Best Ways to Earn Miles & Points
Update: Putting spend on a rewards-earning credit cards added to the list.
During the course of my blogging over the past month or two, I have touched on a couple of methods for obtaining miles and points. However, I feel that I have done an inadequate job of disseminating these in an effective manner, which is what I set out to do when I started my blog: I wanted to explain how to “Navigate the path to great (and inexpensive) travel” in a straight-forward, easy-to-follow manner. So please sit back and let me cover the basic ways to earn miles and points, other than the obvious flying or staying at a hotel.
1. Credit Card Churning – By far, the most efficient way to earn miles and points is to apply for credit card sign-up bonuses, as I outlined in this post on churning.
Before anyone harasses me about the negatives of using credit, I will mention that I am all for their use so as long as it is done wisely, as I mentioned in my post. After all, YOUR CREDIT SCORE IS ONE OF YOUR MOST IMPORTANT ASSETS in life. Thus, you should track your score before and after, pay your bills on time, operate with a goal in mind, etc.
2. Put your spending on one of your rewards-earning credit cards. Many times you can earn multiple points per dollar for certain spending categories. The American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card (3x on Travel, 2x on Gas and Groceries) and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on Travel and Dining) are great examples of this.
3. Watch for Promotions – Travel hacking is all about operating based on knowledge. The best way to find information on various promotions (usually for hotel programs) is to read. Read travel blogs like mine, look at FlyerTalk and Mile Point, and look at the websites of the loyalty programs you are a member of and interested in.
As a suggestion, my daily reading list includes The Points Guy, One Mile At a Time, View From The Wing, Million Mile Secrets and Mommy Points—all which I have found to be tremendous resources.
Right now there a ton of hotel promotions. New Girl In the Air has a great post on these, that compares them based on what your situation is and what your aspirations are.
4. Dining For Miles – You gotta eat, so you might as well earn miles my signing up your debit/credit card for when you dine out. See my dining for miles post for more information.
5. Shopping Portals – Every US airline and a number of other credit card and loyalty programs have promotions where you can earn miles and points for using their shopping portals. Often these portals will even offer multiple points per dollar spent with a particular merchant. A great resource for researching what bonuses with a particular store are available for each shopping portal is evreward.
6. Loyalty Program sign-up bonuses, such as with Jet Airways and BMI. It is not much, but it can certainly launch you on your way to your goals.
7. FourSquare Check-Ins – As I covered you can use this handy bit of social media to earn miles and points for free. In the last month or two, I have earned nearly 10,000 miles and points from this trick alone.
For the ethically faint of heart, the Terms & Conditions do state that you can be “at or near” the location.
8. Track your hard-earned miles with Award Wallet. It will let you know when your miles are about to expire, and can even act as a secure place to store your account numbers and passwords.
9. Always keep a goal in mind. Travel hacking can be tedious at times, but it is all worth it if there is a reward you are shooting for. For me personally, I am currently looking forward to a trip to Tokyo, with a stopover in Rome.
10. Figure out what works best for you. The internet and travel sites can be a wealth of information, but it is meaningless if you do not find it useful and apply it. Not everything may work for your goals and station in life right now.
At the moment, I would like to be able to churn 5-6 cards every 90 days, but just don’t have the money to meet the spend requirements. So I make sure to not bite off more than I can chew, and only focus on one card at a time
If there are any methods I have left out, please let me know.
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If evonyere actually used all of their rewards, companies would go out of business. A lot of these frequent flyer, survey and credit card point programs assume that only 33% will ever cash in on the rewards. With some smart accounting they won’t even count these programs as a liability on their balance sheet. So, are incentives enough? The goal is only to make them small enough for peopel to take an action, but never high enough for them to cash in . In that case, yes, they appear to be enough. The question I have is when will consumers start demanding more for their time and loyalty.
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