Believe it or not, it is pretty simple to earn frequent flyer points without flying. I love optimizing point earning potential and I am revisiting this topic.
NOTE: clicking on images will not lead to offers or any website.
Earn Frequent Flyer Points Without Flying
1. Earn Points When Shopping Online
Many airlines have online shopping malls from which you can earn frequent flyer points without flying. Prices are the same as buying directly from merchants, so you might as well earn bonus frequent flyer points for buying clothes, household items, and more. Here are links to shopping portals for major US airlines: American, Delta, Southwest, and United. In order to keep frequent flyer accounts active, I have made purchases as small as 99 cents.
2. Earn FF Points For Restaurant Dining
Earn frequent flyer points when eating at restaurants. Simply register a credit card one time and frequent flyer points are automatically earned after paying the bill at participating restaurants. Register each credit card you have but each card can only be registered in one dining program.
3. Receive Points for Retail Shopping
Use your point earning credit card for any and all everyday purchases. Some cards offer bonus points, like double points at gas stations and grocery stores or 5x points for office supply store purchases.
4. Credit Card Sign Up Bonus for Points
This is probably the most lucrative category. Signing up for a new credit card might come with a 50,000 point bonus; some offer even more points! After qualifying for and receiving such a new card, make sure you meet the minimum spending threshold in the specified time—for instance, $3,000 in 6 months. Oh, and always, ALWAYS, pay your entire balance every billing cycle. When you hear about people earning one million points without flying, this is how they do it. They sign up for dozens (yes, dozens) of new credit cards each year.
5. Purchase Miles and Earn Points
Buying points are handy for reaching certain award levels. If interested in this method, pay attention to bonus offers. American Airlines recently offered up to 50% bonus points. Buy 70,000 miles for $2,065 and receive 35,000 bonus miles; at just under 2 cents per mile, this is a great deal if redeeming for an award valued higher (see my post, Determining the Value of Travel Points). Some airlines occasionally offer 100% matching bonus points. You can also give or receive miles; again look for matching or bonus promotions for best value.
6. Earn Points Through Surveys
You can earn points (small amounts) for taking online surveys.
7. Manufactured Spending
I have recently started using a credit card to pay my mortgage even though my lender does not accept credit cards. I can do this through my Target Prepaid Card and the associated American Express Serve bank account. An upcoming post will describe this process.
8. Receive Points for Hotel Stays
Perhaps, like me, you enjoy road trips. Hilton is famous for offering Double Dip opportunities. Stay at a Hilton property—including Hampton, Embassy Suites, or any other Hilton family brand—and earn hotel points AND airline points. Another option is to earn hotel points (from stays and/or with hotel brand credit card) and transfer points to your preferred airline program.
These are fairly consistent recurring methods of earning frequent flyer points without flying. One occasional, perhaps even one time, method is to update your frequent flyer account information. In your account profile, checking a box to receive email notifications of fare sales or go paperless with your statements may trigger bonus points.
These methods are also valuable if you want to keep accounts active.
How do you earn frequent flyer points without flying?