Credit Cards

How To Earn Airline Miles Without Credit Card

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 7 minute read

Credit cards with travel rewards programs, such as those offered by Chase, American Express, or any of a number of other large credit card issuers, are widely known to provide frequent fliers with bonus points or miles for practically every transaction. 

You’ll come closer to a free hotel stay or airline ticket with every point or mile you earn. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many individuals use their incentives to go on vacation.

There are certain people who won’t profit from using a credit card that provides travel rewards. Many frequent travelers without pristine credit histories are not eligible for credit cards with more lenient screening standards.

Credit cards aimed at those who are just starting out or rebuilding credit sometimes have very high-interest rates on carrying balances.

There are a number of disadvantages to collecting vacation costs, including issues with qualifying and high interest.

Credit card use carries with it the potential for overspending owing to interest charges on outstanding amounts, as well as the possibility of having one’s credit rating lowered as a result of reckless use or missed payments.

You are free to avoid using travel rewards credit cards completely if you are concerned about your capacity to keep track of your money while on the road.

The good news is that there are still plenty of opportunities for individuals to earn more points and miles with their favorite brands, typically at far greater rates of return than through credit card spending alone.

The best aspect is that you may find solutions that don’t require any money from you.

You may still take advantage of hotel loyalty and airline frequent flyer programs even if you don’t want to apply for a Chase, American Express, or any other travel rewards credit card.

There is a financial incentive for all of them, none of them require new credit, and a few require no money upfront.

Create a savings account that pays miles rather than interest.

Purchases made with a credit card that offers travel rewards earn points or miles. To paraphrase a popular saying, they want cardholders to spend money to make money.

There is no such need for the Bask Savings Account, which is guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

You may earn AAdvantage® miles from American Airlines instead of interest, making this the only savings account of its kind. 

A Bask Bank account is a great way to start redeeming for free flights on American Airlines if you reside near a commercial airport operated by American Airlines or its partners.

Frequent fliers with American Airlines who are also members of the airline’s rewards program might benefit greatly from the Bask Savings Account.

Bonuses for the first year and continued mileage earnings on balances are the two most notable benefits.

Bonus upon Account Opening (Sign-up Bonus)

If a new Bask Savings Account customer deposits $5,000 in fresh money within 30 days of account creation and maintains a $5,000 minimum balance for at least 90 days of the first 120 days the account is open, the account holder will get a 1,000 bonus AAdvantage® miles airline miles.

Bonus miles from Bask Bank are typically awarded within 10 business days, however, it may take up to eight weeks for the miles to appear in a connected AAdvantage® account.

Making Deposits and Earning AAdvantage® Miles

One AAdvantage® mile is credited annually for every dollar saved in a Bask Savings Account.

If you deposit $50,000 on January 1 and leave it there until December 31 without making any withdrawals, you will earn 50,000 AAdvantage® miles through the December statement cycle.

To earn a total of 100,000 AAdvantage® miles in two years, you need to keep your $50,000 balance active for a full year.

The advantages of a Bask Savings Account extend much beyond the ones listed above. Have a look at our analysis of Bask Bank if you want to learn more.

Complete Surveys to Get Rewards

Considerable weight should be given to your viewpoint. Advertising agencies and household-name companies who engage them will pay well, if not in the form of cash at least for travel benefits. 

You may easily earn free plane tickets or hotel stays in exchange for your time spent participating in market research. e-Rewards is a well-known company that pays its users for their thoughts. 

A small selection of the many travel companies mostly hotels and airlines that participate in it are:

  • Accor Hotels
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Choice Hotel
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hilton
  • Radisson Hotel Group
  • Virgin Atlantic

Earning potential varies widely depending on survey duration and other criteria, not all of which are made obvious to respondents.

You should also not count on being included in the vast majority of polls. It is common practice for survey creators to target respondents who fulfill certain demographic and behavioral characteristics while developing surveys.

Use a rewards app when you shop

When making purchases from a website, many customers use cash-back applications, shopping portals, and browser extensions to save money.

Similar to a cash reward, a travel rewards app or extension allows you to earn points or miles toward free travel.

One of the more well-known rewards applications, Evreward, is a good place to start for curious consumers to get a sense of the system. 

The following are some of the main airlines that work with Evreward:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines

Choice Hotels, as well as Amtrak, are among the other travel companies taking part. Most reward systems offer between one and ten points for every dollar spent.

That’s a lot more than you’d get with most travel rewards cards, which provide no more than 5 points or miles for every $1 spent.

In addition, you may find that, for a limited time, retailers included on the Evreward shopping platform are more generous than usual.

For a limited period at the beginning of 2020, for instance, Evreward purchases made with 1-800-Flowers received 30 United MileagePlus miles for every dollar spent.

Utilize a debit card for travel rewards

Incentives debit cards are less prevalent and often provide fewer perks than credit cards that offer rewards for travel. However, they are helpful for those who prefer not to use credit cards when on the road.

Since your present financial institution likely doesn’t provide such a service, you will need to go elsewhere to find a debit card that will reward you for travel.

Unfortunately, most financial institutions only have a single airline partnership through which they may provide their customers with discounted or complimentary tickets. 

It’s not as limiting as it would appear, though, because most airlines are part of global alliances with a dozen or more members.

In this regard, SunTrust’s Delta SkyMiles® World Debit card and Delta SkyMiles® Business Debit card are typical examples. Take note of the yearly costs, which may be lowered under specific conditions. 

To find even more possibilities, search for travel rewards debit cards, however, keep in mind that not all of them are offered digitally.

Collaborate in promotions on social media

Participating in brand campaigns on social media might earn you free travel incentives.

In most cases, you won’t be able to count on receiving a reward for your efforts, but if you happen to win a promotion, you may easily rack up a large number of points or miles with little exertion.

The first step is to sign up for a reward program with any travel company you’ve used in the last five years.

Keep up with the brands you like on social media, particularly the most popular advertising platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snap. 

Keep an eye on these accounts, and use lists or filters to sift through the influx of messages. Engage in any and all promotions that interest you.

Most of the time, all that’s asked is that you share a simple post about the brand with a special hashtag.

Most social media contests don’t offer huge monetary payouts; the most common rewards are 250–500 points or miles. Larger loads need more work.

 I once went to the Space Needle solely to take a picture with an airline’s in-flight magazine in it, in the hopes of earning enough points to pay for a round-trip ticket. It wasn’t difficult, seeing as I was already in Seattle.

Using an App to Collect Miles for Hotel Bookings

You may earn frequent flyer miles for every dollar spent on hotels by using a hotel booking software like PointsHound, without making any additional purchases or spending any more money than required on your hotel stay. 

A few of the numerous airlines that work with PointsHound are:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • JetBlue
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Turkish Airlines

The navigation of PointsHound is straightforward. Simply create an account for free, select your preferred reward program there are over 20 to choose from, search for hotels directly from the app, and book your room.

Although most people don’t receive the full 10,000 extra miles for each booking, it is possible.

Bottom Line

You don’t need a travel reward or airline credit card or even a good credit score to start collecting points and miles with your preferred travel company.

In addition to the normal points and miles you earn as a member of your preferred brand’s reward program on each qualified travel transaction, you now have the chance to earn additional points and miles just by making eligible purchases. 

That means you’ll be able to earn more points via everyday spending and use them for a shorter gap between award stays or flights.

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