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'Tis the season to earn miles for shopping

Have a holiday shopping list? Need frequent flyer miles?

Through the end of the year, American is offering AAdvantage members two different ways to earn bonus miles when shopping at its AAdvantage eShopping mall.

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First, miles earned for purchases charged to a MasterCard (any MasterCard, not just the Citi/AAdvantage MasterCard) at 25 eShopping mall retailers by December 31 will be doubled.

The participating retailers run the gamut, as follows: Barnes & Noble.com, Blue Nile, Bose, Cabela's, circuitcity.com, Dell Home, drugstore.com, eLUXURY.com, Eddie Bauer, eToys, gap.com, GiftCertificates.com, Harry & David, JCPenney, JR.com, Kodak EasyShare Gallery, landsend.com, macys.com, Saks.com, The Sharper Image, Overstock.com, RedEnvelope, Sears, Staples, and TigerDirect.com.

In addition, shoppers will earn "threshold" bonuses for purchases at those same retailers. Charge $250 or more to earn a threshold bonus of 500 miles; charge $500 or more to earn a 1,500-mile threshold bonus; and charge $1,000 or more to earn a 4,000-mile threshold bonus.

Yes, the double miles count toward the threshold.

As is generally the case with miles earned for shopping at a mileage mall, assuming the purchases would have been made anyway, the base miles are truly free. And the bonus miles are truly a bonus. So participating in this and other such offers should be a given for anyone focused on mileage accumulation.

On a personal note, as drop-dead attractive as these miles-for-merchandise offers can be, I often find myself failing to take advantage of them through sheer lack of attention.

Case in point: I just bought several hundred dollars worth of computer memory from TigerDirect, a merchant participating in this promotion. But I simply forgot to make the purchase via the AAdvantage eShopping mall, missing out on the miles.

Don't make the same mistake I did and Scrooge yourself out of frequent flyer miles this Christmas.

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