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The Street
The Street
Jeffrey Quiggle

American Airlines has a big pricing trick people are using

Frequent travelers tend to have a common goal of getting from one place to another in the most inexpensive and convenient way.

And American Airlines  (AAL)  provides a way for people to save money on air travel while going about their ordinary lives.

Related: Southwest Airlines makes big pricing change passengers will love

The simple trick involves making a relatively minor change to one's online shopping habits.

While many people purchase items with apps and websites such as Amazon  (AMZN) , they can also choose to use the American Airlines shopping portal to amass points and miles for future travel.

As Katie Genter of The Points Guy explained, people who have an AAdvantage account can decrease the cost of travel by using this method.

"One of the best ways to earn American Airlines miles on purchases you're already making is through the AAdvantage eShopping website," she wrote. "You can earn American miles by clicking through this site before making online purchases."

This is how it works

Online shopping portals are common, but the AAdvantage eShopping experience is tied to American Airlines. So potential passengers can earn miles and loyalty points by clicking through the portal before making online purchases.

"Common reward rates range from 1 mile per dollar spent to around 10 miles per dollar spent, but you'll occasionally see higher rates," Genter wrote. "Sometimes, you'll get a set number of miles per qualifying purchase."

These are the steps to follow, according to The Points Guy:

Once you have an AAdvantage eShopping account, head to the AAdvantage eShopping site. Make sure you are logged in before each online shopping trip. Then, enter your desired merchant in the "Find a store or product" box at the top of the website and click "Enter" to search.

Doing so will take you to the merchant's landing page or a list of possible merchants. You'll see at this point whether your merchant currently offers an elevated earning rate. For example, Viator was offering 8 miles per dollar spent instead of the standard 2 miles per dollar when I wrote this story.

Before clicking the "Shop now" button to head to the merchant's website and make your purchase, scroll down to read the "Mileage terms" box to ensure your purchase will be eligible. If satisfied, scroll back up and click "Shop now." A new window will open, and you'll be redirected to your merchant's website. Once there, shop as you normally would in that window. If you make a qualifying purchase in that window, you should earn American miles as detailed on the AAdvantage eShopping page for that merchant at the time of your purchase.

An American Airlines jet is seen flying above an ocean. Travelers can earn miles and points by putting the AAdvantage shopping site to use.

Image source: Shutterstock

How loyalty points are involved

Earning miles by choosing this approach to shopping is helpful when it comes to saving on air travel. But American Airlines also allows frequent travelers to amass loyalty points.

"If you want to earn American Airlines elite status, you'll be excited to learn you can earn loyalty points through the American AAdvantage eShopping portal. The miles you'll earn — such as 8 miles per dollar spent — are base miles and therefore also count as loyalty points," wrote Genter. "However, any bonus miles you earn through airline shopping portal promotions won't count as loyalty points."

That said, the bonus miles can be a worthwhile pursuit on their own.

"The AAdvantage portal is currently offering 5 miles per $1 spent on purchases at Adidas; previously, it was 1 mile per $1," wrote Gabrielle Bernardini for The Points Guy on Jan. 11. "And if I spend $200, I will receive 500 bonus miles in my American Airlines account."

Related: Veteran fund manager picks favorite stocks for 2024

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