How to Earn Travel Miles Without Traveling?

There are multiple ways to earn airline miles without flying anywhere. Using credit cards, participating in dining programs, and taking online surveys are just a few ways to increase your mileage earnings without having to travel. Over time, you can earn enough miles to treat yourself to your dream vacation.

The secret to being well-traveled on a small budget? Travel miles. Many people make an effort to earn as many travel miles as they can so that they can reduce the cost of future travel and enjoy various perks that come with having lots of travel miles, such as flight and accommodation upgrades, access to VIP lounges at airports, and priority boarding status.

However, there are those who don't travel often, but who may dream of a lavish "dream trip" that would normally be out of reach financially, or who may simply want to be able to visit friends and family on occasion at a reduced cost. If you fall into this category, here's some good news: it is still possible to earn travel miles without traveling. There are many programs available that allow you to earn mileage without ever leaving home.

Join an Airline Mileage Club

While this isn't an absolute requirement, you'll maximize your mileage earning potential if you join an airline's mileage club. Don't worry, you don't actually have to buy a ticket to join the club: Just sign up from the airline's website.

Which airline's mileage club should you join? Here are some things to consider:

Airline destinations: Does the airline fly to places that you want to visit?

Airline terminal locations: Does the airline fly in and out of an airport that is convenient to you?

Ease of earning miles: Some programs make it easier than others to earn miles. For example, you might want to look for a mileage program that allows you to earn miles by shopping at your favorite online or offline retailers.

Credit & Debit Card Usage

Possibly the best way to earn mileage without actually traveling is through a credit card rewards program: As you use your card for purchases and to pay bills, you'll earn travel miles.

There are two types of credit card mileage programs that you should be aware of. The first is a co-branded card. This is a credit card that is branded with the airline that you wish to earn mileage with. The second type of card is a standard credit card that does not restrict you to earning mileage with only one airline, though you might not get some of the airline-specific perks that come with earning miles with an airline-branded card. It's up to you to decide which card benefits you the most

When choosing a credit card for earning mileage, consider the following:

Introductory offer: Many mileage-earning Credit cards offer a special introductory bonus. This is typically a significant number of miles rewarded to you if you spend a certain amount of money within your first few months of having the card. In some cases, the number of miles that you can earn from this bonus could equal that of a domestic airfare ticket or a significant upgrade to business or first class. If your credit card offers a 0% APR introductory rate, and the ability to transfer balances from other cards, check to see if a balance transfer will qualify you for the mileage bonus. If it does, this could be a very easy way to reduce the interest you are paying on other credit cards while also adding a lot of miles to your account.

Miles per dollar spent: Check to see how many miles you can earn when using your card. Some credit card companies offer loyalty bonus offers as well. For example, you might normally earn 2 miles per dollar spent with your card, but your bank may offer you additional miles when you spend in certain categories, such as at pharmacies or for rideshare trips.

Card Terms: Earning mileage is great, but not if the value of free airline travel is compromised by high introductory fees, interest rates or other charges for using the card. Crunch some numbers once you understand the terms of the card being offered to you. Compare these terms to other cards and make your decision based on what will save you the most money.

Other travel perks: Cards that offer mileage bonuses often provide other travel perks. These vary between cards but may include travel insurance, lost baggage protection, passes to airport lounges, 24/7 traveler assistance hotlines or reimbursement for the cost of frequent traveler identity programs such as TSA Pre-Check or clear.

Accelerate your credit card earnings: One way to accelerate your credit card mileage earnings is to open a joint account with a spouse, or to sign up your spouse and other trusted Family members as authorized users of your credit card account. Their spending can earn you miles.

A word about debit cards: Some debit cards also offer travel mileage as a loyalty park. The number of miles that you can earn with a debit card is not nearly as high as the earning potential with credit cards, but these cards do exist. You may, however, have to shop around to find a bank that operates a debit card loyalty program.

Dining Rewards Programs

Dining rewards programs have been around for a long time. You register your debit and credit cards with the program and you earn mileage when you pay for your meal. This can be a terrific way to earn miles just by going out for dinner.

Online Shopping

Many airline loyalty programs offer the opportunity to earn miles when you shop through a provided link or online portal. These programs are similar to various cashback programs, but instead of earning cashback when you shop through a particular link, you earn miles. One advantage to these online shopping programs is that you can frequently double-dip by using your mileage-earning credit card to pay for the items. You'll receive mileage for shopping through the airline's link, as well as whatever you earn through your credit card program.

Charitable Donations

Check out the airline loyalty program website to find out if the program partners with charities. If you make a donation to a charity through the airline's link, you can receive a mileage bonus.

Survey Sites

You have probably seen online survey sites: You are asked to complete questionnaires about your personal habits or shopping preferences in exchange for some kind of an award, such as a small cash payment, points that can be redeemed for gift cards or airline miles. Again, your best bet is to check the mileage program's website for links to participating survey organizations.

Travel Industry Partners

Some hotels and rental car companies offer you the opportunity to earn airline miles when you reserve a car or book a room. Yes, you are probably traveling if you are doing these things, but not always: If you have to rent a car because yours is in the shop or have to stay at a hotel because your home is under construction, consider booking or reserving through a company that partners with your airline miles provider.

Final Word

Getting the most out of travel loyalty programs is a matter of paying close attention to the opportunities for earning miles. When you join a program, spend some time looking over its promotional materials to learn about all the ways that you can earn miles for travel, even if you yourself are not a frequent traveler.

Why Did GetHuman Write "How to Earn Travel Miles Without Traveling?"?

After thousands of American Express customers came to GetHuman in search of an answer to this problem (and many others), we decided it was time to publish instructions. So we put together How to Earn Travel Miles Without Traveling? to try to help. It takes time to get through these steps according to other users, including time spent working through each step and contacting American Express if necessary. Best of luck and please let us know if you successfully resolve your issue with guidance from this page.

Why does GetHuman Write How-to Guides for American Express Problems?

GetHuman has been working for over 10 years on sourcing information about big organizations like American Express in order to help customers resolve customer service issues faster. We started with contact information and fastest ways to reach a human at big companies. Particularly ones with slow or complicated IVR or phone menu systems. Or companies that have self-serve help forums instead of a customer service department. From there, we realized that consumers still needed more detailed help solving the most common problems, so we expanded to this set of guides, which grows every day. And if you spot any issues with our How to Earn Travel Miles Without Traveling? guide, please let us know by sending us feedback. We want to be as helpful as possible. If you appreciated this guide, please share it with your favorite people. Our free information and tools is powered by you, the customer. The more people that use it, the better it gets.

American Express

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