Every successful budget traveler knows the importance of frequent flyer miles. If you want to save money on your trips, then doing everything possible to get free plane tickets – or upgrades or even a partial ticket – is going to help you greatly when trying to spend less and still get to where you want to go. Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t visit far off and exotic places. It just means you have to be more creative with your planning and spend a little more time searching for bargains on things you want to see and do. Not quite sure how they work or how you will ever fly enough to earn a reward seat? Then read on!
Sign up for your favorite airlines
You can’t earn miles if you don’t become a mileage member. You can sign up for as many or as few as you want. I suggest signing up for preferred one or two airlines and try to fly exclusively on those. It’s free and easy. You just need to enter your member number when you book a ticket. Don’t forget that you can earn miles between companies that are codeshare partners and book rewards seats as well.
Earn on the ground
It would be a long waiting game to a reward ticket if you could only accrue miles when you flew, unless you fly a lot for business and can use your personal mileage account for those flights. Luckily, you can earn frequent flyer miles for a ton of other things:
- Get a credit card that earns miles – Maybe your debit card already has this feature or it is available as an add-on through your bank. If not, there are a ton of other cards out there to choose from. You might as well earn bonus miles for things you will be buying anyway.
- Rent a car – You can rack up miles by driving! When you fill in your reservation info online, make sure to add your frequent flyer number before you finish booking.
- Stay in a hotel – Just like with a rental car, you can gain miles by sleeping in most chain accommodations.
- Buy stuff online – Buy items from travel merchants through your airline’s retail site to maximize your points. You can also sign up for ThanksAgain.com to bulk up your mileage by eating, parking and shopping at the airport and other off-site merchants.
- Eat out – If you dine out regularly, check out your mileage dining program. Register your preferred credit cards and eat out as usual. You’ll automatically earn points at participating restaurants when you use those cards.
So, as you can see, frequent flyer miles aren’t as mysterious as they sound and they can be super easy to earn quickly if you take advantage of all the ways you can accrue them. Now you just need to pick a destination, pack your bags and start planning!