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Are you looking for ways to earn airline miles outside of flying or making credit card purchases? Perhaps you’re a frequent flyer or someone who is new to points and miles. The good news is there are several ways to earn airline miles while maximizing your daily habits.
Ways to Earn Airline Miles
Probably the most popular way to earn airline miles is through travel credit cards. There are personal co-brand credit cards (like the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card). Or, you can find business cards, like the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®, one of the best Citi business credit cards.
However, there are several ways to earn airline miles aside from credit cards. While you should still focus on earning credit card signup bonuses first as they require less effort, these creative approaches are worth considering.
Open a Bank Account
A unique way to earn airline miles is by opening a bank account. A few banks will give you airline mile rewards instead of cash rewards.
If your airline doesn’t offer banking rewards, you can also earn miles by getting a loan. The next time you need to buy a home, refinance a student loan, or get a personal loan, see if your airline has a lender partnership. Alaska Airlines, for example, gives you up to 50,000 MileagePlan miles when you refinance student loans or get a personal loan from SoFi.
One of your best options is with American Airlines and a Bask Bank savings account. Instead of earning interest, you earn 1 AAdvantage mile per $1 spent. As most bank savings accounts have almost-zero interest rates, airline miles can be more valuable.
You can also earn bonus AAdvantage miles when you make a minimum qualifying deposit in the first 90 days. For example, maintaining a minimum $1,000 balance for 30 days within 60 days of account opening.
By opening a Bank of Hawaii checking account, you can earn Hawaiian Airlines miles with the Bankoh Hawaiian Airlines Visa Debit Card.
You earn 1 mile for every $2 in qualified purchases. You can earn up to 1,000 miles each month. Paying your taxes with your debit card is one way to earn miles if you need to pay in this year. Using a debit card instead of a credit card also means you pay lower processing fees.
Learn more: Best Checking Account Bonuses
Most frequent flyer programs have a dining rewards program. You will see the same participating restaurants in each airline club as Rewards Network operates the platform.
What is different is how many miles you might earn. Most airlines award between 2 and 5 miles per $1 spent. You will need to activate the offer and pay with your linked credit or debit card. Some offers may require you to briefly review your dining experience.
These dining clubs are an easy way to double-dip and earn credit card points as well. Many travel credit cards earn at bonus points on dining purchases. The Chase Sapphire Reserve earn 3 miles per $1 at restaurants that you can transfer to an airline partner at a 1:1 ratio.
Learn more: Best Credit Cards for Dining and Restaurants
Buy Flowers and Wine for Your Date
Most airlines partner with Vinesse Wines and different flower delivery companies like Teleflora and FTD. Whether it’s a special occassion or date night, you can make the night special and earn airline miles in the process.
In regards to Vinesse Wines, you can earn up to 5,000 miles when you join depending on the airline. After that, you earn bonus miles for each wine shipment you receive.
Most airlines give you bonus airline miles when you buy live entertainment tickets. Airlines partner with different ticket platforms. It’s possible you can earn bonus miles by attending sporting events, concerts, and live theater.
Here are some of the current airline partnerships:
- American Airlines: Earn at least 3 miles per $1 at Vivid Seats
- Delta Airlines: Earn 1 mile per $1 at Ticketmaster
- United Airlines: Earn at least 100 miles per Broadway ticket with Audience Rewards
Select travel credit cards also earn bonus points on entertainment purchases. The Citi Premier Credit Card earns 2x ThankYou points on entertainment and restaurants.
Another card to consider is the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card. Through May 2020, you get 8% back on Vivid Seats purchases. You also earn 4% back on all entertainment and dining purchases. Although the Savor Card earns cash rewards, you at least earn airline miles when you book your tickets through the loyalty program.
Rent a Car
Rental cars can be another convenient way to earn airline miles. It’s also possible that you can earn rental car rewards on the same reservation. You will need to book the rental car through the airline website to get frequent flyer miles on your rental.
The easiest way to see the participating car rental partners is within your frequent flyer account. It’s possible to earn at least 500 miles per day with some of the largest rentals.
Here are a few partnerships to consider to earn at least :
As a heads up, check to see if there’s a fee to earn airline miles. Yes, it’s not uncommon for rental car agencies to collect a surcharge on the airline miles you earn.
Paying with the right credit card means you might earn bonus points as this is a “travel purchase.”
Learn more: Best Credit Cards for Rental Car Insurance
Take Online Surveys
If you like sharing your opinion and filling bubble, you can answer online surveys for miles.
Some frequent flyer programs partner with a survey company. You can enroll directly from your frequent flyer dashboard and earn an extra bonus on your first survey. Most likely these surveys will cover a variety of lifestyle topics that don’t necessarily deal with award flights.
Here are a few airlines currently offer survey rewards:
- American Airlines: Earn 250 bonus AAdvantage miles
- Southwest Airlines: Earn 500 bonus Rapid Rewards with your first survey
- Spirit Airlines: Earn 400 bonus miles on your first survey
Another option is using a get-paid-to site like Swagbucks. It’s free to join and you earn points with surveys, online shopping, and watching short videos. Swagbucks’ airline partners include American, Delta, and Southwest.
Most surveys take 20 minutes or less but earn relatively few points. But, it’s a quick way to monetize your time instead of watching Netflix or mindlessly scrolling your social media feeds.
If Swagbucks doesn’t have your preferred airline, you can also try e-Rewards. You might also be able to earn bonus points with local shopping offers and participating in focus groups.
There are plenty of exciting ways to earn airline miles from your large and small daily purchases. It’s possible to earn bonus credit card points to maximize these special airline partnerships.
How can I earn free airline miles?
Each frequent flyer program gives you multiple ways to earn free airline miles. You might focus on these possibilities first:
- Use a travel credit card with no annual fee (see our picks of the best no annual fee travel credit cards)
- Take online surveys
- Switch home energy providers
- Open a qualifying bank savings account
Other ways to earn miles on your daily spending include using the airline’s online shopping portal. Booking hotels and rental cars through the airline’s travel partners is another option. Plus, some airlines offer bonus miles when you enroll in services such as dog walking, wine clubs, dining clubs, and identity theft protection.
For the miles to remain “free,” avoid manufactured spending. In other words, don’t spend extra because you can earn more miles. But if you’re going to be spending the money anyhow, seeing if your airline has a special offer lets you earn credit card points and airline miles.
How do you earn air miles?
There are several ways to earn air miles. One way is by buying plane tickets and flying the route.
But there are other ways to earn miles when you’re not flying:
- Make purchases with a travel rewards credit card
- Rent cars or book hotel rooms with an airline travel partner
- Dine at restaurant partners
- Shop online using the airline shopping portal
- Apply for a loan from an airline banking partner
- Answer online services
Each airline may partner with other retail and lifestyle partners. You can earn bonus miles using their services.
Is it worth buying airline miles?
If you need airline miles fast, you may consider buying them directly from the airline. This can be a convenient option when you’re days away from booking an award ticket.
However, the redemption value for each mile needs to be more than the purchase price. For example, United charges $35 per 1,000 miles you buy. To “break-even,” each mile you redeem must be worth at least 3.5 cents each. This is possible when you fly in business class or first class, but it’s hard to find a main cabin award seat where your points are worth this much.
If the airline puts mile purchases on sale, buying miles can be more attractive.
Instead, you should focus on earning miles from credit card purchases and supporting airline retail partners (when possible) for your non-travel purchases. Since you are making the purchase whether or not you earn airline miles, this can be a good way to avoid overspending.
- Chase Ultimate Rewards for Tock Reservations
- Best Miles Credit Cards
- Best Credit Cards for International Travel
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.