How to earn Miles faster and cheaper

Many of my friends ask me how to get miles.  I am by far not the most talented on how to do this but I have taken many free trips and these are the things I’ve learned.

  1. Once you choose what airline you want to earn miles with you should get a credit card for that airline.  Be sure you wait for a great offer so you can get the most miles.  I once got an AA card with 50,000 miles by only paying the $89 fee.  I took advantage of this offer and so did my husband.  That’s two tickets for $89 each.  Not bad. Pick your airline and pick your credit card.
  2. Once you get your airline credit card use it for everything.  But be sure you use good financial principles.  Do not overspend but instead pay for all your expenses with the card.  For instance my kids are in college and their rental company does not charge extra when paying with credit cards.  So I paid for both of their semesters rental with my card for a whole bunch of miles.  Groceries, gas, utilities, tolls, etc… can help you get to your destination faster.  Some credit cards will give you extra miles after you spend a certain amount.
  3. Take advantage of bonus miles earning opportunities.  Register for dining services, take online surveys, sign up for member only opportunities.  These miles can add up quickly.  There have been offers if you buy a car or sign up for cell phone service or get satellite TV.  Just look to see what is available before you make a purchase.  You never know what you can get.
  4. Use shopping portals.  I use United a lot so I try using the Mileage Plus shopping portal. When I go to the portal before going to my favorite websites I can get extra miles by starting from the portal.  Many stores offer an additional mile per dollar but some offer up to 5 miles per dollar.  Sometimes there are promotions that can give you up to 10 miles per dollar.  It is worth the extra 10 seconds to multiply my miles.
  5. Take advantage of shopping apps.  United has an app called Mileage Plus X.  Look up to see if a merchant participates.  If they do, when you pay for your purchase with that merchant use the app to pay for the purchase.  It gives you a gift card number that you present to the cashier or use at the online check out.  It might earn you between 2 and 5 miles per dollar.

Recently I just made a purchase at Kohl’s.  I used the Mileage Plus shopping portal which gave me 2 miles per dollar.  Then I paid using the Mileage Plus X app which gave me 3 miles per dollar plus a 25% bonus.  I used my Mileage Plus credit card for the purchase.  Here’s the breakdown of the purchase.

$107 Purchase

Mileage Plus Credit Card Miles           107

Shopping Portal Miles                           214

Mileage Plus X Miles and Bonus         401

Total Miles Earned                                   722


I earned 7x the miles by taking these extra two steps.  If I maximize my purchases this way I can earn many more miles much faster and not have to spend as much. united-airlines-mileage-plus-credit-card

The guy at Kohl’s thought I was funny by placing the order on the website, paying using my app and waiting for him to put it together even though I was at the store.  If I had only paid with my card I would have lost 615 miles.  Now I will shop more at Kohl’s and less at other stores because my miles earning opportunity goes further.  Other stores that I will pay with my app include and Barnes and Noble.  I hope you will incorporate some of these strategies to help you earn free tickets.

PS- If you want to apply for a United Mileage Plus credit card send me an email.  I’ll send you a link so I can get some referral miles.  🙂



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