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Maximizing Your Holiday Shopping Spend on Amazon.com

As the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals descend upon us, many will be eager to log onto Amazon and knock out all of their holiday shopping at once. Before you buy anything on Amazon, make sure you are maximizing your mileage earning potential.

Hawaiian Airlines’ shopping portal is the only one that earns frequent flyer miles on Amazon purchases. Though you only earn 1 Hawaiian mile per dollar, that is certainly better than nothing! Reports on FlyerTalk indicate that getting purchases to properly credit can be hit or miss, so make sure you are diligent in keeping track of your purchases and following up. Most FlyerTalkers report that miles credit to your Hawaiian account about three weeks after purchases are made.

You will need to sign up for a Hawaiian Airlines account if you haven’t done so already. To access the shopping portal, make sure you are logged in to your Hawaiian account. Click here and then click Shop Now.

Don’t forget that Hawaiian miles transfer to Hilton HHonors points at a ratio of 1:2. By shopping through the Hawaiian portal, you can essentially be earning 2X HHonors points on all Amazon purchases along with whatever you would receive with your normal mileage earning credit card! Note that transfers must be made in blocks of 5,000 Hawaiian miles. For more reading, check out Scott’s post, Transferring Hawaiian Miles to Hilton.

The Hilton HHonors Surpass card from American Express also earns 6X Hilton points at grocery stores and drug stores. Places like CVS and Walgreen’s definitely sell Amazon gift cards and most big grocery chains should as well. If you want to quickly pad your HHonors balance, this is an excellent way. I have several big purchases on Amazon coming up, so I will be employing this method during the holidays.

Keep in mind that Scott values HHonors points at 0.4 cents, so you would get more value by simply purchasing goods on Amazon.com with your Starwood Preferred Guest credit card. Scott values Starpoints at 2.81 cents whereas 6 HHonors points equates to 2.4 cents in value. For the complete breakdown, check out the Mile Value Leaderboard.

Xiamen Airlines Officially Joins SkyTeam Alliance

According to this thread on FlyerTalk, the SkyTeam alliance has added China-based Xiamen Airlines to its growing list of carriers. With China Southern in Guangzhou, China Airlines in Taipei, and China Eastern in Shanghai also members of  SkyTeam, it appears that this alliance is going for maximum coverage of China.

Xiamen Airlines actually announced their application to join the SkyTeam back in November of last year, but the recently published press release officially confirms their membership in the alliance.

Xiamen has an extensive intra-China route network as well as coverage of other major Asian cities such as Seoul, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur. They do not serve any North American cities, so the easiest SkyTeam option to reach Asia still remains China Southern. China Southern is the most generous SkyTeam partner in releasing award space between North America <-> China. Delta Airlines also serves Tokyo and Seoul from the US, but finding a low level award can be an exercise in frustration. For tips on how to actually find award space with Delta, make sure to check out Scott’s post, Free First Class Next Month: Using Delta.com for Award Searches.

Xiamen’s website can be a bit tricky to navigate, but a version of their new SkyTeam page can be found here. Maps of their route network can be found here.

No redemption details were announced in the press release, but as soon as we know more about spending partner miles on Xiamen as well as the quality of their seat, we will post about it. For now, you can read Scott’s post, Surcharge Info on All Delta Skymiles Partners. It’s important to note that both China and China Southern Airlines impose fuel surcharges when redeeming Skymiles.

I was able to find information on SkyTeam partner award tickets here. Unfortunately, Xiamen publishes a distance-based chart that looks to be very unfavorable. Check out the screen shot below. Short hops (less than 1,200 kilometers) between cities in China cost a whopping 23,000 miles oneway on SkyTeam partners!

Xiamen’s own award chart can be found here. Some shorter flights can be had for 5,000 miles in economy oneway. Pricing starts to really skyrocket as the distance flown on your award increases.

Unfortunately, Egret Club miles are also very difficult to acquire when flying on partner airlines. On SkyTeam carriers such as Alitalia and Air France, deeply discounted economy fares will only receive 25-50% towards mileage accrual in Xiamen’s frequent flyer program. If you are trying to earn any Egret Club miles when flying Delta, only the most expensive/flexible economy fares and business class fares will qualify for credit. The full SkyTeam accrual chart can be found here.

Recap

There are several ways to boost your frequent flyer balances when shopping on Amazon.com. Hawaiian Airlines offers 1 mile for every $1 spent on Amazon if you click through their shopping portal. Their posting reliability is a bit spotty, but Hawaiian is the rare portal that rewards you for shopping on Amazon.

Even if you don’t use the Hawaiian portal to shop on Amazon, you can still leverage your category bonus credit cards. Purchasing Amazon gift cards at an office supply store with your Chase Ink business credit card earns 5X Chase points. You get 6X HHonors points by buying the same Amazon gift cards at a grocery store. Both methods are great ways to extract maximum value from your normal holiday shopping.

Xiamen Airlines is the newest China-based airline to join the SkyTeam alliance. This is potentially great news for travelers, but we still don’t know enough about partner availability to make any judgments on their value to the alliance. Their own distance-based award chart is extremely expensive save for short hops within China.

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