3 Easy Back-To-School Shopping Tricks to Earn Miles AND Save Money

Organize back-to-school shopping today to earn mega rewards points on stuff students need to buy anyway

Back-to-school shopping is now in full swing– from mattress pads, supplies, laptops and travel planning for out-of-town students.

Perhaps you’ve already figured out how to earn mega miles when paying college tuition.

Now, use these 3 easy tricks build up rewards points while are students prepare to slay the syllabi and rock the rubrics.

1. Ditch the debit card

It’s tempting to get sucked in to the convenient allure of debit & ATM cards- no bills, no fuss, no payments to remember in future,- merely swipe and forget.

Unfortunately, debit cards typically don’t earn travel rewards or cash back. Each swipe draws down your cash balance that may instead be used more effectively to pay down debt or create float until next direct deposit paycheck posts.

Credit cards, when used responsibly, give you benefits not provided by debit cards:

  • Tremendous travel rewards
  • Float- up to 30-45 days (or more)
  • Raise your credit score
  • Reduce your cost of financing future large purchases such as mortgages and car loans

Ditch the debit card in favor of a points-earning credit card and watch your travel points balances grow dramatically.

2. Opt in to AMEX Offers

AMEX Offers give cardholders bonus points, cash back or both on purchases you’ve already planned to make. You’ll need to follow a couple of steps to be sure the offers are correctly applied to your account so that you get credit.

If you’ve created on online account for your AMEX card, you’ll see the “Amex Offers and Benefits” section on the AmericanExpress.com landing page toward the bottom.

Select the merchant offers you’re interested in and “Add to Card.”

After selecting and Adding to your account, the added offers will appear in the “Added to Card” tab.

Note, not every AMEX account is targeted with every offer. Your offers may differ from those listed below.

Check out the Amex Offers free money that could be waiting for you

Dorm Supplies


Same day-delivery for Prime Members

Basic school supplies

Laptops and technology

Save 30% up to $100 in savings on laptop and tech purchases at newegg.com:

3. Buh-bye Bricks & Mortar

Avoid traffic, parking, door dings and long lines at the cash register in favor of on-line shopping. You’ll often find special discounts online not available in-store.

Even better- you’ll get points/miles or cash back on purchases you need to make anyway by making one extra click you may not be familiar with.

Let’s talk portal shopping

Most retailers promote their products through shopping portals- sponsored by banks, hotels and airlines- that share the affiliate commission with you (in the form of points, miles or cash back) after you make a purchase.

Accessing the retailer through a shopping portal (and earning the bonus miles or cash back) is simple.

For the bank, airline and hotel portals, simply login through your on-line bank or hotel account loyalty account.

Let me walk you through

Let’s walk through a simple example. Let’s head to Bed Bath & Beyond for the bedding and shower supplies. Rather than going directly to Bed Bath & Beyond, head to Cashbackmonitor.com first to find which shopping portal is paying out the largest bonus for shopping at its partner Bed Bath & Beyond.

Click to select your favorite program, quickly scan the terms and conditions for any product limitations AND make a note of the discounts that the merchant is honoring when shopping through the portal so you can apply those manually at checkout.

Click through to the Bed Bath & Beyond site from your favorite portal and make your purchases normally.

I’ve selected British Airways @ 4 points per dollar since we use these points and $5.60 to fly our youngest to/from D.C. for college.

Make your purchases, ship to home, dorm, mailroom or pick up in store to avoid shipping charges, then check out. If you’re still clutching that debit card from earlier, feel free to use that if you haven’t yet applied for a points-earning credit.

You’ll earn portal bonus points whether you pay with debit card or credit card. If paying by credit card, you’ll earn those points/miles in addition to the portal bonus points.

The points will post to your account as soon as the merchant receives proof of delivery from the carrier.

Using these techniques, stacking the AMEX promo with the British Airways shopping portal, a $25 BBB purchase will generate the following points:

AMEXBritish AirwaysTotal
500 (AMEX Offer bonus)100 ($25*4)600
25 (one AMEX point per dollar
using credit card)

You’ll earn 625 valuable travel rewards points on a single $25 purchase.

That same purchase in a bricks and mortar store using your debit card? That’s 0 points (aka no soup) for you.

Dreading that lengthy Ace Hardware check-out line to pick up the special S-hooks and putty? Earn gobs of miles instead by ordering and paying on-line for in-store pickup.

Which of these tricks are you planning to incorporate into your back-to-school shopping plan?

Already finished shopping? How many points and miles did you score and how are you going to use your new stash?

Always feel free to reach out to me with any questions.