5 Ways to Earn Miles You Probably Didn’t Know About

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The majority of us earn heaps of miles through sign up bonuses, maximizing category bonuses on credit cards, and flying. And at the end of the day, credit cards are the bread and butter that enable most of us to fly free in First Class.

But there are lots of other ways to earn miles, many of which are passive and all of which require little effort. Here are five ways you can earn miles on the side right now.

  • Book hotel rooms through Rocketmiles.
  • Book your Airbnb stays through your Virgin America account.
  • Book Hilton hotel rooms through the Hilton app. 
  • Link any debit or credit card to Thanks Again.
  • Buy flowers through 1800Flowers.com for Valentine’s Day and earn Southwest Rapid Rewards.

Knowing how to earn miles in all kinds of ways comes in handy if you’re trying to extend the life of your miles. All it takes is the smallest amount of activity in an account to re-up their lifespan, and if you don’t have a credit card to earn them anymore then you must have an alternative method.

Book Hotel Rooms Through Rocketmiles

Rocketmiles is a hotel booking site. Hotel booking sites have huge margins, but they can’t usually undersell the price on the hotel’s site, so most simply offer the same price without differentiation. Rocketmiles is totally different. It takes those huge margins and rebates as much as it can to its customers in the form of frequent flyer miles in any of nine programs. Each night booked at a hotel earns 1,000 or more miles to be accredited to the loyalty program of you’re choosing. Affiliated loyalty programs are at the bottom of the homepage, and include:

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Book a hotel through Rocketmiles you’ll earn anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 miles per night based on the price of the hotel nights. Note however that you won’t earn Hotel points if you choose to book this way.

If I were booking a lot of reimbursed hotel stays for business travel, I would always book through Rocketmiles to earn thousands of airline miles from the bookings.

Keep your eye out for promotions aimed to drum up attention for a specific loyalty program, like this one back in June of last year that helped you easily earn 5k AAdvantage miles.

Book your Airbnb stays through your Virgin America account.

Virgin America and Airbnb are partners. When you book through Virgin America’s Airbnb portal, you’ll earn 1 Elevate point per dollar spent. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, you’ll also get 1,500 Elevate points for your first stay.

If you’re considering being an Airbnb host, make sure to do it through the Virgin America portal–you’ll earn 20k Virgin America points the first time you host someone.

You can also always earn 1 SkyMile for every dollar spent on an Airbnb. You just have to book through deltaairbnb.com. If you are a Delta fan, then by all means, book this way. But for most people, Virgin America points are going to be more valuable (we value them at 2.3 cents each).

Right now however, Delta is offering a bonus on booking through their Airbnb portal. You’ll get 3 Delta miles per dollar spent for bookings made through April 30 (valid on stays through April 30). So for the moment, I’d use Delta’s portal, as three Delta miles are worth more than one Virgin America point. But normally, I’d use Virgin America’s portal.

Book Hilton hotel rooms through the Hilton app.

Every Hilton reservation you book through their app earns you 500 Hilton points this year. Register here to earn the bonus points.

What’s even cooler is that for stays completed by or before April 30, you’ll earn 2k bonus Hilton points for every night you stay. Register for the 2k Every Day promo here.

Link Any Debit/Credit Card to Thanks Again

Thanks Again is a like a portal that allows you to earn extra rewards for spending at a variety of merchants (mostly Airport merchants).

Link any debit or credit card issued by MasterCard, Visa, or American Express to your Thanks Again account, and earn Thanks Again points when shopping at one of their participating merchants. Then you can choose to transfer those Thanks Again points to any of their airline or hotel loyalty partners. Popular programs include:

  • American Airlines
  • Alaska United
  • Southwest
  • JetBlue
  • Hilton

Thanks Again points transfer to all airline partners 2:1.

Million Mile Secrets explains here how to earn 25 Thanks Again points for every Uber ride you take.

Buy flowers through 1800Flowers.com for Valentine’s Day and earn Southwest Rapid Rewards.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and you can earn a significant amount of Rapid Rewards by ordering your flowers from 1800Flowers.com through February 15 (so even if you forget until the day after, you can still get yourself out of the doghouse and earn some points on top!). Click this link to be taken to the promotion page, and enter your Southwest Rapid Rewards number and the promo code SW34 at check out and you will earn 1,750 Rapid Rewards per minimum $34.99 order.

Million Mile Secrets goes over the process in more detail.

Note that Rapid Rewards earned this way won’t be counted towards earning for the Southwest Companion Pass.

Bottom Line

There are lots of ways to earn miles. We normally ony think about earning through credit cards, but don’t forsake the little guys. There’s tons of free miles to be earned from programs and promotions like those listed in this post, many of which require just an initial registration and not much effort after.

For more nontraditional ideas of how to earn miles, check out The Complete Guide to Miles and Points Expiration: FAQ.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. hey scott—wondering if the airlines have special programs when they have seats open within a week or few days of travel and sell seats for cheaper? luftansa has smartmiles, wondering if other programs have similar? ditto for air line programs in other countries? thanks again!

    • Some airlines release award space at the last minute when they have unsold seats. I don’t know of any that sell the seats cheaper though.

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