There are a lot of ways that allow you to earn points & miles aside from traveling. From going to your local restaurants to shopping online, you can build up your travel currency and travel to your dream destinations quicker! Here are the 6 methods I find most useful:
1. Credit Card Sign Ups
To reiterate from the previous page, credit cards that offer great sign up bonuses can bring you to your dream destination quickly. Here are some of the top credit cards currently being offered (and the trips you can potentially receive with those points):
- Chase Sapphire Preferred - 50,000 Chase points (RT to Europe)
- Chase Hyatt - 2 nights at ANY Hyatt Hotels
- Amex SPG - 2 nights at a Category 5 Hotel (e.g. Westin Dawn Beach Resort @ St. Maarten)
- CitiBusiness AAdvantage - 50,000 AA points (RT to Northern South America, such as Peru)
2. Credit Card Multipliers
Besides sign up bonuses, you should also consider the credit card benefits when you apply for a new card. Credit card multiplier is one of those great benefits. It means that instead of getting 1 mile/$ spent, you will be getting 2 to 5 miles/$ spent on certain categories, such as travel, dining, and groceries. That means if a plane ticket requires 12,500 miles, you only need to spend $6,250 USD to receive a free plane ticket, compared to spending $12,500 USD to receive the same value.
Here are some cards that have great multipliers:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred - 2x points for travel and dining
- Amex Gold Rewards - 3x points for travel and 2x points for gas and supermarket
- Citi ThankYou Premier - 3x points for travel and 2x points for dining and entertainment
3. Online Shopping Mileage Portals
If you ever shop online, you should take advantage of the mileage shopping portals. Purchasing your products through any of the mileage portals will give you extra miles in addition to what you would already earn from your credit card spending.
Let's say you want to treat yourself to a massage and found a deal on Groupon. The massage is listed at $55. All you have to do is go through one of the mileage shopping portals (such as AA shopping portal @ 3 miles/$) and purchase the deal as you would normally do. Instead of earning 55 miles from your credit card, you will earn a total of 220 miles (55 miles from credit card + 165 miles from utilizing the portal). You can get to your Hawaii trip a lot quicker now!
A little extra trick is to use CashBackMonitor if you have multiple mileage reward accounts and want to maximize your miles. The website tracks all the mileage portals for each shopping website on one page, so that you don't have to compare each portal one by one. In the above example with Groupon, AA shopping portal offers the biggest earning rate, at 3 miles/$ spent, while Delta Skymiles shopping portal only offers 2 miles/$ spent.
4. Gift Card Purchase
In this strategy, we mainly focus on how to maximize credit card categories. The idea is to shift your spending to a different date so that you can maximize your miles and points.
For example, the Chase Freedom credit card offers 5 points/$ for various categories based on the time of the year, such as grocery stores from April to June and restaurants from July to September. That means in June, if you use this credit card at restaurants, you will only get 1 point/$ spent, whereas you will receive 5 points/$ spent for your avocado purchases at Whole Foods. However, what if you are not a cook-at-home person and like to eat out every day? Does that mean you cannot take advantage of the category bonus from April to June?
The answer is you can! By shifting your spending, you can achieve 5 points/$ from April to June! The solution is you go to a grocery store and purchase Visa gift cards with your Chase Freedom anytime between April and June. Your credit card company will register your purchase in the grocery category, and you will earn 5 points/$ for your "restaurant" spending! (Note that you should purchase a high denomination Visa gift card ($500), since there is a fee associated with each Visa gift card you buy).
5. Mileage Dining Programs
Did you know that you can earn extra miles when you eat out at restaurants? Certain airlines and hotels offer dining reward programs. When you sign up for one of these programs and eat at a participating restaurant, you can earn 3 to 5 miles/$ spent (up to 8 points/$ for hotel programs), in addition to the miles you earn by paying with a credit card. For example, if you spend $100 at a nice dinner, and you pay with a credit card that earns 2 miles/$ spent, you will receive:
700 miles total = 200 miles ($100 x 2 miles/$ for credit card) + 500 miles ($100 x 5 miles/$ for dining program)
That is a pretty good reward in addition to what you would have spent anyway. If you happen to pay dinner for your friends first and make them pay you back later, you can earn an extra few hundred miles each time!
Here are some programs you can sign up for to earn extra miles or points at your next meal:
6. Checking Accounts
Bank Direct is my go to online bank, and it is a great way to earn miles if your credit score is not eligible for the travel credit cards yet (700+). The Internet-only bank offers 100 American Airlines (AA) miles per month for every $1,000 USD that is sitting in the checking account.
Imagine that you have $26,200 in your bank account. By putting it in Bank Direct, you will accrue 2,600 AA miles per month, or 31,200 miles per year. Looking at AA's award chart, you can get a round trip ticket from North America to Mexico, Central America, or Caribbean! I do have to note that Bank Direct does have a $12 monthly fee for using its service, but I think that paying $144 USD for a round trip ticket to any of the regions above will be well worth it.
Like all of these ideas but don't know where to begin? Our services can help you get the points you need for your dream trip! Get a FREE consultation from us today!