Earning Miles with Credit Cards

Boots and Airplane-5974If you are new to the world of earning miles/points with credit cards, join me as we learn together.  This past week I got together with a friend that is an expert on making the most of sign-up bonuses and booking flights.  He is self-taught, but very successful with earning miles/points for flights.  After meeting, we came up with an action plan that will work for me.  Let me share all the cool tidbits I learned.

Airlines 101

I think I’ve only flown on three airlines my entire life: United, Aer Lingus, and Delta.  Airlines partner with many other airlines, so it is wise to join the frequent flyer clubs of some of the the majors (United, American Airlines, etc.).  It is free, so why not?

Want to earn some extra points with the big names?  Visit their shopping portals to earn extra points on items you plan on buying anyway.  This is perfect for the holiday season!

Credit Card Basics

There are some basic fundamentals that will help you with your journey into the world of earning flights.  Here are some key pieces I’ve learned:

-Be prepared to pay for your credit card balance.  Earning points is not about accruing credit card debt.  If you want the points, you have to pay your bills in full and on time.

-Do your homework ahead of time.  You will want to visit the resource section below to help you.  Consider the following questions: how much can I spend, what airlines will I be using, is this smart for domestic/international travel, and can I apply for a business card.  Let’s learn why these questions are important.

-Most credit cards have a minimum spending amount within a certain amount of time.  It can range from $0 to $20,000 within a certain period.  Make sure you can handle it.

-Decide whether flying domestically or internationally is your goal.  If you are thinking domestically, British Airways may be your best bet (oddly enough).  If you are thinking internationally, you may want to consider American Airlines depending on your destination.

-Business cards earn more rewards.  If you can handle the minimum spending amounts, be creative with using a “business” to help you earn points.

Resources

There are some great blogger experts out there ready to reveal their secrets.  Like their pages on Facebook to keep up with the word on the street.

The Miles Professor-This article is great for beginners.

Mile Value-Another great resource to get you started

American Airlines Award Chart-Major airlines have an award chart to let you know approximately how many points you will need to book a flight with rewards.  Simply search the airline name and award chart.  Here is a sample chart for American Airlines.

Award Wallet-Keep track of all your credit cards with this free, handy site.

My Plan

I’m starting small with the Barclay Arrival Card.  The minimum expense is $1,000 within three months.  Then I will branch out to the American Airlines card.  That one is $3,000 within three months for 50,000 points (at least one free flight).  From there, I will look into the business card world once I’m a little more comfortable.

I am hoping to become a pro at this someday, but until then, I will share insider tips that I learn.  Have you earned flights with points/miles?  Please share your experiences!

5 thoughts on “Earning Miles with Credit Cards

  1. Tvor says:

    I have a Visa that gives me Aeroplan miles for Air Canada (Star Alliance) and there is no minimum spend on it though it’s not a business card either. I mainly fly AC to go overseas because other than the charters that only fly in the summer from my local airport, YHZ (Halifax), AC is the only one that goes over to Europe all year round. If i wanted to fly anything else, I have to get there from here first, pretty much always flying west in order to pick up a flight going east which is annoying though can’t always be helped. I flew home from the UK in January and had to route through toronto because a delay made me miss my direct flight from Heathrow. I generally stick with AC domestic as well since they will match any seat sales promoted by the competition.

    Now, though, I’ve joined BA’s points program because the Star Aliance member that flies domestic in the UK isn’t doing it anymore and BA have picked up the Heathrow to Manchester hop which is where I always go. That gives me points on One World now as well so I guess i have more options.

  2. J Aubrey says:

    This is great!

    I have an American Express Delta Skymiles Credit card. Once I got it, I bought EVERYTHING on it.

    Delta also has their “Sky shopping” portal site if you’re a FF member. If you purchase items from participating vendors through the website portals, then you earn miles.

    For example, when I was still working in the US, I was responsible for ordering office supplies for Office Depot.com. They were brought through the company’s account credit card, but by buying the supplies form clicking through that webportal, I still earned 2 miles per dollar. One time my office bought flowers for a co-worker who has in hospital, so I used the portal site for when there was a special to earn 20 miles per dollar.

    In the end, with all of my efforts, I earned 120,000 in 6 months. That paid for my flight here to France. I flew first-class for $5.

    So that’s my tip! I keep meaning to blog about that. I’ll do that this week perhaps and link your post if you don’t mind!

      • J Aubrey says:

        Hey there! Okay, I finally finished drafting and published something about earning miles! I hope for this to be a first of many other posts on the topic, but please check it and let me know you think!

        http://wp.me/p3z1Ad-4d

        Also, please feel free to reblog it or post it or whatever– and please share with others.

        I want to make another post sharing different articles that I cound helpful when I researching, but I’d like to include yours too! Maybe we can earn each other some more blog followers.

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