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1. Credit cards
Get a credit card that participates. Most airlines offer Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit cards that will give you miles for dollars charged to their card, typically 1 mile per dollar spent. Some points to miles programs (such as hotels and Amtrak) offer cards that give points per dollars spent, where those points are convertible to miles. Many banks offer cards which offer points or pseudo-miles which are not convertible to airline miles, but, if you accumulate enough of them within a restricted amount of time, can get you a free airline ticket. Almost all cards offer a free up-front bonus for first time use. Sometimes this bonus is quite generous.
2. Stocks or bonds
Get a stock or bond if allowed to get free miles. One example is Fidelity. Fidelelity will give you a maximum of 50,000 miles and your account must remain open with minimum funding for six months. Initial and subsequent deposits must be made within 90 days of account opening. Check with your banking institution or broker for all offers.
Shop to get free miles. Most credit cards that offer free miles will give you the miles upon using your credit cards for purchases. Visit websites that give you lists of stores and airlines that offer free miles such as frequentflier.com or webflyer.com/deals/mileage_mall/search.php. Other places to shop to get free miles is GiftCertificates.com, Skymall, and Amazon.
You can earn or redeem United Airlines miles for purchase of newspapers though its Reader Miles program. Many that you can buy are The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and more. You are going to buy things anyway and getting free miles for doing so is a great way to save money.
Join the Airline Miles Programs. Many airlines offer significant bonus miles for using their on line ticketing and check in process and their automated check in machines at airports. United Airlines is one and make sure you don’t let your free miles expire if there is no activity on your account for 18 months.
Delta will switch to a revenue based miles program for both earning and redeeming miles, starting January 1, 2015. Supershuttle offers 50 Delta Airlines miles each way for its shuttles to and from various airports, or 150 miles each way for its private ExecuCar service. Frequent flyer bonuses, Milemaven, and Delta will you give you a list of individual Delta Airlines bonus miles offers. Many of these offers require pre-registration, so always check these lists first before making a reservation.
Getting a hotel will give you free miles. Rocketmiles offers mega-miles for booking your hotel through them. They say they average 7,000 miles/booking. Miles can be earned on Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, U.S. Air, United, Air Canada Aeroplan, jetBlue, Virgin America, AirFrance/KLM, and Etihad.
PointsHound gives mega-miles for booking lodging with them, usually more that you would get by booking directly with the hotel. They offer fewer miles than does RocketMiles, but they list way more hotels.
Delta frequently offers bonuse for transferring hotel, American Express, or Diners Club points to Delta Airlines miles.
Taking surveys will give you free miles. One place is Swabucks. Swagbucks offers Soutwest Airlines, Marriott, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity Cruises gift cards in various denominations for 100 Swabucks points/$1 card value.
Gift cards from Walmart, Target, Lowes, Starbucks, CVS, Facebook, iTunes, Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, various gasoline companies, and many others in various denominations for 100 Swabucks points/$1 card value. A PayPal credits priced at 100 Swagbuck per $1.
Help humanity and get free miles. One place is Free Rice freerice.com, just answer multiple choice questions on vocabulary as often as you like. Whenever you get a correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated through the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) to help end world hunger; another place to get free miles EcologyFund.com. Save rainforest, coastal habitat, and Wilderness, protect endangered species, and reduce pollution (2 pounds of carbon dioxide per click).
8. Student programs
Colleges are starting to allow tuition payments by credit card so you can earn free miles by paying it. Many banks and credit card companies are offering special credit cards for students.
Discover Credit Cards offer several cards for students. Some banks offer credit cards backed by the assets in a savings account. The credit limit is half the value of the savings account. This would be a good way to establish a credit record. Some banks offer a credit card for students if payment is guaranteed by a parent. This helps you establish a good credit record.
If you are a student and on spring break just bring 10 or more of your friends going to the same place for vacation, or just going home. American Airlines offers group discounts. Just give them the names 30 days prior to departure.
9. Dining out
Dining can get you free miles. You are going to go there anyway, why not get miles for it. Check to see which restaurants are on the iDine® program. When you charge a meal to one of those cards at any of the 9,500 (and growing) restaurants in the U.S. and Canada, you receive up to 5 miles per dollar spent. iDine® sends out special offers for bonus miles to those registered for a participating airline’s program.
10. Cell phones
Using your cell phone or calling card will earn you free miles. Points for Wireless offers 5,000 Amtrak points for new and upgrade cell phone accounts. For residents of Alaska GCI has several offers for local, long distance, and cellular telephone service, and internet access, and cable TV, all of which produce Alaska Airlines miles.
If you have Citi Platinum Select American Airlines AAdvantage World MasterCard are offered a rent free international cellular phone from PlanetFone for one month for travel outside of the U.S. except in Japan or Korea. Just do a search to find many calling cards you can use. TRAVELLING CONNECT offers up to 10 awards per minute when you are traveling abroad and making mobile phone calls on the networks of the participating mobile operators. TravelSim offers 1 mile or point/per minute you are calling or receiving a call using its TravelSim card on your cell phone.