I don’t know about you, but earning points and miles has become a full-on obsession for me. I’m constantly looking for ways to up my point balance and with a goal of 500,000 miles by July 2013, I’ve got my work cut out for me. Here are eight ways you can earn more miles right now:
1. Toolbars. Download the major airline toolbars:
Perform 300 searches for each toolbar and you’ll earn 400 miles. If you’re feeling ambitious, download the Hawaiian MileFinder and earn 1,000 miles after 3,000 searches each month. You can even log out of the toolbar and log back in as a different household member to rack up even more miles.
2. Insurance Quotes. One of the first things I did as a newbie was obtain insurance quotes in exchange for miles. 21st Century, Farmer’s Insurance, Liberty Mutual, and Sentry offer between 200-2,500 miles/points for requesting insurance quotes every year. If you’re in the market to buy insurance, there are even more miles to be earned. Click here for a comprehensive list of offers.
3. Join a survey site. Audience Rewards, E-miles, e-Rewards, and The White Board offer lots of opportunities to accrue points by answering trivia questions, taking surveys, and signing up for offers. A lot of the surveys disqualify people who work in the PR/Communication sector, so although I’m often disqualified, I do come away with a consolation prize – around $0.25 cents from e-Rewards for less than a minute of work.
Yes, you get bombarded with mail after joining e-miles, but you are also generously rewarded. Just from watching commercials, filling out brief questionnaires, and completing the occasional sign-up offer, I earn 1,000 miles for myself every 1-2 months. I also do this for four other family members, bringing my total to 5,000 miles. Not bad, considering I didn’t spend a dime to earn any of these miles.
4. Give back. E-miles runs some very generous promotions. A while ago, Feeding America offered 2,000 miles through e-miles for committing $25 per month for 6 months. Your donations are tax deductible, you earn miles, and may get some of it back in April.
The points and miles community also has an affinity for Kiva, which is a micro-lending agency with a 98% repayment rate. You make a donation with your mile-earning credit card to a poor farmer in Bangladesh, he makes a nice profit after investing the funds in new farming equipment to grow his crops, and pays you back shortly after. Everybody wins. At least that’s the way it works 98% of the time, which isn’t too shabby.
5. Prepaid Cards. There hasn’t been a shortage of articles on prepaid cards lately, so I will spare you the details. Use a credit card to buy gift cards at the highest point-earning category. Use those gift cards for your every day spending and earn even more miles than your typical 1 mile per $1.
6. Reach out to friends and family. My mom is a master networker and she’s put the word out that anyone making a large purchase (travel or otherwise) should go through me first. Just this past week, I had a request for $5,000 in Lowe’s giftcards from my aunt who moved into a new home. This transaction earned me a cool 25,000 Ultimate Rewards points. A few weeks ago a family friend called and asked me to book her a ticket to Germany. The best she could find was $1,200. Using ITA, I saved her $450 and got myself an easy 1,500 points. Imagine how many miles you’d earn if all of your trustworthy friends and family put their spending on your credit card…
7. Dining Rewards Programs. If you dine out often (or ever), those 2 points per $1 from Chase are nothing compared to the miles you can earn from joining dining rewards programs. That’s not a typo – you can join more than one program, get the bonus, and keep earning up to 8 points per $1 on all future dining. Sign-up bonuses are usually around 1,000, though American Airlines recently had a targeted bonus of 10,000 miles. All you have to do is register your card with a designated program, dine, and earn. Keep in mind that each credit card can only be registered with one program at a time.
8. Checking Account. Every single one of you has a checking account, but are you getting anything out of it? BankDirect and Citi both offer generous sign-up bonuses and additional earning opportunities for opening a checking account. Citi does send out 1099’s at the end of the year, though BankDirect does not. I’ve earned at least 40,000 miles over the past year from my BankDirect checking account. It’s like earning miles in your sleep…
As you can see, there are lots of ways to boost your point balance immediately for next to nothing. You’ve all heard of these methods, but have you sat down and tried to knock them off your list? What are you waiting for? There are points out there to be earned!
You can read more from PointChaser.com on her website.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49