1. Starting Notes
2. Points Vs. Miles (And Their Value)
3. Envisioning a Goal
4. Checking Your Credit
5. Choosing an Airline
6. How to Pick a Card (Or Two)
7. Real Life Examples
9. How to Keep It Going
10. Keeping Track of It All
11. Wonderful Side Effects
12. Final Words
Now that you’ve reaped the rewards of signup bonuses, the quickest way to get miles, how can you keep it going?
Sign up for the following right away:
Dining rewards. So easy and so potentially lucrative. Go to Google and search “[Your airline] rewards network dining.” It’ll be the first or second thing that comes up. I also put links in the Resources section at the end of this guide. Rewards Network has a great app called “Rewards Network Dining” for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry. I use it all the time to search for new places to dine, as it offers between 3 and 5 miles per dollar spent. This one’s especially great if you live in a big city. The restaurants are everywhere. The best thing is when I go out and, a few days later, see that I’ve accidentally earned bonus miles. And if you dine out with a group, ask if you can put it all on your card and have them give you cash. Easy, easy way to earn miles.
Shopping portals. Go to Google and search “[Your airline] shopping portal.” Never heard of a shopping portal? They’re great! Some people also call it an online shopping mall. It’s a huge collection of sites – many of which you may already use – that will give you miles just for clicking a link before you shop. It’s so easy. All the airlines have them. You can earn 2 to 10 points a dollar on average, and sometimes more.
If you spend $500 a month online shopping and get an average of 4 miles a dollar back, that’s 2,000 miles earned just by clicking a few links. After a year… well, that would add up! Most of the shopping portals offer a search toolbar to make it even easier. Set it up in five minutes and use it when you shop online. Extremely easy way to earn several thousands of points a year. I earn a free flight every six months exclusively from shopping online. Evreward.com does a great job of organizing information about the various portals. I order everyday essentials for Drugstore.com since it’s so easy to browse and has free shipping on orders over $25. I also order clothes and shoes online. If I don’t know my correct size, I’ll go try it on and a brick-and-mortar store beforehand. Then, I’ll go online to order it through a shopping portal and watch the miles roll in.
Promotional emails. You’ll see links in the shopping portals to sign up for promotional offers. Sometimes these can be easy, useful, and even completely free. By adding your frequent flyer number to car rentals and hotel stays, you can earn even more miles. You can earn by linking your Facebook, booking flights through the airline’s app, or signing up for a new service. For example, I got 10,000 Delta SkyMiles by switching my electricity provider. The rates were better and I get miles automatically put in my account each month when I pay my bill. I also got 5,000 miles for joining a wine club. I put the spend on my American Express Gold Delta Skymiles card and get an extra 5 points a dollar for buying wine. Very easy and I enjoy it immensely. Only sign up for the offers you truly want, though. Remember there are always more. It’s amazing how many miles you can rack up by paying attention to promotional emails. I’d say I earn about 20,000 extra miles a year this way – that’s almost enough for a round-trip domestic flight.
Transfer bonuses. If you’ve chosen a card that gives you access to American Express Membership Rewards, try to keep your points until a transfer bonus is offered. It’s worth it to sign up for their promotional emails as well. The bonus is usually an extra 30-50% on all the miles you transfer, which can net you thousands of free miles every quarter.
Using these techniques, you can easily get a free international trip or two, or several domestic flights absolutely free every year for doing things you planned on doing anyway. Amazing.