Part of an effective miles and points earning strategy is to take advantage of every opportunity to rack up extra miles. Here are some tips for earning miles in places you may not have thought of before.
Our first two tips involve carefully reviewing the emails in your inbox for targeted opportunities that are easy to overlook.
Read Emails from Your Credit Card Issuer
When applying for a new credit card, there’s typically a large signup bonus, and with some issuers like Chase, they offer an extra bonus (usually 5,000 points) if you add an authorized user. That’s a great deal, and there’s no reason not to take advantage of these easy points.
However, if you sign up for a new card, and there’s no extra incentive to add an authorized user, then it may be a good idea to wait. Some issuers like Citi and American Express like to offer bonus points or miles to add an authorized user at a later date. Last year, I applied for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select which offered 50,000 miles as the signup bonus, but nothing extra for adding an authorized user. Six months later, I received an email from Citi offering 5,000 bonus miles if I added an additional cardholder to my account.
Earlier this month, I found a similar offer with my Amex Platinum Delta SkyMiles card. This offer was particularly surprising considering I’ve had this card for over 10 years and have never seen a bonus opportunity like this before. While browsing through my Amex Offers online, one offered 2,500 SkyMiles for adding an authorized and having that user spend $500 within three months. It’s important to note that American Express authorized users have a unique card number, so American Express can track which card is being used. If you receive a similar offer, make sure that extra $500 spend is on the new user’s card.
American Airlines credit cards are popular these days for existing customers to earn bonus miles. Both Citi and Barclays have been offering quarterly bonus categories similar to how the Chase Freedom and Discover It cards award points. Like the typical rotating category cards, the bonuses do vary, and you have to enroll in order to take earn those extra miles.
Read Emails from Your Dining Program
Dining programs are one of the easiest ways to earn extra miles in your favorite loyalty program. Once enrolled, you’re likely to get a lot of emails reminding you of the restaurants in your area that participate and when new ones join. Much of the time, these emails appear seemingly similar at first glance, but every once in a while, a special offer shows up.
Earlier this month, AAdvantage Dining sent out a targeted email to members who hadn’t received a dining bonus recently. To incentivize members to dine again with a member restaurant, they offered a one-time bonus of 750 miles for visiting one of their restaurants before December 31.
As an additional reminder, don’t forget to add new credit cards to your dining program account, even if you don’t think you’ll ever use that card at a restaurant. it doesn’t cost anything but a few minutes of your time to add the card, and then you don’t have to remember which card you need to use to earn the bonus miles.
Uncommon Gift Cards
Do you have a business credit card from Chase’s Ink lineup that earns bonus points at office supply stores? Buying gift cards for merchants you shop with is a popular way to earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points where you may normally only earn one point per dollar spent.
While you won’t be surprised to find Amazon, Office Depot, and Old Navy gift cards, you may find a few less common merchants. For instance, Staples sells gift cards for Airbnb, Netflix, and Southwest to name a few. As a result, you can earn 5X Ultimate Rewards on Airbnb rentals, your monthly Netflix subscription or on Southwest flights.
Online shopping portals are one of the easiest ways to boost your loyalty program balances. To make sure you’re earning the highest bonus among all the portals, use cashbackmonitor.com to compare sites.
Additionally, always be sure to check your shopping portal for every online store where you shop. You may be surprised to find less common websites. Big name stores like Target or Gap are always available, but recently, I found a few cash back opportunities I wouldn’t have guessed offered bonuses. For instance, you can now earn points when buying a gift for your favorite Trekkie through the Star Trek Shop.
Another example is Cheapcaribbean.com. My fiancé and I decided to book a flight/hotel deal through this travel site for a getaway to Jamaica. Before I booked the trip, I decided to check Topcashback.com, and sure enough, they offered 2% cash back on Cheapcaribbean.com. I went through the portal and earned $75 back on our package!
A Word of Caution with Certain Special Offers
Domestic airlines like to email special offers to their members. The airlines partner with third parties to offer bonus miles for signing up for their service or joining a monthly membership club. Examples include an extra mileage bonus for changing home energy providers, signing up for DirecTV, or joining a monthly wine club.
These may be legitimate offers, but you need to read the fine print. Sometimes the prices you may pay for a new energy provider are not the lowest available. The DirecTV package may not be the cheapest option. And while you may be a wine lover, it’s possible you haven’t heard of any of the wines in this club, and you have to buy a certain number of bottles each month to be eligible for the extra miles.
With any special offer, always read the fine print so you’re sure to meet the requirements to earn the bonus. For special third party offers, know what you’re signing up for before you do.
When you become obsessed with points and miles, you start to look for them everywhere like a scavenger hunt. While these tips won’t earn you enough points for first class to Paris, every little bit helps.