Frequent Flyer

Now, Earn Frequent-Flyer Miles for Ebay Purchases

This month, eBay began participating in the mileage malls of Alaska, American, Southwest, and United. Let the mileage-earning begin!

You do earn miles by shopping at the airlines’ mileage malls, right?

There’s no reason not to. The prices are the same. And by making your purchases through the airline’s portal, you’ll be earning miles—typically between one and 10 miles per $1 spent—that you don’t get when dealing direct through the merchant.

Making a good deal even better are the periodic bonus promotions that amp up the mileage-earning. Those promotions generally proliferate around Christmas and other heavy-buying periods. More recently, the airlines have used back-to-school shopping as the hook to hang their promotions on.

The malls typically feature hundreds of participating online merchants, including most of the big names you’re already regularly patronizing, plus many smaller retailers. Conspicuously missing from the malls’ partner rosters, however, was eBay.

That changed earlier this month, when eBay began participating in the mileage malls of Alaska, American, Southwest, and United. Earning rates vary, as follows:

  • Alaska – .5 miles per $1 spent (3 miles per $1 through September 27)
  • American – 1 mile per $1 spent (3 miles per $1 through September 27)
  • Southwest – .5 points per $1 spent
  • United – .5 miles per $1 spent (1 mile per $1 for United credit-card customers)

Although the earning rates are notably modest, the opportunity to earn miles when buying through eBay is a potentially significant value add for eBay customers. And assuming that eBay will follow the lead of other merchants and offer periodic promotions, with more generous mileage payouts, there will be better deals ahead.

Reminder: To shop via an airline’s mileage mall, you must first stop at the mall’s landing page to log in with your loyalty-program credentials. Thereafter, purchases at any of the mall’s hundreds of participating merchants, now including eBay, can be tracked and credited to your account.

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By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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