Although not many of us are flying at the moment, online shopping is becoming more popular than ever. And shopping online can be a great way to earn Qantas or Velocity frequent flyer points – up to 13 points per dollar, in fact.
In Australia, you also have the option to earn Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer or United MileagePlus miles with hundreds of online retailers. And that’s in addition to any points you’ll normally earn for paying by credit card!
The trick is to shop via your preferred airline’s online shopping portal. For example, you can earn Qantas points for making purchases through the Qantas Shopping Online Mall, or earn Virgin Australia Velocity points via the Velocity e-Store. It’s an easy way to boost your points balance for purchases you were going to make anyway.
How online shopping portals work
To earn points through an online shopping portal, you’ll first need to log into your frequent flyer account and ensure your browser cookies are enabled. Then, click through from your airline’s shopping portal to the retailer’s website. The airline will track any purchases you make in order to reward you with frequent flyer points for every dollar spent.
Airlines are able to offer points in this way because, if you click through to the online retailer from their website, they’ll earn a small commission on any sales. They then pass on some of this commission back to you in the form of frequent flyer points.
This is similar to the business model of Cashrewards, except that Cashrewards gives actual money back. (You can also purchase unlimited Woolworths gift cards for 5% off using Cashrewards!)
Qantas Shopping Online Mall
The Qantas Shopping Online Mall boasts a large list of online retailers where you can earn bonus Qantas points. These include Fantastic Furniture, Apple, UNIQLO, T2 and Pizza Hut. The number of Qantas points earned per dollar varies by store.
To ensure you never miss a points-earning opportunity, Qantas Frequent Flyer even offers a helpful browser extension. The Qantas Shopping PointsPrompter highlights bonus Qantas point offers available when you’re shopping online. However, you should be aware of and comfortable with the possible privacy implications before downloading this extension. If you see something you wish to buy, you’ll still need to go to the Qantas Shopping portal to earn points for the purchase.
The Velocity e-Store is Virgin Australia’s online shopping portal. With most retailers, you’ll earn 2 Velocity points per dollar spent.
There are more than 200 online retailers participating in the Velocity e-Store including Menulog, iTunes, Myer, Bing Lee, Groupon and Specsavers.
Although there are many online retailers that participate in both the Qantas and Velocity shopping portals, the number of points awarded per dollar is not always equal. So, it pays to shop around!
Other airline shopping portals
In Australia, Singapore Airlines offers KrisFlyer miles for every USD10 spent on the KrisFlyer Spree shopping portal. Similarly, the Asia Miles iShop awards miles for every USD1 spent. Asia Miles is the loyalty program of Cathay Pacific.
United Airlines has also launched its own MileagePlus Shopping portal in Australia.
How COVID-19 has affected online shopping portals
With more Australians shopping online than ever before, online shopping portals remain a great way to earn extra points. But, although there are some new participating retailers, others are now no longer affiliated with these online portals. David Jones, for example, is no longer on the Qantas Shopping mall.
Online retailers generally participate in these kinds of programs to promote their businesses and drive sales. But they are not free for retailers, who must pay a commission on sales. Some retailers that are currently trying to cut costs – or are experiencing exceptionally high current demand, such as Dan Murphy’s or supermarket chains – are therefore cutting back on promotional and cash back offers in general at the moment.
Meanwhile, it will no longer be possible to earn Flybuys points for eBay purchases from 6 May 2020.