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By: Caroline Lupini
When you think about the number of miles you need for an award flight, it’s easy to get intimidated. You need ~12,500 miles just for a flight within the U.S. with most airlines and often times you’ll read that the best value is to redeem your miles for international business and first class tickets that cost 50,000 miles or more one-way. It’s no wonder that many people feel like they can’t earn enough miles for these types of trips.
We talk a lot about how you can earn miles through credit card sign-up bonuses on 10xTravel, but there are also some other great ways to easily earn points and miles that are easy to work into your regular routine to help you top up one of your accounts.
Here are 6 great ways you can earn a few more miles and points!
Many airlines and hotel loyalty programs have shopping portals that allow you to earn additional miles and points for online shopping you are already doing. Other portals will give you the option to earn additional cash back for these purchases.
Of course, you don’t want to have to take the time to compare rates between all of these different portals before you make your purchase. Luckily, you can quickly and easily compare rates between most shopping portals at CashbackMonitor so you don’t have to individually look on each site.
Now, you don’t always want to choose the program that’s offering the most points or miles back because you always need to consider how you value that type of point or mile (and also compare to the cashback rate!). For example, I looked up what you can currently get back for shopping at Apple.
I have a lot of British Airways Avios right now, so I would rather earn 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent than 3X British Airways Avios. When you consider the flexibility of Ultimate Rewards points, the small difference might not matter very much.
Additionally, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards points in the Chase travel portal at a rate of 1.5 or 1.25 cents per point, respectively.
Chase Sapphire Preferred (learn more)
Chase Sapphire Reserve (learn more)
Personally, I also have a Discover card, so it would be a tougher call on 5% cash back or 2X Ultimate Rewards points. In the end, you have to decide which will get YOU the most value.
Airline Dining Programs
In addition to shopping portals, many airlines offer a dining program. To take advantage of these programs, your best bet is to choose the airline miles you value most and sign up for that program. Whenever you dine at a participating restaurant and pay with a registered credit card, you’ll earn bonus miles.
These dining programs often offer a sign-up bonus if you dine a certain number of times within the first month or two. Unfortunately, you can’t have a credit card registered with multiple airline dining programs, which is why it makes the most sense to choose the one you value most.
While you won’t be able to add your go-to card to multiple airline dining programs, you can sometimes double-dip by signing up for the Dosh cash back app. If a restaurant is on both Dosh and an airline dining list, you can earn a few extra miles and a little cash back to top it off!
Pay Your Rent, Mortgage, or Other Bills with a Credit Card
You can pay just about any bill with a credit card through Plastiq—though it won’t work for many mortgages, but it might not always make sense to do so. Plastiq charges a 2.5% fee to make payments, so you have to make sure that the miles or points you’re earning are worth more than the fee.
Generally, paying bills with Plastiq is best left to bills that can’t be paid with a credit card directly when you are working on a minimum spend requirement for a sign-up bonus.
Book Hotel Rooms
If you’re staying at a property with a loyalty program you use—perhaps, Hyatt or Marriott—you might prefer to just book with the hotel chain to earn points with that hotel chain. However, websites such as RocketMiles and PointsHound allow you to earn airline miles when you book hotel rooms, which is especially useful when you’re staying at non-chain hotels.
You should always compare rates directly with the hotel and other booking sites before booking with RocketMiles or PointsHound because their rates can be higher than you get elsewhere. Additionally, you have to consider if there are any benefits you’d receive during your stay by booking directly with a hotel.
Crossover Rewards and Other Partnerships
Airlines and hotels will sometimes partner with other travel-related companies and offer bonus miles. Currently, Delta partners with Airbnb and Lyft to offer bonus Delta SkyMiles when booking Airbnb rentals and riding with Lyft.
To set up Lyft, you simply need to link your accounts and you’ll automatically earn Delta SkyMiles every time you ride, so there’s no reason not to do it. If you’re booking an Airbnb, you’ll have to remember to click through just like with a shopping portal when you are ready to book.
Look Out for Bank Account Bonuses
Banks occasionally partner with airlines to offer sign-up bonuses for opening new bank accounts. These don’t happen all the time, but keep an eye out just in case.
For example, American Airlines and Citi occasionally partner with each other to offer American AAdvantage miles after signing up for a new account. Typically, the more you deposit into the account, the more you will earn.
Keep in mind, you will have to pay taxes on these bank account bonuses.
There are a lot of ways to earn miles and points that don’t involve flying, staying at hotels or getting a credit card—though, this is clearly the fastest way to get tons of points. However, the 6 methods we’ve discussed can help you keep earning points or just get you the last few miles needed for a redemption.
If you’re just starting out or looking for the easiest way to earn a few extra points and miles, I recommend signing up for your favorite airline dining program (and Dosh) and always clicking through a shopping portal before you shop online. You’ll be amazed at how fast you can rack those miles up!