Beginners guide to learn how to travel for free with miles and points

How do I travel for free?

Most people have in the back of their mind somewhere they only dream of ever going; places many have just come to accept as somewhere they will never be able to afford to go to. If you are like me, you cannot accept that and have a desire to make these dreams come true! The goal of this page is to give you a basic understanding of how you can realize these dreams and actually start traveling the world for free by earning tons of miles and points for next to nothing. I have earned hundreds of thousands of miles and points in the past year alone from miles and points earning credit cards, Christmas shopping online, surfing the internet, watching short videos, taking surveys, liking companies on facebook, along with dozens of other free promotions. Keep reading and you too can build a massive war chest of airline miles and hotel points.

In this section we will cover the basics so you can get your feet wet and start learning how you to can easily have amazing vacations for little or nothing!

Most airlines and hotels offer loyalty programs to compete for business by offering customers the opportunity to earn free flights and nights with them. But most people just assume you have to be someone who travels a lot in order to get any of these perks. This is simply not true.

So where do you want to go? Hawaii, Australia, The Maldives?? The possibilities are endless!

Pick a destination: Take some time to come up with a few destinations that really want to go to and would like to start working towards. Maybe you want to spend some lazy days basking in the sun on sandy beaches next to the emerald-blue waters of Maui. Maybe you want to do some zip-lining through the canopy of the rain forests in Costa Rica. Whatever it is, set your sights on somewhere and now we can get the ball rolling.

1. Sign up for loyalty programs:

The first thing to do is to sign up for loyalty accounts with several airlines and hotel chains. For airlines, make sure you are signing up for the airlines that have the biggest presence in your area. For example, I am with American, Delta, and United as they are the 3 main carriers out of my area. I am signed up with many others but as you learn more you will understand why. Also take the time to sign up for at least 3 hotel programs. You will sign up for many others but 3 is the minimum I would start with. Once you decide which programs to sign up with, do a quick google search to see if there is a current sign-up or new member bonus that you can get in on.

Airlines:

Air Canada Aeroplan
Air France/KLM
Alaska
American
ANA
British Airways
Cathay Pacific
Delta
Emirates
Frontier
Hawaiian
JetBlue
Lan
Qantas
Southwest
US Airways
Virgin America
United
US Airways
Virgin America
Virgin Atlantic

Hotels:

Accor
Best Western
Club Carlson
Choice Hotels
Hilton
Hyatt
Marriott – Contact me for a referral before you sign up and we both can earn 2,000 bonus points for each of your first 5 stays!
Omni
Priority Club
Ritz-Carlton
Starwood
Wyndham

Rental Cars:

Avis
Enterprise
Hertz
National
Thrifty

2.Sign up for an award tracking program

Sign up for an online award tracking program or put together a good spreadsheet that you can use to track balances and dates when the points will expire without any activity. Here are a couple that will allow you to track your points easily together in one place for free.

Examples:

AwardWallet
Point Hub
Using Miles

I am signed up with a few different award tracking programs. However, I am a little anal so I usually just use a spreadsheet that I created and manually update it every couple of weeks myself.

Travel Rewards – A version of the spreadsheet I use. I have made many changes and tweaks to this since this original version, but if you are like me and prefer to track things yourself , feel free to use this. You can download this and modify it to meet your needs.

3. Sign up for all the periodic free promos

Loyalty programs are continually partnering with different businesses and websites to offer free miles for doing business with a company or for signing up for a website or for liking them on Facebook. You can see my latest Free Miles posts here.

These promos are very frequent and you can end up earning thousands of miles & points  via these promos. This is one of the reasons you should be enrolling in as many loyalty programs as possible. Keep in mind that just because it is an airline from France or wherever, doesn’t mean you won’t actually use the miles. Many airlines are part of international airline alliances that let you redeem those miles on any of their partners, including those that you will use.

4. Take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses. 

The quickest and easiest way to earn a stash of frequent flyer miles and hotel points, aside from actually flying, is huge credit card sign up bonuses. Your credit is one of your biggest assets when playing the miles and points game. Just by taking advantage of a few offers you can easily score yourself a free vacation.

Before you begin applying, I highly recommend you check your credit score as it is crucial to have a high credit score in this game (700+). There are many sites that offer free trials where you can sign up, get your credit reports/scores, and cancel if you choose not to monitor it on an ongoing basis. Some of the ones I’d recommend are TrueCredit.com (by TransUnion), CreditSesame and GoFreeCredit.com. See Credit score basics and how applying for cards will affect your credit score. Also you can checkout MyFICO for more credit information.

Most of the current best available sign up bonuses can be found under the “Credit Card” link at the top of the page.

 5. Eating, shopping, surfing the net = more miles and more points

Credit card sign up bonuses are not the only way to earn miles and points but they are generally the quickest and easiest.

You can earn miles by taking marketing surveys at E-rewards.com, E-miles.com, and other sites. I don’t do more than half a dozen surveys through E-rewards.com a month but I usually end up with about 500 miles a month this way and could easily earn a lot more if I wanted to do more surveys.

Shopping just to earn mile and points is a bad idea, but, if you are going to be shopping anyway you might as well get as much as you can out of your purchases. Many airline programs have an online shopping portal where you can earn extra points for going through them to shop online at many of your favorite stores. I hate shopping so I do all mine online and usually earn 10-20 points per dollar (and sometimes more) on my Christmas shopping, gifts, and personal shopping.

Eating out can help you earn miles and points as well. Many airline and hotel programs also offer a dining program where you can sign up and earn up to around 5 points per dollar if you dine at restaurants that are part of the network!

These are just some of the extra ways to earn points.

UPDATED: Check out this post for more info on earning miles and points without applying for credit cards.

6. SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG:

That way you will be emailed immediately with any new posts so that you are alerted right away to new promotions and offers for free miles and points!

Keep an eye on other promotions for bonus points. Keep coming back here to keep up with new offers and methods to accumulate miles and points! Also bookmark FrequentFlyerBonuses.com as it is a great database of current promotions being run by most airlines, hotels, and car rental agencies.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®
Citi® /  AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and 2 Admirals Club® Passes after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • Your first eligible checked bag is free*
  • Group 1 boarding and 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases*
  • Earn a $100 American Airlines Flight Discount every cardmembership year with qualifying purchases and cardmembership renewal*
  • Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*
  • Apply Now!

6 Responses to Beginners guide to learn how to travel for free with miles and points

  1. Charlie says:

    Is is possible to combine many Visa gift cards for one big purchase?
    thanks for your info.

  2. Charlie says:

    Is it possible to combine many Visa gift cards onto one debit card for one big purchase?

  3. mary says:

    How do I exchange my Marriott points for American miles?

  4. Wanda says:

    Thanks for the travel with points and miles tips. I have family in Australia but can’t afford to take the trip. This may be a way I can do so!