As this holiday season comes to a close and a new year rolls around, there is one thought lingering on every traveler’s mind: where to next?
While you debate between palm trees versus skyscrapers, ancient ruins versus museums, or rock climbing versus sunbathing, consider these methods of collecting airline miles so that, no matter which destination you end up choosing, you’ll have collected enough miles to get yourself at least halfway there for no cost at all.
- Airline-Partnered Credit Card
You sign up for the card; you get thousands of bonus credits. You use the card; you earn one mile to the dollar. When you use the card with the designated airline, you earn two miles to the dollar. There is literally nothing you can do with this card that will not earn you miles. Just make sure to use it as you would a debit card; only swiping for purchases you would make otherwise. Trust us – you don’t need those flakes of gold in your ice cream sundae.
Example: The Delta American Express Gold Card gives you a mile to each dollar you spend; double for when it is a Delta purchase, and to top it all off, they offer discounted rates to members for airline lounge entry.
- Hotel Stays
Whoever came up with the saying “You snooze, you lose” clearly never took advantage of points gained for spending the night at a hotel. What that person didn’t realize was: many of the larger hotel chains are partnered with airlines and are happy to transfer those redeemable points you earned from your past visits. So really – you snooze, you win.
Example: In addition to their partnerships with Emirates Skywards and Delta Skymiles, Starwood Hotels & Resorts has its own program that allows you to book flights with over 150 airlines. An added bonus? No blackout dates.
- Car Rental
Planning a road trip? Rent a car that’s partnered with your preferred airline. Need a weekend getaway? Repeat. And when you just don’t feel like walking the 5 minutes to your friend’s place, why not show up in a shiny new rental and surprise them with a joyride? Admittedly, that last one is a bit dramatic, but who are we to judge?
Example: Car rental companies like Hertz, Alamo, Enterprise, and Europcar have paired with Delta Airlines; offering up to 1,250 miles per rental.
- Dining Out
If you don’t already insist on choosing the restaurant when you go out with friends and relatives, now would be a good time to start. There are a number of airlines that have a preferred dining program; so a few nights out on the town could really help you rack up a good amount of miles for when you want to explore someplace new.
Example: Programs with American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, United Airlines, and US Airways offer members up to 2000 airline miles when they dine at qualifying restaurants and post a review within 30 days.
The holidays have always been known to take a serious toll on our wallets. Think about all of the ‘Frozen’ toys and Apple products you bought for loved ones this season and then think about how much you could save by earning miles instead of paying full price for that next flight.
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Do you know other, creative ways to earn miles with or without flying? Share them with us in the comments section!