Who wants to earn oodles of Alaska miles today?

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As we reported last night, the Alaska MileagePlan Shopping portal is offering 15 miles per dollar at 12 different stores, today only (Friday, January 20th 2017).  If you have plans to buy from any of these merchants anyway, today may be a great day to do so!  But, first we should check whether this deal is really special…

alaska portal 15X Alaska miles

Are the merchandise prices good?

I have no idea.  I recommend price comparison shopping in a separate browser from the one you use to portal shop.  If you can get a significantly better price elsewhere, it’s probably not worth earning 15 miles per dollar in exchange for paying the higher price.  That said, you may be able to price match to get the best of both worlds.

Is 15 miles per dollar special?

15 miles per dollar sounds awesome, but is it?  It’s possible that 15X is the usual rate for some of these stores.  So, let’s use CashBackMonitor to examine the historical best portal rates for each of the 12 stores:

1800Flowers.com: Good deal, but bad timing

When earning miles or cash back from 1-800-Flowers, you can choose to apply a promo code or go through a portal, but not both. If you apply a promo code, 1-800-Flowers will not give you portal rewards.  So, the best use of portal promotions like these is to buy 1-800-Flowers gift cards (where you can’t use a promo code anyway) or to buy a Celebrations Passport membership.  But, there are often Amex Offers that make these deals much better.  Unfortunately, I don’t know of any Amex Offers that are available today for 1-800-Flowers.  If you do buy a gift card or a Celebrations Passport membership today, pay with an Amex business card if you have one.  That will give you an extra 5% back thanks to their OPEN Savings program.

Special note: if you look at 1-800-Flowers through CashBackMonitor, you’ll see that the United portal appears to be offering 30 miles per dollar.  That’s awesome, but if you explore further you’ll find that the 30X offer is via a promo code (MP55), not really via the portal.  If you have a Celebrations Passport membership (for free shipping & handling), then using the United promo code for ordering gifts and flowers is a great deal.

For more about 1800Flowers, see: 1800Flowers Extreme Stacking promo codes, portals, gift cards, and more.

JC Penney: Good Deal

JC Penney occasionally offers 10 to 12 miles per dollar, but 15X is extremely rare.

Lord & Taylor: Good Deal

Lord & Taylor often offers 1 day deals for 12X United miles, but 4X seems to be the most commonly available rate.

Neiman Marcus: Good Deal + Great Timing = Great Deal

Neiman Marcus does offer 15X through portals every now and then, but what makes this deal really special is that this promotion will stack with the recently released Neiman Marcus Amex Offer. With that promotion you will get a $50 credit with a $200+ purchase and earn 15X Alaska MileagePlan Miles.  If you manage to spend exactly $200, you’ll get $50 back (25% back), but your earned miles will be based on the full $200 purchase: $200 x $15 miles/$ = 3,000 miles.

Nike: Good Deal

Nike often offers 15X for one-day only (and we’ve seen as high as 21X United miles), but most often the best rate is around 6X.

Old Navy: Great Deal

Old Navy usually offers only 3 or 4 miles per dollar.  They’ve gone as high as 10X United or AA miles, but that has been extremely rare.

Rosetta Stone: Maybe OK deal?

Unfortunately the Best Rate History shows the Hilton portal as being best at 14X most of the time, so we don’t know what the usual best airline mile rate is.  We did see one day where British Airways was offering 16X.  The usual cash back rate is 10%, but we’ve seen as high as 24%.

Saks.com: Good Deal

Saks now and then offers 15X United miles, but only for United cardholders. 5X seems to be the most commonly available rate.

Saks Off Fifth: Good Deal

Saks Off Fifth now and then offers 15X United miles, but 4X seems to be the most commonly available rate.

Sephora: Good Deal

Sephora has offered 15X a number of times in the past through various portals and has even gone as high as 20X a couple of times.  That said, 4X seems to be their usual best rate, so if you have stuff you want to buy at Sephora, this is a great day to do so.

Spring: Good Deal

Spring has only been available through portals since June of last year, so there is limited history here (I don’t even know what they sell).  That said, previously they’ve only offered up to 8 or 9 miles per dollar, so 15X seems pretty good.

Under Armour: OK Deal

Under Armour has offered as much as 20 United miles per dollar, but that’s extremely rare.  Usually they’re closer to 6 miles per dollar.  That said, 15% cash back via Discover Deals is fairly common, and if you’re in your first year of card ownership, you’ll eventually get that amount doubled.  So, for those with first year Discover It cards, Discover Deals is a better deal.

Gift Cards?

Can you earn 15X miles when buying gift cards from these stores?  Check for recent reader reports on the Frequent Miler Laboratory.  To save you a bit of time, yes people have reported recent success with buying e-gift cards from Neiman Marcus.  I haven’t checked the other stores.

Coupons?

Portals often state that the use of coupons not found on their site will invalidate the offer.  In my experience, that’s usually not true.  With a couple of exceptions, I always try to use the best coupon I can find and have earned the portal miles anyway.  One big exception in this crop of stores is 1-800-Flowers.  With 1-800-Flowers, the use of any promo code is likely to result in your portal miles being clawed back.

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