People just like you are earning and spending points and miles every day, all without ever getting on a plane. All it takes is a little effort to learn how the game works and as much time as you’re willing to invest (warning: this game can be addictive).
My mission is to help you unlock the secrets of the game and score amazing travel experiences. If you’re just starting out with mileage earning (or travel hacking), you’ll catch on quickly. If you need more help mastering the basics, I’ll point you in the right direction so you have everything you’ll need to level up your point-earning skills.
Here’s what we’ll be covering over the next 10 days:
• Lesson 1: Dining
• Lesson 2: Shopping
• Lesson 3: Refer-a-Friend
• Lesson 4: Special Promotions
• Lesson 5: Signup Bonuses
• Lesson 6: Co-Branded Promotions
• Lesson 7: Banking
• Lesson 8: Surveys
• Lesson 9: Monthly Expenses
• Lesson 10: Category Bonuses
I’m really excited to introduce you to this hobby. It’s allowed me to travel all over the planet for more than ten years. Your story can be next!
Earn Points for Eating
Episode #1 of the course Travel hacking: Earn frequent flyer miles without flying by Chris Guillebeau
The secret to travel hacking successfully is turning everything you do, eat, and pay for into points. It’s not nearly as difficult as you may think. Start by paying attention to all the services you purchase this week. You’ll be surprised how many miles you can earn in a year by optimizing everyday services.
Among other things, you have to eat everyday—and there’s a way for you to earn points and miles while you do that too. Through a program called Rewards Network, restaurants partner with airline mileage programs to offer dining programs that award you with points and miles for every dollar you spend when you eat out at designated locations.
Nearly every airline offers a dining program that simply requires you to complete a registration form to enroll. Once you sign up for the free program, you register at least one credit card that you would typically use when you dine out (this card is never charged, it is just used to track your dines). After you’ve registered, take a look at the list of eligible restaurants in your area. You’ll want to note the ones you already go to or want to try and frequent those more often.
The only thing left to do is go out and eat. Anytime you use one of the cards you’ve registered in the program at a participating restaurant, you automatically earn bonus miles directly in the attached airline program based on the per dollar amount spent.
When you first join a dining program, you’ll earn 3 miles per dollar you spend until you achieve an “elite” milestone of completing 12 dines in one calendar year. After you become an elite diner, you’ll then earn 5 miles per dollar spent. It’s best to get your 12 dines in as quickly as possible for the lowest spend so you can be sure to get 5x points on your big dining bills for the rest of the year. Bon Appetit!
Here are the links to some of the most popular Dining-for-Miles Programs:
There are plenty of other programs available to you through Alaska, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and Virgin America. If you tend to fly frequently through one of these other airlines, you may consider trying one of them out as well.
In addition to dining programs offered by airlines, you could also sign up through Hilton HHonors Dining or IHG Rewards Club Dining. However, unless you have a strong preference for one of those options, the points are not quite as valuable as those offered by the airline dining programs.
• Sign up for the dining programs related to your primary airline. Be sure to check if there is a current sign-up bonus
• Get to know which restaurants, coffee shops, and bars in your area are members of the dining program you’ve enrolled in and visit them
• When you can’t decide where to eat dinner with your friends, check which participating members of your chosen program are nearby
• When you get a new credit card, register it to your dining miles account
• Make a plan to achieve frequent dining status this year (I go to 12 restaurants in a single day, but you don’t need to be so hardcore…)
There’s much more to come in our mileage-earning adventure. In tomorrow’s lesson, you’ll learn how you can earn even more miles with online shopping.
Yours in the journey,
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