Refer-a-Friend to Earn Points
Episode #3 of the course Travel hacking: Earn frequent flyer miles without flying by Chris Guillebeau
Welcome back, traveler!
Since the last two lessons consisted of a lot of information, today’s email will be brief and on-point: how you can use “Refer-a-Friend” promotions to earn small bonuses with very little effort.
Travel brands, like everyone else in the age of digital sharing, really like it when you tell your friends and family about their offers—so much so that many are even willing to pay you (and your friends) for your effort. Refer-a-friend programs are a pretty simple way to earn points, miles, and even monetary travel credits. In short, you’ll earn a bonus for every person you get to sign up for a service (and sometimes complete a specific task).
Brands make referring your friends and earning bonuses easy for you. You register for a site or service, and the company provides you a personal link to share on social media or a form to automatically email your friends.
Here are some refer-a-friend offers you can take advantage of right now:
• AirBnB: Invite a friend to join AirBnB. They get $20 toward their first stay and you get a $20 credit when they complete a stay (or $80 when they host).
• Kaligo: Everyone you refer gets an extra 1,000 miles on their first booking, and you get 1,000 miles in whatever program you choose when they complete their first hotel stay.
• Pointshound: Invite your friends and you both earn a bonus of 500 miles in the program of your choice when one of your referrals makes their first hotel booking.
• Rocketmiles: You and your friend will both earn a 1,000 mile credit in the airline program of your choice for each referred friend who creates a new account and makes one hotel booking.
• Travel Hacking Cartel: Earn up to 3,000 United miles for every friend who uses your link to register for the Travel Hacking Cartel
For example, Rocketmiles, an online hotel booking service, offers a small 1,000 mile bonus each time you refer a friend to their service and your friend makes a booking. Plus, your friend gets 1,000 miles as well! Though 1,000 miles might not seem like it’s worth the effort, I like their service and often tell others about it. And apparently my friends have been impressed—in one month, I received 12,000 miles in my American AAdvantage account! This seemingly small offer earned me enough miles to book a one-way domestic trip from Portland to Philadelphia.
Small numbers of points not only add up, they help keep your mileage from expiring. Any time miles are deposited into your account—even if it’s only 100 at a time—the transaction counts as account activity. Expiration rules are different for every airline, so to determine when/if your miles will expire for a specific airline, check your mileage account statement directly on the airline’s website.
Credit card companies also offer large refer-a-friend bonuses. American Express and Chase both regularly offer bonuses of 5,000 points—and sometimes up to 10,000—if you can convince your friends to apply for their credit cards. (Just remember that you have to have them yourself first to be eligible.)
Remember, you don’t have to constantly fly all over the world, and you can help your friends get involved so that they too can benefit from travel hacking.
Tomorrow, you’ll learn how to earn miles with special promotions as well as how to keep up with all the offers available.
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