Shop4Miles.com is a new search engine that offers frequent flyer miles for shoppers. Evan Strauss, President — Loyalty Partners, of Shop4Miles got the idea while working on another shopping comparison engine. He noticed that it didn’t offer an interface that allowed shoppers to compare prices. “Why would I complete a purchase unless I knew I was getting a great deal, even if I was getting miles?” he commented. “Being a self-professed mileage junkie, I wanted to find, compare and then buy!”
Shop4Miles beta site went live in September 2006, offering customers miles in Delta SkyMiles and US Airways Dividend Miles. “I love them for believing in us, even though we are a small outfit.” Shop4Miles’ latest partner is Alaska Mileage Plan. Another partnership is in the works, but nothing that Strauss can fully discuss at this time, “but it will give users more choice and let them control the distribution into the program of their choice in a couple of keystrokes.”
There are 13 shopping categories from which to choose including books, clothing, computers, gifts, health and beauty, home and garden, kids, office and more. Items generally earn one mile per dollar spent, not including shipping and applicable taxes. You can also earn 50 miles for every friend who signs up, to a maximum of 250 miles.
The site boasts that shoppers can choose from over one million products from hundreds of stores and savvy online shoppers will recognize many of the merchants. Strauss says, “We will have 3,000,000,000 products within three months and are adding merchants who want to work with us every day.”
You can search by category, brand name or item and sort by cost or mileage earned. You can also compare the cost between merchants when more than one merchant offers the item. For example, a 26 inch Samsung panel TV ranged from $899.99 to $1,299.99 with corresponding mileage earnings, 900 miles to 1,300 miles. We did a couple of searches for DVD sets on our wish list and were happy to see they were available — but not at the best price we’ve seen elsewhere. So, weigh miles against dollars to make your buying decisions. The miles you earn will be deposited into your account of choice after 500 have been accumulated, and subsequent miles will be deposited in increments of not less than 100.
“We are very different from the traditional mileage mall, where you go to X store and get miles.” Strauss sees Shop4Miles feeling a niche for those shoppers who like to compare products, not merchants. “In some of these mileage malls you may get more miles on your purchase than with us. But with us, you’ll be able to search by a specific product. We think there is plenty of room for both types of programs. We also want Shop4Miles to offer multiple airline programs. We want the consumer to have multiple choices.”