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There are essentially 4 possible ways to earn points and miles.

  1. From paid flights and hotel stays.
  2. From various shopping portals and other promotions
  3. From your daily spend on a credit card
  4. From the one-time sign up bonus earned when you apply for a new card.

 

Paid Flights and Hotel Stays

The most obvious way to earn points and miles is through paid flights and hotel stays. While this is a great way to earn, it only starts to add up when you travel very frequently. Since the whole point of this blog is to show you how to earn free travel without ever flying this will be our least talked about earning method. That being said, make sure you’ve created a loyalty account with all the major airline and hotel programs because you’ll need them in the future.

 

Shopping Portals, Giveaways, and Other Promotions

Many of the airlines, hotels, and even third party programs have some kind of shopping portal or dining program that can be used to earn extra points. Occasionally you’ll also see easy earned points and giveaways from things like downloading a new app, taking a survey, creating an account on a website, or entering a giveaway. While these are a great way to earn some extra points on the side they are in no way a main source for accruing lots of points.

 

Daily Spend on Credit Cards

Most credit cards that offer a point based rewards system come with various bonus categories for your daily spending. The Citi Premier card for instance offers 3 points per dollar on travel expenses, 2 points per dollar on dining, and 1 point per dollar on all other expenses. You must be cognizant of which card you use for your various daily expenses to ensure you’re maximizing your earnings. But even if you’re maximizing your categories and lets say some how you’re getting 3 points per dollar on every dollar spent, you would need to spend $16,666 to earn 50,000 Points. That’s a lot of spend!

 

Sign-Up Bonuses

This is the most lucrative form of earning points! These are one time bonuses offered to new card members after meeting some type of requirement. For instance, The Chase Sapphire preferred card offers a 50,000 point bonus after your first $3,000 of spend within the first 3 months. Below you will see a chart comparing the spending requirements to earn 50,000 Chase points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Type of Spending Required Spending Earning Points Per Dollar
Non-Bonus Category $50,0000 50,000 1
3X Bonus Category $16,666 50,000 3
Sign-Up Bonus $3,000 53,000 – 59,000* 17.6

19.6

*When you meet the minimum requirement of $3,000 in spend for the sign-up bonus you will also earn the standard 3,000-9,000 points depending on the category of spend on the $3,000.

 

Take Away

There are tons of ways to maximize your earning for points both small and big but the primary focus will be applying for new credit cards to take advantage of those lucrative sign-up bonuses.


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