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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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Sandy maroney
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Sandy maroney

Happy Holidays! Thanks for all the valuable information

David
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David

Happy Holidays. Thanks for a great year of blogging

Amanda Beckler
Guest
Amanda Beckler

Please pick me!!!

Amanda Beckler
Guest
Amanda Beckler

Pick me please!

Cliff Hellard
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Cliff Hellard

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

Thomas kim
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Thomas kim

Love your blogs. Happy holidays !

Jennifer Johnson
Guest
Jennifer Johnson

Pick me please!!!!!!

Tariq
Guest
Tariq

I need the SPG points for my vacation 🙂

Mohammed Shareef
Guest
Mohammed Shareef

Love reading your blog, enjoy your holidays

Steve Kraus
Guest
Steve Kraus

Happy holidays!!!

Ley
Guest
Ley

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

Atara
Guest
Atara

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

Gary Ray
Guest
Gary Ray

Happy New Year! I could use a vacation.

Sherry
Guest
Sherry

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
Vital

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

Mark
Guest
Mark

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

chris adam
Guest
chris adam

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

Will
Guest
Will

Happy holidays!

Sara sussman
Guest
Sara sussman

Make my year good!

Sara sussman
Guest

Help me have a very merry year!

emory d williams
Guest
emory d williams

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
Alex Baskin

Thanks for the content, all the best.

Brad
Guest
Brad

Really could use those!

Angel Johnson
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Angel Johnson

Merry Christmas, This girl loves a vacation!

Nick Vla
Guest
Nick Vla

Happy holidays to all!!

Robert Vaughan
Guest

Pick me!

Jaguar
Guest
Jaguar

pick me!

R. Dworkin
Guest

Happy Holidays! Great tips.

Henry
Guest
Henry

Happy Holidays!

Elaine Farran
Guest
Elaine Farran

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

Michael McCormick
Guest
Michael McCormick

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
Marc Reisberg

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

Froide
Guest
Froide

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
mark

Pick Me…:)
Happy New Year

Scot Weaver
Guest
Scot Weaver

Bring it 2018. Let’s go!

Hilde Hendricks
Guest
Hilde Hendricks

Happy Holidays.

David L Hendricks
Guest
David L Hendricks

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
Bueller

“Happy Holidays!”

Kloudea
Guest
Kloudea

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
T_Boston

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
Doug Martin

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
FlyerDad

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
Mike

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
Sayeed

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
DW

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
Anthony Sara

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
Carl P

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

CJ
Guest
CJ

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

Wanita
Guest
Wanita

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

Sam
Guest
Sam

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
BigMac

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?

Yankee
Guest
Yankee

Please help/guide to find the easiest way to check the availability of the turkish airlines award flights that we can book thru aeroplan later.

Thanks

Sue
Guest
Sue

I would love to win!

Adam
Guest
Adam

Hi!

I will try to make this very quick as I know you have tons of emails. If I have an option to get AA platinum (50k) or delta silver (25k) before the end of 2019, which would you choose. The caveat is that I will be living in Atlanta starting in 2019. I don’t really care about having to have one connection to most places considering Atlanta isn’t an AA hub. What would you chose? One other thing, I can get AA platinum in the next 20 days via a status challenge.

Thanks so much for your opinion!

Jgoldberg
Guest
Jgoldberg

They are a rip off . Said I can redeem by end of month and am locked out

texasflyer
Guest
texasflyer

Greg,
I have tons of miles(millions) in most US based airline programs( aa, united, sw, aeroplan, alaska) , and in spg, and MR.
Also have a ton of 7 night marriott certs that i got through marriott air+hotel packages.
I travel a lot on international premium class using points (and domestically using companion pass, Avios (when it is not down) and MR 35% off for last minute travel – alas the MR 50% days just went away).

What do you recommend i do with my spg points? Am skeptical of buying marriott air+hotel packages, but dont see any other option that is safe (remember that i continue to earn spg points in the meantime, which i will SWITCH to Chase spend after aug 1)

Am worried about Aug 1. I have read most blogs and realize what possible changes can happen.
Should i buy some MORE alaska/united packages? They offer the best charts/value currently of all air+hotel packages.

AA – i did many air+hotel packages when they had their huge transfer bonuses, so have enough AA miles.

In my estimate the transfer bonus AA, Aeroplan, United have offered in the past, easily outweigh the depreciation that miles would suffer, hence i went to town when those bonuses were announced, hence have plenty of those 3 airline points.

Texasflyer

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Hi Greg,

I know that it has been asked and answered a dozen times , but I am still confused:

“ will fifty combined nights in calendar year 2018, at starwood as well as Marriott hotels result in qualifying for platinum in 2018, with platinum status lasting until approximately March 1 2020? “

If you can answer this for me I would appreciate it. The mid year transition has confused me.

Thank you

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

Give me some points pleeeease!

Freeman
Guest
Freeman

Hi Greg – I recently applied for a Chase Business Card. Even though I am over the 5/24 limit, I thought that since it was a business card, I might get approved. I was denieged the card, but their reason for the denial was a little funny. They said, “Too many credit cards opened in the last two years associated with you”. I agree I have had to many cards under their 5/24 rule, but they implied they made the decision based on my Trans Union credit bureau information – an account that is locked and can not be accessed by creditors.

Thanks for your comment,

Ed. C
Guest
Ed. C

My wife received her first Chase personal card recently and after setting up online access for her, the first thing I did was go the Chase Credit Journey to check her report. I was shocked to see it says she has 5 opened accounts in the last 2 years, which I knew wasn’t true. I then went to Credit Karma and checked both her TransUnion report and her Equifax report, and then I went to Experian and checked her report there. All 3 showed the same information – that she has 3 opened accounts in the last 2 years with 2 of those being authorized user accounts. Even counting her Chase Ink Cash card and her new, unreported as of yet, Freedom card she would only be at 5 with the authorized user accounts.

Why would Chase Credit Journey show 5 accounts when TransUnion, where they get their information from, shows 3 accounts? I am hoping she can get the CSP in a couple of months and realize Chase bases their account decisions on Experian’s report, so is this anything to be concerned about?

Sam
Guest
Sam

Greg, not sure where to post this….so I hope you see this.

In all this marriott TP chitter chatter, one thing keeps nagging me: Why Why WHY are they still selling these?

They arbitrarily shut down the Ritz card in the dead of night. (Maybe it was Chase, but still….these things CAN be done.)

Why not just shut the TP program down as well? In the middle of the night. Then they can make their announcement as to what they are doing in preparationg for D-Day, August 18. It would lead to a smoother transition.

But they aren’t doing that. They are still selling them.

I can think of only two reasons:

1) They still haven’t figured out what to do. But even then, they could still just shut everything down and figure it out in the next week or so.

2) Or they WANT us to use points, so they get as many points off their books as possible. Points are of course a kind of liability on the balance sheet. They’ll take a charge for the Wall Street analysts for the merger anyway, and then they move on.

This way their balance sheet looks as clean as possible.

My guess is that they will do something generous, but whatever it is, I think they want those points off their books and as such, I doubt they’ll just redeposit the points. Who knows?

The point again tho is: why the heck are they still selling these things?

Dori
Guest
Dori

I need some advice. I’ve been in the miles/pts game for a little bit. See so I have the Chase Trifecta( Reserve, Freedom Unl, Freedom) and Amex Platinum and several others. I’ve found the Chase UR pts to be the best and easiest to use, so I’d like to get another Chase card, but I’ve been unsuccessful getting approved for the Chase business cards(prior to app, Chase rep said I was not in violation of 5/24 Chase rule, but denial letter said I had opened too many cards within last 24mos). Any suggestions on how to get approved for another UR Chase card? Or next best reward cards to apply for? I have good amount of spend coming up now and over course of year and I want to capitalize on as many bonus promos as I can. Would greatly appreciate some actionable advice. Thanks all!

Paul Hutchins
Guest
Paul Hutchins

Direct MS Question
Just got approved for SPG Luxury Card from AMEX. My question is this, with the minimum spend requirement of $5K I’m either going to have to get creative or MS to hit the min spend. Slightly worried about shutdown or clawbacks with MS on AMEX specifically with the purpose of hitting minimum spend.
What percentage if any of the $5K min on MS threshold with earning min spend on SPG cards? I should probably add AMEX is used to seeing the “usual suspects” on my other SPGs since I MSed pretty hard on them for the last couple years and really hit it hard in the lead up to Aug when the everyday spend return dropped

Sam
Guest
Sam

Greg, today I attached an OLD category 1-5 certificate to a hotel that is a new category 5 but used to be a category 7 or 8. (I can’t remember which) Interesting!!!! I’m confirmed!!! The hotel is Renaissance Republique Paris. YMMV. If anything changes I’ll let u know. I just did it. Afternoon of September 4. I did notice that in the section for my awards on the Marriott site it still says my certificate is a category 1-5. Ie it hasn’t been updated to 1-4.

DonDover
Guest
DonDover

Both you and Nick Reyes wrote extensively about Marriott/SPG travel packages. I wonder if you or Nick could help me because I am still confused about how to proceed. I bought a Category 6 seven night package on 08/15 and am not sure about what I should do regarding asking for the 30k bonus refund or booking a stay. Example: I am interested in the Westin Cayman resort which right now is listed as a Category 6 hotel on the Marriott site. Will my package certificate change in designation and no longer be a “6”? If so, should I book now while the Westin and my certificate match? And if I ask for the 30k refund now, will that cause something which will prevent me form booking the Westin? I would like this to end with my receiving the 30k points refund and a booking at the Cayman resort. Thank you for any help you may offer.