Despite the fact there are literally thousands of credit cards out there available for us to sign up for (just ask this guy), our credit scores can only handle a certain number of hard credit inquiries (that result from applying for credit cards) at a time. Personally, I always keep 91 days between credit card sign-ups in order to allow my credit score to rebound before my next set of credit card applications, so I need some other earning methods in order to maximize my points and miles. Though credit card sign-ups and spending are by far the number one way to earn, there are other means by which you can amass large quantities of points and miles! I will post on some of these topics in more detail in the coming weeks, but for now here are my Top 8 Favorite Non Credit Card Point Earning Strategies to earn my way to free flights/hotel stays:
- Shopping Portals – Do you shop online? If so, then with one easy additional step you can earn valuable points and miles on each dollar you spend, sometimes at 10 to 20 times your actual spend (this is in addition to the points you get for the normal spending)! Just go through a specific airline or hotel shopping portal, click the site where you want to shop and then shop and buy like normal! (Check out some portals here, here, and here)
- Dining Rewards Programs – Earn rewards for eating! Sign up for airline and hotel dining programs and earn points for every dollar you spend! Not only are you rewarded for each dollar spent, but the Dining Programs all offer sign-up bonuses (anywhere from 1,000 – 3,000 points/miles), which may not sound like much, but can be that extra little boost that you need to book an award redemption. Check out here for a list of participating airlines and hotels.
- Checking Account Bonuses – There are banks out there that will offer you points and miles just for opening an account at their bank! Citi, for example, frequently offers promotions to new checking account applicants where you can earn up to 50,000 Citi ThankYou Points or American Airline miles! All those miles and not a single hard inquiry on your credit!
- Referral Bonuses – The credit card companies want to have a presence in each and every wallet and are willing to offer you 5,000 points/miles (sometimes more) for referring a friend or family member to a credit card that you currently have! Ok so this one may be cheating a bit as it does not meet the “Non Credit Card” classification, but I have included it because it is a great way to get extra bonus points/miles for having your friends and family sign up for credit cards through referral links that you may have! Chase Bank has a great referral program – check it out here!
- Hotel Stays (hotel booking websites like Rocket Miles and Points Hound) – In cases where your hotel choices are restricted (say for a wedding or other event) and you stay at a hotel not included in the big chains (Hyatt, SPG, Hilton, Marriott, IHG, etc.), then you can still make those stays count by booking through sites like com or pointshound.com! These sites may not always offer the best price (though they may!) but they will compensate you with anywhere from 1,000 – 10,000 points/miles for each completed stay!
- Flowers – Sending flowers to a friend or loved one? Airline and hotels constantly run promotions (like Southwest here) through sites like 1-800Flowers.com where you can receive points or miles with each flower purchase! These range from 1,000-2,500 points/miles depending on the promotion, but are a great way to give your mileage accounts and extra boost!
- Attending Sporting Events – Personally, I never know which site to go to in order to find the best seats/cheapest prices for tickets to sporting events and concerts, but always make sure to check out sites like scorebig.com – who will award you with miles/points for your purchase, with the best seats awarding the most number of miles! With the fees that some other sites charge, this site has often been the cheapest option for me, and I have earned an extra 5,000 miles in the process!
- Subscribing to Magazines/Wall Street Journal – I am a proud subscriber to the Wall Street Journal, yet I rarely ever read the articles! Nothing against WSJ, but who really has the time/attention span to read that thing every day? I recently subscribed to the WSJ under a promotion where I received 1,100 miles by paying $1 for WSJ for the first month. I cancelled as soon as the next month came up, but not before 1,100 miles posted to my account! Again, this may seem like small potatoes when compared to the larger credit card bonuses, but every point counts in the points and miles game!
Credit card sign-up bonuses are the fastest and most effective way to earn your way to free travel, but you should limit frequent sign ups limited to avoid harm to your credit score. There are many other earning methods that you can employ to maximize your points and miles – I have just provided you with my favorite 8 but there are many more! If you have any questions or comments or would like to advice on how to build these methods into your overall earning strategy then leave a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.