Have you ever seen photos of those lie-flat seats in the front of the plane? Or those mega-luxurious overwater bungalows in the Maldives that are double the size of your house? It all sounds lovely – except for the price tag is somewhere along the lines of several months’ salary.
One simple solution that the not-so-rich use to enjoy unique travel experiences, along with simply flying economy and staying anywhere with a bed, is to earn frequent flyer miles and get it all for free. Almost all major airlines, hotel groups, and other travel companies offer loyalty programs, allowing you to earn points or miles over time and cash in for free flights, stays, and other stuff.
It can be depressing to realize just how many miles are necessary to even fly in the back of the plane for free. But you don’t have to be a business traveler on the road every day to earn those kinds of miles. Earning miles and points is totally free with some simple strategizing.
As someone who has an addiction to getting these things for free, I am happy to share my tips on earning and redeeming frequent flyer miles. By the way, loyalty program currencies have all different kinds of names (miles, points, etc.), and I am just going to use them interchangeably. Read on for some of my favorite ways to earn airline and hotel rewards.
How to Get Frequent Flyer Miles for Free
Spoiler alert: the majority of methods to earn hotel points and airline miles involve credit cards. This is the secret weapon of the travelers who get stuff for free!
1. Join Any & All Loyalty Programs, But Try to Stay Loyal
The most basic way to earn airline miles is to have a frequent flyer number for all the airlines you fly on. You should never be on an airplane without an account earning miles for that travel. Remember, every mile flown (or, in many cases, dollar spent) with an airline is a mile earned.
That being said, you should try to stay loyal to a carrier if you intend to build up miles. I get it – in many cases, it makes the most sense to simply fly with the airline offering the cheapest ticket. But when the difference is small, flying with your favorite can have big benefits; along with accumulating miles, you’ll also build up status for extra perks.
Don’t forget that there are airline alliances and partnerships that can allow you to earn miles for your favorite carrier, even when flying on another. For example, if you’re…