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One way to save money on travel is to use frequent flyer miles to pay for flights. But, let’s face it, that’s easier said than done. It takes a lot of miles to get those free flights. Most of us, including me, don’t fly often enough to even come close to earning them. So, how can you accrue enough miles to make a frequent flyer program worth having? Here’s how to earn airline miles without flying so you can enjoy traveling with your family more often and actually use those miles you earn!
Tip #1: Claim flights on partner airlines.
Sometimes, whether due to price, availability, or scheduling, we all find ourselves flying on an airline other than the one we are earning miles with. Did you know that, in some cases, you can get credit for these flights? If the airline you fly is a partner with the one you earn miles with, then you can claim them. For instance, I am an Advantage member with American Airlines. Because American is partners with Hawaiian Airlines, I earn American miles whenever I fly on Hawaiian. All you have to do to claim these miles is log into your member website after your flight, click on missing miles, and add in your flight information.
Pro Tip: Be sure to keep your boarding pass until you claim these flights because you will need a number off of it to get your miles.
Tip #2: Score miles on hotel stays.
Even when you’re not flying, you can still earn miles by staying in hotels. You can do this in a couple different ways. First, look at the website for your frequent flyer program. You should find a section listing your airline’s hotel partners. By booking your room through your airline rewards program, you can earn miles for each night you stay. You might get lucky and find they are running a special that will let you rack up bonus miles for your trip too.
The second way you can collect miles on hotel stays is by booking your hotel through Pointshound. This is a great way to earn lots of bonus miles! All you have to do is log into Pointshound’s website, pick your rewards program, and book your hotel. After your stay, they will automatically credit your miles to your frequent flyer account. Pointshound lets you accrue bonus points with programs like American, United, Hawaiian, Alaskan Airlines, JetBlue, and others. I have only booked four nights with Pointshound so far and have already earned 5200 miles!
Pro Tip: Booking hotel stays through Pointshound or your frequent flyer program can score you extra miles while also saving you money on your room.
Tip #3: Collect miles by renting cars.
Another easy way to earn airline miles without flying is to collect miles by renting cars. In addition to hotels, airlines also partner with rental car companies to get you deals on rental cars. Always look at your frequent flyer program when renting a car. You can usually find discounted rates while also picking up some airline miles.
Pro Tip: Look for specials offering bonus miles when you book multiple rental cars during a certain window of time. If you are taking a longer trip during this window, rent a separate car for each leg of your trip instead of one car for the entire time to snag these bonus miles.
Tip #4: Get miles for dining out.
If your family is like mine, you eat out at least once a week. This is an easy way to acquire some airline miles for doing something you’re already doing. Many programs allow you to net miles for eating at select dining locations. For instance, with American’s Advantage program, you can register your credit card and automatically get miles when your card is used at one of the participating restaurants.
Pro Tip: Check your frequent flyer program for the restaurants that will snag you the most miles per dollar spent.
Tip #5: Earn miles on retail purchases.
Did you know that you can secure airline miles by making online retail purchases? Look at your program’s website for a listing of retail specials that will reward you with airline miles for everyday purchases you may already be planning on making. You can pull in extra miles for buying everything from flowers to insurance. And it’s as simple as going through your program’s website to make the purchase instead of going directly to the merchant’s website. For example, I recently earned over 1,000 miles when I bought my mom’s Mother’s Day gift.
Pro Tip: Look for specials that will earn you bonus miles and discount prices during holidays and special events.
Tip #6: Rack up extra miles using your credit card.
You can also earn airline miles without flying by using your credit card. If you have a credit card from your favorite airline, you can get even more miles above and beyond what you can score with the above tips. Usually these airline credit cards will give you miles based on each dollar you spend. So, use your card to pay your monthly bills and then pay off the balance each month. This will let you rack up the miles by simply paying bills and buying groceries!
Pro Tip: Use your airline credit card to make some of the above purchases, such as renting cars or eating out, and you can double up on the miles you earn. Talk about a win-win!
You don’t have to fly every other week to get enough miles for free flights. There are many ways to earn airline miles without flying. The above tips are some of the easiest ways to do it. With a little forethought and effort, you can rack up enough miles to fly for free. For more tips on using travel rewards, visit Rewards Roaming. For more ideas on saving money on travel, see my posts on how to save money on rental cars, hotel rooms, and flights. Also read how to take amazing vacations on any budget and how to save for vacations. Happy travels!