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Your Guide to Gaining Frequent Flyer Miles (Updated 2018)

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Chris and I have booked flights to 4 continents and 10 countries using our airline miles, and now we’re showing you how to do the same!

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with collecting frequent flyer miles and actually started in February of 2017. Since then, Chris and I have earned 1,200,000 miles. And while that is an impressive number, it means nothing if you don’t put them to use! We’ve used our miles to fly to Southeast Asia round-trip in business class, book flights to Europe for ourselves and family, booked trips to Peru, and even flown to several places in the US.

What does this mean for you? Well, I’m spilling my secrets on how I collected these miles so you can do the same for your future travels. Whether you just want a cheap flight to Hawaii or you want to fly first class to Fiji, I’m here to show you how to gain frequent flyer miles too.

frequent flyer miles

Learn how to collect frequent flyer miles and travel to far off exotic places, like Koh Lipe, Thailand.

How to Collect Frequent Flyer Miles

Okay, so the first thing you need to know is how to collect miles. Obviously credit cards and sign up bonuses are the most lucrative, but they aren’t the only way. Other than actually flying, you can shop on airline or bank shopping portals, do online surveys, refer friends to the credit cards, add an authorized user, eat at airline dining partners for extra miles, or even use gift card apps like United MileagePlus X. There are so many more ways, but these are the easiest to do. Let me break these down.

Credit Cards

Credit cards usually offer between 30,000-100,000 points (which can be translated into miles) for opening their card and hitting the minimum spend requirements within a timeframe (usually 3 months). I recommend opening 2-3 cards at a time and waiting a few months before opening more. This is because your credit will take a temporary dip when opening these cards. However, the effects are usually gone within a 90 days.

Also, don’t just open any old credit card. I recommend cards that translate directly into miles rather than statement credits (it’s worth more), and look for cards that have increased their bonus offers lately. For example, Delta sent me an offer for 70,000 miles for their Delta Platinum Amex when it is usually right around 30,000 miles. I would’ve missed out on 40,000 miles had I signed up before this offer.

Once you hit the minimum spend, you’ve got miles! Hooray! Considering one-way flights to Europe are about 30,000 miles each and Asia/Africa are about 40,000 miles, these aren’t small peanut offers.

Airline or Bank Shopping Portals

This is awesome, because you basically get rewarded for online shopping. Many airlines have a portal where if you’re a member, you can login, find the store you want to online shop at, and they will let you shop at the store like normal and when you check out- you get extra miles per dollar than you would’ve if you had just gone to the online store directly. I’m talking like 5 miles extra per dollar too!

Some banks like Chase have this with their Ultimate Rewards Program (if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve). Either way, extra miles for online shopping, especially around the holidays, is perfect.

frequent flyer miles

A flight with a side of champagne? If you have frequent flyer miles, you can travel luxurious for much less!


Airlines like United also have an area on their frequent flyer site where you can sign up to do surveys and they reward you with miles. Usually, they give you an offer of about 300 miles for signing up and completing a few. Then, they are about 50-80 miles each. If you’re bored one afternoon, it’s worth it to check them out and earn extra miles.

Refer Friends/Adding Authorized User

Love your card? Think your friends would appreciate free flights and rewards as well? Refer them online and if they open the card, you can get rewarded 10,000 miles!

Eating at Airline Dining Partners

I’m a member of both Delta and United’s dining programs where they give you 3 miles per dollar extra when you dine with their partners. Link that Chase Sapphire Preferred card where you get 2 miles per dollar spent on dining, and you’ve got 5 miles per dollar for dining out. Not too shabby right?

What’s even better is that they have a lot of dining partners. For instance, one of our favorite bars close by is on it. We go pretty often either to grab a quick bite to eat or just hang out and watch a game. Because we eat out a lot, we’ve become VIP on United and now earn 5 miles per dollar dining out there on top of 2 miles through Chase. Which means for perogies and beer we get 7 miles per dollar!

frequent flyer miles

Fly to Hawaii for 80,000-90,000 miles round-trip for the two of you!

Gift Card Apps

United has the United MileagePlus X app where if you’re at a store, you can look and see if it’s on the app. If it is, it offers extra miles per dollar spent there. Just link up your credit card of choice and when you get to check out, type in the amount, and use the e-Gift Card to pay.

Our favorite is Petco. We buy our cat’s food and supplies there and it’s on the app for 5 miles per dollar. So for a quick trip to Petco, I earn over 100 miles!

As you can see, it’s pretty easy to rack up frequent flyer miles. Between my husband and I, we earned over a million miles on our cards and transferred them and have booked so many memorable trips. Just by opening the one card each and doing the things above, you’ll have enough miles for a great trip!


What will you do with your frequent flyer miles? What’s your mile earning game plan? I’d love to know in the comments! Also, if you need help figuring all this stuff out, send me an email. I’d love to make sure that you get a little luxury for less!

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