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May 18, 2016

23 Ways to Earn Airline Miles Without Flying

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You don't have to fly to earn tons of airline miles. Read this article to learn how to rack up the miles fast.

Joining a frequent flyer program is a great way to rack up miles you can use towards free flights. But there's more ways to earn miles than just being a "frequent flyer".

In fact, it's possible to max out your airline miles without ever leaving the ground, all while doing the normal everyday things you do... well, every day. Yes, just by going about your normal life, you can earn enough points for a free flight.

Intrigued? Ready to get started earning points? If you don't already belong to any, you would need to sign up for a frequent flyer account with the airline of your choosing (don't worry, you don't need to fly to sign up for an account). Getting a free flight takes planning. Luckily, we've done the work for you by gathering up 23 ways you can earn airline miles without ever leaving the ground.

Note: Information based on May 2016 promotions. Promotions, deals and offers can change at any time.

1. Cash in on a new account bonus from a credit card

Adding a new travel rewards card to your wallet can help you pile on the miles in no time. Some reward cards give generous sign-up bonus points, where you can then transfer them to airline partners. Just make sure you can meet the minimum spending requirements in order to pocket the points.

Chase Sapphire Preferred lets you earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. You can earn 5,000 bonus points if you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within the first three months from account opening. This card lets you earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. The points can be transferred 1:1 to leading frequent travel programs including airline transfer partners. The card has a $0 foreign transaction fee. The card also comes with premium travel and purchase protection benefits (including trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance and auto rental collision damage waiver). There is an Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95.

Check out our travel rewards card recommendations right here.

2. Sign up for frequent flyer dining rewards

Everyone eats right? Whether you enjoy a weekly meal out or save dining out for more special occasions, why not earn some air mile points at the same time? Many airlines partner with restaurants to earn you points every time you dine with one in their network. Just sign up for the airline's dining rewards program with your frequent flyer number.

3. Shop online

Most people shop online these days and you're missing out on a lot of mileage points. Every time you want to shop online, first check your loyalty programs' online portals before you make your purchase. Airlines work with a lot of major retailers, and chances are, you're already shopping with them.

Tip: When you find yourself wanting to place an online order, type in the store in Evreward and it'll pull up all the loyalty reward programs it works with. (For example, you can earn miles for shopping at Forever 21 with American, Hawaiian, or United Airlines.)

4. Set up a new bank account

There are some purchases that you may be more comfortable using a debit card for, but you can still earn miles that way. Delta, for instance, partners with SunTrust to offer the Delta SkyMiles World Debit Card, which comes with a 5,000-mile bonus offer and pays miles on every purchase. Here are a few other bank account promotions that can land you some serious miles:

5. Buy or sell a home

Buying a home or selling one can be a hassle, so why not get some miles thrown your way to relieve some of the stress? If you sign up to use the services of real estate agents from American HomeMiles, you will earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles when you buy or a sell home valued at $250,000 or more or complete a state-to-state move using Allied or North American Van Lines.

6. Take a survey

Offering your opinions online is another easy way to watch your miles pile up. OpinionMilesClub offers a shot at earning United MileagePlus miles while e-Miles lets you earn miles that can be used towards flights aboard American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Alaska Airlines - all for spending a few minutes of your time taking surveys.

7. Become a RewardsNetwork member

RewardsNetwork is an online portal you can use to earn miles, points, or cash back when you dine out. You link your credit or debit card to the program, and when you eat at a partner restaurant, you can earn miles with a number of frequent flyer programs, including Delta SkyMiles, United MileagePlus, and FreeSpirit.

8. Start a website

If you've been thinking of starting your own blog or website, Network Solutions will dole out the miles if you use their services to register a domain or set up an online store. The company partners with the following frequent flyer programs:

  • Delta SkyMiles
  • American Airlines AAdvantage
  • United MileagePlus

9. Enjoy a day at the spa

Earning airline miles while you unwind at the spa seems too good to be true, but it can be a reality when you purchase gift cards through gifting company SpaFinder. Here's a rundown of the deals currently available for SpaFinder purchases:

10. Turn a hotel stay into a free flight

Hotel loyalty programs are similar to frequent flyer programs - you get rewarded with points when you stay at a particular hotel. The following hotel travel programs will give you miles or let you convert hotel points into miles with selected airline partners:

  • Choice Privileges - Participating airlines include Southwest, United, and American
  • Hilton HHonors - Partners include Virgin Atlantic, Hawaiian Airlines, and IcelandAir
  • Hyatt Gold Passport - Earn miles that you can redeem aboard partner airlines, such as United, British Airways, and Korean Air
  • IHG Rewards Club - Redeem points for miles with participating airlines
  • Marriott Rewards - Earn miles with more than 40 partner airlines

11. Open a brokerage account with Fidelity

Frequent travelers who are into playing the market can earn miles when they open a non-retirement brokerage account through Fidelity. The more cash you deposit, the more miles you can earn. Here's what some of the top airlines currently offer:

12. Protect your credit

Protect yourself against identity theft or your credit can take a hit. LifeLock helps you do that while also adding to your miles coffers. American Airlines AAdvantage members can get up to 7,000 bonus miles when they sign up for a LifeLock account, not to mention a 10% discount off the membership price. The bonus increases to 10,000 miles for MileagePlus members, along with the 10% discount on service.

13. Drive someone to the airport

Giving someone a lift to the airport can help you get a jump on the number of miles you're earning. PreFlight Airport Parking pays you one mile for every $1 you spend on parking, regardless of whether you're actually catching a flight. Those miles can be redeemed for your next trip aboard American or United Airlines.

14. Order flowers

If you like fresh flowers or you enjoy sharing them with someone else, American Airlines has three ways for you to earn miles towards free flights. Purchase flowers through Teleflora, FTD or 1-800-Flowers.com, and you'll get AAdvantage miles on every order.

15. Switch from cable to satellite TV

DirecTV has two bonus mile offers for fans of American and United Airlines. When you set up new DirecTV service with a 24-month commitment, you can get 25,000 miles. You'll just need to provide your frequent flyer program account number when you sign up.

If you prefer Dish Network instead, Southwest offers 12,500 Rapid Rewards points when you sign up for new service.

16. Subscribe to your favorite magazines

Frequent readers can satisfy their need for news and earn miles at the same time. American Airlines is just one airline that pays miles to members who purchase magazine or newspaper subscriptions online.

17. Give back to charity

Donating money to a deserving non-profit is a great way to do something good - and you'll also get something back. The Susan G. Komen organization partners with American Airlines to let AAdvantage members earn miles on cash donations of $25 or more.

18. Do your taxes

Nobody likes tax season, but earning rewards towards free airfare is a good motivator to get your return in early. TurboTax offers 1,000 points that can be used for flights on Southwest Airlines when you file your return through its Rapid Rewards shopping portal.

19. Buy your way to more miles

Some airlines will reward you with extra miles when you purchase miles through their frequent flyer program. American Airlines, Delta, and United routinely run promotions to encourage frequent flyer program members to stock up on miles.

20. Book a rental car

American Airlines offers bonus AAdvantage miles to members who book a car rental through Avis or Budget. To make the deal even sweeter, you can also get a discount on your rental car reservation.

  • Earn miles through Delta partners, including Hertz, Alamo, and National Car Rental
  • Earn MileagePlus miles when you book a rental car through Delta with Hertz, Thrifty, or Dollar Rent A Car
  • Get Rapids Rewards points when you reserve a car with one of eight partners, including Avis, National, and Budget

21. Catch a ride with Zipcar

Zipcar is a car-sharing service that operates as an alternative to a traditional car rental. Zipcar covers your gas and insurance in exchange for a membership fee. If you belong to the United MileagePlus program, you can earn 1,500 bonus miles when you sign up and take your first ride. Zipcar also partners with JetBlue, and you can get 500 TrueBlue points when you join.

22. Pay your electric bills

Earn airline mile points doing the everyday mundane things like paying electric bills. This is only for residents of certain states, but many airlines are partnered with electric companies to award you points for switching over to a new electric supplier and paying the bills.

Be sure to check if your state is included in these offers.

23. Check out an event

To finish up, we've got one last option for earning miles if you belong to the United MileagePlus program. Members who purchase theater, concert, or sporting event tickets through ScoreBig can earn up to 10,000 miles when they buy two or more tickets, plus an additional 1,000 bonus miles on their first purchase.

Conclusion

As you can see, earning airline miles without actually flying isn't as hard as you might think. Just be sure that if you're making a purchase to earn miles using any of the methods we've outlined here, the amount of rewards you're getting in return justifies the cost. In other words, don't buy things if the sole reason you're doing so is to earn miles.

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped travelers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

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