How to get Airline Miles for Free?
I have written multiple articles that deal with earning miles by flying. These include – How to Maximize Airline Miles and How to Maximize Status Miles. If I look at all the miles I have earned over the years, more miles actually come from non-flying activities than I have earned by putting myself on a plane. Here are some ways to get miles without flying or without spending any money other than what you were going to spend anyway:
Get a Credit Card:
Probably the easiest way to get miles is by getting a credit card offered by the program you earn your miles on or a card that lets you transfer miles/points earned to your program. Typically credit cards also give a very generous chunk of miles for a new card. British Airways has a card that gives up to 100,000 miles! Learn more about Picking the Right Airline Miles Credit Card in my two part article on the topic and in my article on American Express cards.
Other Financial Institutions:
Airlines also offer free miles for opening and funding accounts with investment companies, taking out a Home Loan, refinancing etc. If the rates are good and you are going to take the step anyway, make sure you don’t miss out on some free miles.
Hotel Stays and Car Rentals:
If you travel, you probably stay in hotels and rent cars. Both these activities earn miles. Check with the programs of the hotels and/or car rental agencies you use and make sure you use the ones that allow you to earn miles on the mileage program you earn miles on.
On the topic of Hotel programs, I have written an article on why I believe that the Starwood Preferred Guest, by the Starwood Hotels group is the best Loyalty Program out there.
Most major airlines today have online airline malls. These are shopping portals that allow you to earn miles while shopping. You can shop at stores from Apple to Zales and get miles on purchases of songs on iTunes to Gift cards. Before you make any online purchase, check to see if that website is affiliated to your airline program’s airline mall. You are going to spend the money anyway, why not get miles for it? Better still, double-dip by making the online purchase on your airline miles credit card!
Several airline programs have Miles for Meals programs. The way they work is that you register your credit card with the program. Next time you eat out and pay with that credit card, you get miles. Pretty simple. I have actually received miles without realizing that I was going to. I just went out and got take out from a nearby restaurant and few days later the miles showed up. Wish I had ordered more!
Click for Miles:
There are quite a few online programs that give you airline miles on certain airlines for activities such as clicking on advertisements sent to you via email or taking online surveys. The ones I have used for online surveys are eMiles and eRewards. MyPoints.com is another such program that gives points for clicking on ads and taking surveys. United Airlines’ Mileage Plus program is the only airline program though you can transfer the MyPoints’s points to. Whereas, eMiles and eRewards have a pretty vast list of airline and hotel programs to choose from.
Take a train:
Amtrak has a partnership with Continental Airlines (sorry, no other airline, yet). It allows you to earn/transfer your Amtrak frequent rider points to Continental OnePass miles.
There are all kinds of offers airlines put out that can earn you free miles. Some give free miles for purchasing the flight directly from their website, others for checking in online, as opposed to checking in at the airport. Make sure you subscribe to your airlines’ emails to get the latest promotions. I regularly post all that I hear off on Twitter and Facebook. It is by no means a comprehensive list of all promotions. You can follow me on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook for the latest updates.
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