How to Earn Airline Miles without Flying

How to Earn Airline Miles without Flying

Credit Card Signups + Referral Bonus

Just about everyone in the free world knows that signing up for credit cards is one of the fastest ways to earn airline miles without flying. In fact some people have turned this into a cottage industry for themselves and rack up more than 500k miles annually in new credit cards alone. Several cards also have referral bonuses for adding a 2nd person to your card, it’s an easy way to earn 5k miles by adding a 2nd card holder to the same account. Caveat, the 2nd cardholder should be RESPONSIBLE.

Credit cards also have category bonuses that allow you to earn double, triple or quintuple miles based on where you use your card. Citibank’s Thank You card gives 3 miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and Chase Ink offers 5 miles for every $1 spent at Office Max. (Hint: A great place to buy gift cards that you can then use at online shopping portals- see below)


Sites like Points Hound and Rocket Miles are great ways to earn airline miles for hotel stays. American Airlines is even on board with this concept adding a 1st time signup bonus to anyone who books a hotel room with this service. These sites are great alternatives to earn miles if you want to stay in a boutique hotel that doesn’t necessarily give you loyalty points.


Buying things online through an airline shopping portal is one of the best kept secrets of earning airline miles. These portals routinely have 5, 7, 10 x multipliers  on E-retailers, where a $50 purchase can net you upwards of 500 miles. Use your mileage credit card and you have double dipped miles. Take it another step and buy an e-gift card through these portals, use your mileage credit card, and go back into the portal to use your e-gift card and you have done the classic mileage triple dip.

Go back into the portal to use your e-gift card and you have done the classic mileage triple dip.

Purchase Miles

This can be a great option if you need to top off your mileage account to afford that RT ticket to Fiji. BUT, wait for the airlines to announce special mileage buy incentives. Usually once or twice a year, someone will announce an amazing mileage purchase promo with 25, 35 or 40% mileage uplifts. Alaska and American are great at these promos and you tend to see them towards the end of the year. If you are not receiving their e-newsletters, you are missing out on these special deals.

Eating Out

Eating at some of your favorite restaurants can be a great way to earn airline miles. American, United, among others have dining reward programs. United will even give you 500 miles just to join the program. The programs are incredibly eay to use, sign up, register your preferred credit card (use a miles card for double the earning power) and eat at any of the restaurants on the list and you immediately start earning. Also some credit cards have dining nights that can double your restaurant earning power, Chase Sapphire use to have one for the 1st Friday of each month, check to see if your card offers something similar.

In Lieu of Payment for Goods and Services

Did you know you can easily share and gift miles to people? Most of the major airlines allow you to do this. If you are really on a quest to earn more miles without flying, why not accept them as payment? You can do this for just about anything, items you are selling on Craigslist, accept as repayment for a group dinner or ask for them for Christmas. The list is limitless and it’s a great way to pad your account for free flights as round trip domestic flights around the lower 48 are only 25k miles.





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