Guest post by Clint Johnston of TripHackr.
Earning miles in the air is simple. Board the plane and earn one mile for every mile flown. Although elite frequent flyers may earn a bonus on miles flown, it is still not as lucrative as earning miles on the ground.
Flying is a slow and expensive way to earn enough miles for a free flight.
The fastest way to earn miles is on the ground and this is exactly what travel hackers do every year to travel for free. Travel hacking is the art of accumulating as many miles as you can to redeem for free travel. This includes flights and hotel rooms around the world. Here are some of the best ways to jumpstart your travel hacking.
1. Sign Up Bonuses
Apply for a co-branded airline credit card. A good travel credit card comes with a huge sign up bonus. This is a great way to start your path to a free flight. Sign up bonuses will earn you at least 30,000 miles and many cards offer more than that.
In addition to an airline card, sign up for a points card, and double up. These credit cards will offer you more flexibility and the points can be redeemed on multiple airlines. You can earn multiple points per dollar on some purchases as well. Always use your credit cards on everyday expenses and pay off your balance. Never spend just to earn miles.
2. Shop Through Online Portals
Every major airline has a shopping portal that leads to online retailers you are likely shopping at anyway. All you need to do is start your shopping at the portal and you will be redirected to the actual retail site. There is nothing you need to do but login with your frequent flyer info before you shop.
The miles will appear in your account a few weeks after the purchase. This is great way to earn miles on anything you purchase online all year round.
3. Earn Miles Sleeping at Hotels
Hotel loyalty programs are nice and there are some great credit cards that will earn you a few free nights when you sign up. However, if you would prefer to earn thousands of miles every night you sleep at a hotel, try Rocketmiles. Booking your hotel through Rocketmiles will earn you thousands of miles from almost a dozen airlines. Hotel bookings can quickly add up to free flights.
4. Earn Miles Eating and Drinking
Besides simply using your travel credit cards to earn miles on every purchase, you can also earn miles from airline dining programs. Each major airline has a dining program where you can earn multiple miles for each dollar spent. You can register a credit card or debit card once you sign up and find participating restaurants in your neighborhood. They often come with a small sign up bonus and while the payout isn’t great you should never let an opportunity to earn a mile go to waste.
5. Promotions and Newsletters
Staying informed is another great way to find out how to earn more miles. Sign up for newsletters from the top airlines and find out when these deals are available.
One of my favorite examples is signing up for a new Netflix account that netted me a few thousand miles. Other examples include shopping portal bonuses that have been as high as 35 miles per dollar or even car rentals. You never know when a new promotion is going to appear so sign up for newsletters and stay informed.
Become a Travel Hacking Master
These are a few easy ways to get started travel hacking and earning miles all year long but it doesn’t have to stop there. There are ways to earn hundreds of thousands of miles every year that can be redeemed for free flights. In fact, I just wrote a new book all about travel hacking. If you want to master the art of travel hacking be sure to check it out.
About the Author: Clint Johnston has traveled to over 50 countries and won’t stop until he sees them all. He shares what he has learned on his travel site, TripHackr.com. He is an award-winning amateur photographer and enjoys capturing people in their everyday lives. He believes traveling is not about collecting stamps in his passport, but it is about meeting people and engaging in new cultures around the world. He can’t get enough of street food, overland border crossings, and finding the best way to travel on a budget. He never leaves home without a laptop, a DSLR, and the latest travel gadget. Follow him on Twitter @TripHackr.
Photo: ilya (Flickr)