Travel rewards and points have been around for a decade but over the last 5 years there has been a explosion of ways that earn travel rewards. Aside from miles and free nights earned through airlines and hotels directly, there are still many different ways you can earn free travel without actually traveling! Lets cover the main ways you can earn free travel by traveling and not traveling.
Earning Rewards through Airlines & Hotels
You are most likely familiar with the concept of earning miles and points from hotels and airlines. Here are the top 5 reward programs by airline and hotels for you to consider next time you consider your next travel destination.
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- Delta SkyMiles
- American Airlines AAdvantage
- Southwest Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Marriott Rewards
- Wyndam Rewards
- World of Hyatt
- Hilton Honors
- IHG Rewards
Maximizing Travel Rewards Without Traveling
You can build a amazing bank of points & miles without traveling! It is possible! Aside from the usual ways of earning travel rewards through the programs listed above, there are many different ways to earn travel rewards on your every day expenses and bills.
Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Reward credit cards are the easiest way to earn travel rewards without changing too much in your life. If you want to travel but don’t have money or you want to travel more and are trying to find ways to accelerate your accumulation of travel points and rewards, get a travel credit card and use it for all of your bills, expenses and pretty much anything you buy, put it on the card!
Here is how it works. Most travel credit cards offer a initial bonus if you apply and get their credit card and spend ($X,XXX) in the first 3-6 number of months. The reward offers range from 25,000 points/miles to as high as 100,000 points/miles. In addition to the initial promotion miles, these cards will give you anywhere from 1 to 5 points/miles per $ you spend.
Let me put this into perspective. Lets say you are single, living by yourself and spending very little every month on items you could potentially shift to a credit card.
|Bills||Month 1||Month 2||Month 3|
|Electricity||$ 100||$ 100||$ 100|
|Cell Phone||$ 80||$ 80||$ 80|
|Cable/Internet||$ 75||$ 75||$ 75|
|Food||$ 500||$ 500||$ 500|
|Gas||$ 150||$ 150||$ 150|
|Total Expenditures||$ 905||$ 905||$ 905|
|Total Points Earned from Paying Bills w/cc||5,430|
|Credit Card Promotional Offer Bonus||50,000|
|Total Points Earned||55,430|
|Value of Points Earned That Can Be Use Towards Travel||$1,053|
For just over $1,000 this opens allot of options for anyone that wants to hit the road.
Reward Apps & Shopping Programs
You have the credit card and have moved all your expenses to the card, is that it? Nope! Now here is where you can really accelerate and multiply your ability to earn points. There are several programs through airlines and hotels that provide more avenues for you to earn points by shopping not just with your new travel credit card but through specific shopping reward programs that allow you to earn rewards on basically everything. Here are a few of these programs just to list a couple:
- Marriott More Shopping Portal
- United Airlines Mileage Plus Shopping
- Hilton Honors Shop To Earn
- United MileagePlus X App – A app that allows you to buy gift cards on the fly and pay for your purchase while earning points.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Dinning – Dine at restaurants and earn points using rapid rewards dinning
The list goes on and on. Further more, there are several service providers that also give you points through promotions like Reliant Energy that has run a program where you earn 500 United MileagePlus Points for every month you pay your Reliant electricity bill. Top that off with using your United Travel Card or American Express Travel card to pay that electricity bill and you are once again multiplying points upon points.
To summarize, if you really want to travel there are thousands of ways you can start earning points so stop debating on how you are going to travel and start planning your next vacation!