Ask any frequent traveler how he or she funds excursions, and you’ll likely hear swoon-worthy overtures about the beauty of air miles. Of course, if you’re not planning any travel in the near future, it can be difficult to figure out how to earn enough miles to score a free trip down the road. Here, we’ve put together five of the fastest ways to rack up travel miles so that you can fly the friendly skies without breaking the not-so-friendly bank.
1. Take a break from cash.
If your travel program is attached to a credit or charge card, the single best way to earn points quickly is to use the card in place of cash. Don’t worry: You won’t have to add any additional fees to the process. Simply pay off each transaction as you go, and watch your point total start to soar.
2. Use your card for bills.
No one enjoys paying monthly bills, but these dreaded slips of paper are the perfect opportunities to earn travel points. The concept is similar to treating your card like cash: Rather than write a check to your gas, electric and cell-phone companies, use your travel card to pay for each item. You’ll be able to rest assured that each expense is handled, and you’ll also nab points for the transactions. Who knows? You might just be able to fund a far-flung getaway on bill payments alone.
3. Plan an in-town hotel stay.
If you’re already earning miles on monthly expenses, treating yourself to a brief staycation is a great way to add some extra oomph to your balance. Most travel companies partner with popular hotel chains to bring you special deals and bonus rewards, so you could easily earn a mountain of miles on a weekend stay. Find a resort you’ve been wondering about for years, and settle in for a laid-back retreat.
4. Sample a new restaurant.
Are you a foodie at heart? Put your money — or miles — where your mouth is. The Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program – American Express allows you to rack up rewards on must-visit restaurants throughout areas like Bali, Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, so you can keep earning no matter where you are in the world. Enjoying dinner at Victoria Harbor while passively funding your next vacation? That’s our idea of the perfect evening.
5. Shop through your provider’s portal.
Calling all online shoppers: before you start browsing your favorite sites for the latest clothing, accessories and home goods, check in with your travel company’s portal. If you click to the sites through this home page, you could earn up to four miles for every dollar you spend. Who knew a pair of designer sunglasses could be worth so much?