Start Here

Welcome to Frequent Miler, where you’ll learn how to earn miles without flying.  Want to use miles to fly First Class around the world?  Yes, it can be done! I know it sounds like one of those “too good to be true” things, but it really works.  My family and I have been traveling in First Class for free (less taxes and fees) for years using the tricks explained in this blog.

The catch (and yes, there’s always a catch) is that it takes knowledge and organization to pull it off.  That’s where this blog can help!

3-steps-header3Ironically, traveling is not the best way to earn miles & points (but it doesn’t hurt!).  Credit card signup bonuses are the biggest and best opportunity for earning free points and miles.  For many, it’s easy to earn hundreds of thousands of points each year through signup bonuses!  Here’s how:

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Credit card issuers want your business and they’re willing to pay you for it in the form of huge credit card signup bonuses.

As you’ll see on my best credit card offers page, there are dozens of great bonuses out there.  A common practice is to regularly sign up for new cards, primarily for the signup bonuses.  And, couples can double points earnings by each signing up for the same cards.

Note that not all offers are the same. We work hard to keep the best credit card offers page up to date with the best offers available.

A year after signing up for a card, consider avoiding the annual fee by downgrading to a no-fee card, or by cancelling altogether.

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Most credit card signup bonuses have minimum spend requirements.  For example, a 50,000 mile signup bonus will typically require $3,000 in spend within 3 months of signing up.

Techniques for meeting spend requirements include using the new credit card for all purchases; using the credit card to pay monthly bills wherever credit cards are accepted; using the credit card to pay your rent, mortgage or other loans (often for a fee).  Once you learn those basics, you can read my daily blog for additional ways to increase credit card spend without going broke.

See more here: Increase credit card spend (and get most of it back). What still works?

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Once you’ve earned points and miles, you’ll want to use them for free travel.  With some loyalty programs, that’s easy.  With hotels for example, it’s usually the case that anytime there’s a standard room available for sale it’s also available to book with points, or with a free night certificate.Airline miles are both more complicated and potentially more rewarding.  Many airlines drastically limit availability of their cheapest “saver” awards.  If you want to plan the ultimate international getaway and you haven’t yet learned the ins and outs of booking award flights, consider using an award booking service.  They’ll charge a fee, but in many cases it can be well worth the price.

Caution

Caution!

There’s a reason that credit card companies are willing to give away points & miles.  They make a lot of money from interest and fees.  Interest and fee payments can quickly wipe out the benefits gained from signup bonuses.  The only way to come out ahead is to pay your credit card bills in full, every month.  If you can’t do that, then I highly recommend against signing up for new credit cards.

More Points & Miles
Signing up for new credit cards isn’t the only way to earn points & miles without flying.  A few options include:

  • Maximizing credit card category bonuses: Many credit cards offer extra points for certain categories of purchases (e.g. restaurants, travel, groceries, etc.).  It is often possible to shift spend towards those categories in order to earn far more points than you would otherwise.
  • Online shopping via portals: Online portals offer extra rewards for shopping that you would have done anyway.
  • Marketing promotions: Businesses often offer free bonus points or miles in order to attract your business.  Occasionally these offers are incredibly lucrative!

There are many other ways to earn points and miles without flying.  The best way to learn these techniques is to subscribe to this blog.  Please also see this post: Top things to do for MORE miles.

Getting Started

  1. Read our online tutorial to learn more about earning and using points & miles.
  2. Sign up for Award Wallet to keep track of your points & miles balances.
  3. Check your credit score, and monitor your credit reports.  As long as you have a score of 700 or more, you should be good to go (but please heed the caution, above).
  4. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of every credit card you signup for.  To help you get started, I created a sample Google Docs Spreadsheet (found here).  If you’d like to use it, open the spreadsheet, then make your own copy by clicking File… Make a Copy.
  5. Always find the best credit card offers on my Best Credit Card Offers page.  If you get an offer in the mail, though, compare it to my Best Offers page.  Sometimes targeted offers are better than anything else publicly available.

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271 Comments on "Start Here"

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Sandy maroney
Guest

Happy Holidays! Thanks for all the valuable information

David
Guest

Happy Holidays. Thanks for a great year of blogging

Amanda Beckler
Guest

Please pick me!!!

Amanda Beckler
Guest

Pick me please!

Cliff Hellard
Guest

Appreciate all the work you put into the blog and updates. Always topical.

Thomas kim
Guest

Love your blogs. Happy holidays !

Jennifer Johnson
Guest

Pick me please!!!!!!

Tariq
Guest

I need the SPG points for my vacation 🙂

Mohammed Shareef
Guest

Love reading your blog, enjoy your holidays

Steve Kraus
Guest

Happy holidays!!!

Ley
Guest

What a gift to receive timely and practical tips from your blog. Happy 2018!

Atara
Guest

Love the daily emails! Thanks for the info. Would love to be picked 🙂

Gary Ray
Guest

Happy New Year! I could use a vacation.

Sherry
Guest

Love your blog! By the way, Dec. 26 is my b’day & the SPG points would be a phenomenal b’day gift!! Happy holidays!

Vital
Guest

Great Xmas idea! Merry Xmas everyone! And yes, i do hope to be picked

Mark
Guest

If you pick me, I’ll be your best friend!

chris adam
Guest

thank you for all your tips they have really helped
Happy Holidays

Will
Guest

Happy holidays!

Sara sussman
Guest

Make my year good!

Sara sussman
Guest

Help me have a very merry year!

emory d williams
Guest

Thanks for your invaluable help in experiencing travel I would have missed without points

Teri Ross
Guest

If you pick me, I will write a terrific blog post for you about the trip around the World I am just completing using many many travel hacks.

Alex Baskin
Guest

Thanks for the content, all the best.

Brad
Guest

Really could use those!

Angel Johnson
Guest

Merry Christmas, This girl loves a vacation!

Nick Vla
Guest

Happy holidays to all!!

Robert Vaughan
Guest

Pick me!

Jaguar
Guest

pick me!

R. Dworkin
Guest

Happy Holidays! Great tips.

Henry
Guest

Happy Holidays!

Elaine Farran
Guest

Please pick me! LOVE SPG! Enjoyed your e-mails and looking forward to another year of interesting writing from you.

Michael McCormick
Guest

Happy holidays. Please pick the most worthy person and thank you for all the advice you give. Without taking advantage of points, perks and discounts, I would not be able to see and experience so much.

Marc Reisberg
Guest

Happy Holidays!
(And please pick me – my family could use a nice vacation)

Froide
Guest

Thank you for this really informative blog! This year, I’ve stepped up my game from a casual pursuit of this “hobby” (which in the past allowed me to send loves ones on fabulous vacation trips) to an earnest quest to earn substantial points/miles to fund family visits to, and hotel stays for, a loved one who now must travel a huge amount to get cancer treatments. God willing, the points/miles I’m amassing – in no small part from reading this and similar blogs – will also fund a “remission victory trip” for our extended family, post-treatments. Meanwhile, treating loved ones and friends to gifts, meals, and smell-the-roses experiences has allowed us all to continue creating fond memories as well as earned additional points/miles.

mark
Guest

Pick Me…:)
Happy New Year

Scot Weaver
Guest

Bring it 2018. Let’s go!

Hilde Hendricks
Guest

Happy Holidays.

David L Hendricks
Guest

Would LOVE to win

Valerie Deja
Guest

“CHOOSE ME” – would love to win the points to finally see Italy … Thank you for this chance …

Bueller
Guest

“Happy Holidays!”

Kloudea
Guest

I am trying to book an award flight using United miles to Europe this summer. While at the FTU Expo someone mentioned to not only check United’s website for availability, but partners as well. I tried to search using SwissAir and Singapore Airlines, but don’t have an account there. Is there a way to get around that. Any advice is appreciated.

T_Boston
Guest

Love the blog Greg and appreciated meeting up at the Chicago Seminars a few months ago.

A quick suggestion — I would put out a warning about The Plastic Merchant. I learned about them at the Chicago Seminars and they’ve been having issues with checks that bounce. The points chaser posted something (http://pointchaser.com/plastic-merchant-payment-issues/) and I’m hoping word gets around before people get burned big time.

Doug Martin
Guest

Hi Guys…
Question… I don’t yet have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card that says you can use your Ultimate Rewards points for travel purchases thru them valued at 1.5 cents per.
If I get that card, will the 500k UR points I have already accumulated thru my Ink Plus card be valued and usable at the higher 1.5 rate or at the current 1.25 rate?
It would be a $1250 swing. Thanks in advance.
Keep up the good work, you guys are great.

FlyerDad
Guest

Good news. You’ll be able to transfer your points to the CSR which will give you 1.5 for all of your points Once your CSR is available through Chase on mine, it’s pretty simple to combine your points.

Mike
Guest

This four-month old post rear its head in my daily inbox today, as if to prove yet again that every coin has a tail and a head both. I landed in Medellin yesterday with two free checked bags on a multi-city United award redemption, fees and taxes paid by United card. One of my two checked bags is still missing, or I think it is since I’ve not received the promise email/telephone contact from Copa. So yes, I paid no baggage fees for two 50-lb. suitcases but no, I don’t have the 12 hour missing luggage insurance that was available to me by using CSP. Copa’s luggage service site indicates it’s initially willing to pay $25 in daily reimbursement for not more than three consecutive days. I hope not to find out more, except whether showers fall softly as predicted for late tonight and whether the weather will feel chilly as the temp falls from 81F to 64F. Good sleeping weather, as they say.

Sayeed
Guest

Hello, I got a CSP over two years ago. In November 2017, I product changed it to a Freedom. I was actually getting ready to apply for the CSR. Now that I am below 5/24, I’m having second thoughts about the CSR. I love my Prestige too much for the 4th night benefit, and I’m not sure if I want two $450 cards. Do you see any issues associated with getting approved for the CSP again and getting the bonus a second time?

Nick Reyes
Editor

The important date with Chase is when you received the signup bonus. It must have been at least 24 months since you last received a signup bonus on the CSP to get a signup bonus again. For example, let’s say you opened the card in December 2015 and you completed the spend on January 31st 2016 and your next statement cut on February 21st 2016. The signup bonus points would have posted on February 21st, 2016 with that statement. In that example, you would have gotten the CSP over two years ago, but earned the signup bonus LESS than 24 months ago and you would therefore not be eligible to receive the signup bonus again.

Moral of the story is that you need to check when you got the signup bonus. If you received the signup bonus more than 24 months ago, you’re good to go on getting approved for it again.

DW
Guest

I’m curious what Greg did with the BOA cards he applied for last year. I grabbed 6 myself after reading Greg’s post. Did you close all of them? What’s your BOA strategy going forward? After BOA’s 2/3/4 rule, I’m eligible for one card in March. Debating Virgin Atlantic, Alaska or the Premium Reward.

Anthony Sara
Guest

Keep in mind that your Auto and HO insurer may put you in a less favorable underwriting category and increase your premium when you apply for and are given a new credit card as happened to me several years ago with Hartford (or 21st Century–I don’t remember).

Carl P
Guest

I was trying to post on article and got invalid Capta ocde foive times. Anything up?

CJ
Guest

Hey Guys, does Gift of College gift cards incur the wrath of an AMEX signup bonus clawback?

Wanita
Guest

How do I sign up to get emails for when my check is deposited on the blue bird card

Sam
Guest

Hey guys. Your site is outta site. Question: I’m fairly new to the hotel CC thang. I’m evaluating whether it will be worth it to keep my and my wife’s SPG cards. Between personal and business, we have four SPG cards. Does that mean that upon anniversary, (under the new guidelines to be rolled out this fall…) we’d collectively have four Marriot annual stay certificates? WOuld we be able then theoretically be able to stay four nights at the same hotel (assuming availability) for free? I also have the Marriot Bness card. Might that get me a fifth night at the same hotel? I do understand that the category of hotel will be restrictive, but that said, would this work?

BigMac
Guest

I think you mentioned that you were going to use your SPG Amex card a lot prior to August 1st when the Marriott deal kicks in.and you’ll only get 2 MR points for 1 SPG point. I saw that SPG is again offering the 35% discount on point purchases through May 31st. Is this more worthwhile than usual to purchase?