options, SimplyMiles offers bonus miles on purchases after adding offers to your account. These can be used online and in person. However, you must use a Mastercard to participate in these offers. As long as you pay with the card linked to the offer in your account, you will qualify for the bonus earnings.
All offers come in the form of bonus American Airlines AAdvantage miles. On top of the bonus miles, you can also earn bonus Loyalty Points, which is great news for anyone chasing AAdvantage elite status.
Related: Chasing American Airlines elite status? Here are 14 ways to earn Loyalty Points
Dosh takes a different approach from the options mentioned above. Rather than earning bonus points or miles, you will earn cash back. Once you accrue at least $25 in earnings, you can cash out via PayPal or Venmo.
In order to earn cash back with Dosh, link a credit card to the app and then use that card to pay at participating merchants. Transactions will track automatically and issue any rewards for which you qualify. Our tests have shown that you can earn Dosh dollars on top of rewards through other programs, meaning you can stack these offers with things like dining programs.
Related: Can I earn points and miles from 2 dining rewards programs at the same time?
Drop is another app in which you can link your credit cards and qualify for earnings automatically at participating merchants. Unlike Dosh, however, you cannot cash out your earnings into your bank account. Drop rewards are worth 0.1 cents apiece and can be cashed out for gift cards to popular merchants like Amazon, Starbucks and Uber, or can be cashed out for crypto.
Related: Interested in earning crypto on your credit cards? Here’s what you need to know
Whenever possible, you should avoid earning just 1 point per dollar on your purchases. By using shopping portals, our guide to the best credit card to use in each spending category and the apps available for in-store purchases, you can stack rewards on each dollar that you spend. Luckily, a few minutes of pre-shopping research is all you need to use select online portals with in-store purchases.
With phone apps, it’s even easier. Just find the merchant you’re currently shopping with and see if it participates in any of the programs you use. If you pay with a card linked to your account, apps like Dosh and Drop will track qualifying purchases automatically. With the MileagePlus X app, you’ll need to purchase a gift card for the merchant and pay with that. Luckily, the gift card will show as a barcode on your phone, which the cashier should be able to scan easily.
An extra minute of work while you’re waiting in line can lead to thousands of extra points each year.
Featured photo by Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.
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This card offers a 80,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Plus, earn 3 ThankYou points per $1 at gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets and on air travel and hotels. 1 ThankYou point per $1 on all other purchases.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Oops! Did you mean…
Welcome to The Points Guy!
The credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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