David Fleming, aka The Miles Guy, knows how to work the system when it comes to frequent flyer miles and credit card points. Miles have allowed him to travel around the globe — to more than 40 countries — practically for free. He runs themilesguy.com, a website for helping people use their points for fantastic flights!
We recently interviewed him and he gave us his five tips for stocking up on valuable points.
5 Tips For Earning Award Points (From A Guy Who Knows):
#1—Organize Your Miles:
This is key because you need to know what you’ve got to work with and what miles may be expiring. (Yes, an estimated 39-billion points expire each year! Breaks my heart.)
I suggest making a list so you know what you’ve got. Write down your frequent flyer account numbers, passwords, how many points you have and when they expire. There are also free websites that make this very easy. I use awardwallet.com. It keeps track of pretty much all my hotel, airline and credit card points so I never lose track.
#2— Credit Card Offers
I come from the school of thought, “If I’m going to spend a dollar, I might as well get a mile too!” And credit cards make earning points very easy, especially with huge sign-up bonuses. (Now, for disclosure purposes I don’t recommend credit cards for everyone. Only people who pay off their cards every month, DO NOT revolve their credit and are good with plastic.) That being said there are some great bonus offers out there. For example, I signed up for an American Airlines branded Master Card in that past that netted me 100,000 points. 100,000 points is enough for a business class ticket to Europe!
#3— Car Rentals and Hotel Stays
Did you know that many car rental companies have partnerships with airlines so you can earn frequent flyer miles when you rent a car? Always ask who they partner with and add your frequent flyer number to the reservation. Also, several of the big hotel chains like Starwood (St. Regis, Westin, Sheraton, Le Meridian, W hotels) and Hilton have loyalty programs where you can earn points. Those points can be used for free hotel stays or transferred to airlines to get you off the ground. You’re literally earning miles while you sleep. Even better, there are websites like pointshound.com and rocketmiles.com where you can earn thousands of miles just by using their websites to book your hotel rooms.
#4 —Dining Rewards
Eat dessert and get miles? Pass the ice cream please! Turns out many of the major airlines are part of what’s called the dining rewards network (rewardsnetwork.com). Restaurants around the country partner up with the network, and when you dine there you earn additional miles. All you have to do is register your credit cards (for free), grab a meal and earn some points.
#5 - Shopping Portals
This is perhaps one of the greatest ways to earn points, and you don’t even need to get on a plane! Think of a shopping portal as an online mall. (example : https://www.aadvantageeshopping.com) You login to the portal to do your shopping. Most of the big name stores are in that “virtual mall,” and so long as you do your online shopping via the portal you will earn extra points.