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Airline miles (or frequent flyer points or airline rewards) are credits you accumulate that can be used toward future travel. If you travel a lot—or wish you did—then you should earn airlines miles every which way. It’s easy enough to sign up for an individual airline’s loyalty program. And not that much more difficult to become an airline alliance member. Then there are travel credit cards where you earn points based on your spending. Once you’ve got those things figured out, it’s time to level up! Here are some creative ways you can earn airline miles to use for your next timeshare week or dream vacation.
Many airlines have dining programs that allow you to earn airline miles when you eat out at participating bars and restaurant. With rewards of up to five miles per dollar spent, you could eat your way to Cancun. Skymiles Dining with Delta or MileagePlus Dining with United are two examples. Look for the dining program for the airline you fly the most.
Go further and pay for meals out with credit cards that offer additional miles for restaurant purchases. For example, Chase Sapphire Plus offers double points for restaurant purchases.
You have to do it anyway, so why not earn points, too? If you have a travel credit card, you can optimize its value by using it to pay your regular bills. Think about all the bills you can pay by card. Then set them up to automatically debit from your travel credit card. We also suggest setting up payments from your bank account to the card to keep your credit usage low and your credit score in tip-top shape.
Some utility programs allow you to earn miles and other benefits directly, but these typically have a lot of fine print. Low introductory rates and high rewards lure you in. And you will see rewards. However, over time, like timeshare maintenance fees, you’ll see increases that may outweigh the benefits you receive. We say “buyer beware” on those.
One of the great things about airline miles is that the best way to earn them is through traveling. So, dust off your shoes and head out for an adventure. Since some travel earns more points than others, it makes sense to check around for the most rewarding trips. Plus miles from travel typically have the fewest limitations and the most generous expiration dates.
All the points in the world won’t help you if you don’t keep track of them. Frequent travelers typically use a variety of programs. This is great but they can get lost in the shuffle. And many points have expiration dates. If you forget about them, they are gone forever.
So, make sure to monitor where you’re storing points and how much you have. You could make your own spreadsheet if you’re into that sort of thing. Or you could save time and use available online tools to help you. Award Wallet helps users track their points for all the programs in one spot. They’ll even send you notifications when points and rewards are expiring. Keep those points working for you!
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