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Earn more air miles. Boost your earnings by 5-20x

Do you want to earn more air miles and hotel points? Of course you do!


I know how you feel - I vividly remember these emotions during my 15 years of working for someone else. Every time I came home from holiday, I would have many wonderful plans for my next luxury escape. Then as I drive home through a wet and dreary London, I would remember that I need 6 months to save up enough points for my next trip. 6 months of commuting, 6 months of listening to my boss talk crap, well you get the picture… Sure, I could afford to fly short haul and stay at a 4* hotel – but where is the fun in that?! So what did I do? Like so many of you, I became hooked on point and miles.


In this guide I cover some of the best techniques that I have come across in the last 15 years - to boost your air miles balance. If you implement these strategies well, you can 5x your mileage returns. And if you successfully implement my small business advice, then you can 20x and more your mileage returns. In particular, I show you how to earn airline miles without credit card, and give some strategies that are not covered by other travel bloggers.


I truly believe there is not a single reader that will be applying all of the techniques I outline below. I have split these techniques into basic, intermediate and advanced. I urge all readers to go over the intermediate and advanced strategies, as these methods are very rarely covered by other bloggers.

Basic techniques

Below are some basic methods to boost your mileage earning power. There is a good chance that you apply some (or all) of these basic techniques. If not, then congratulations – you are about to earn a lot more air miles! 

Basic: Credit card sign up bonuses

Credit Card sign up bonuses are probably the most popular ‘travel hack’ to earn many miles and points in a short time. For readers lucky enough to be based in the US, this can be especially lucrative. One such example is the British Airways Signature Visa, which regularly has sign of bonuses of 100,000 Avios.

Outside of the US, bonuses are considerably less attractive. In the UK, The American Express Gold Card has a sign up bonus of 10,000 Points. These points transfer 1:1 to a number of air miles programs.

Wherever you are, credit card bonuses are normally the most profitable way to earn miles from your spending. It is possible to cancel credit cards and then re-apply - you can then earn a sign up bonus multiple times. Although many credit card companies are clamping down on this with Chase’s 5/24 rule in the US, and AMEX placing restrictions in the US and the UK.

Basic: Get Credit cards for your Partner


If you are lucky (unlucky!) enough to have a life partner, then you can double up with your credit card earning power.

For any credit card you have, then you can apply for the same credit card for your partner, and earn a 2nd sign up bonus. Many people don’t do this if their partner doesn’t have a job. This is a mistake, as many credit card companies look at the total household income and not just the inc
ome of each partner.

Basic: Promotions

Points and Miles Promotions are happening all the time and can be a great way to earn more miles. Here are some examples of historical promotions.


Hotel Groups

At any time, most Hotel chains will have some sort of points promotions going on:

  • Hilton often have double points offers
  • IHG have their accelerate program which provide personalised targets in order to earn bonus points
  • Marriot’s promotion regularly feature double points


Airline loyalty programs

Promotions from airline loyalty programs are less regular than hotel promotions, and vary considerably in quality. One promotion gained notoriety in 2018 - it enabled you earn 90,000 Avios for as little at $330 spend on Iberia flights. Unlike most promos, you still earned the miles if you did not take the flight!

Another example of an air miles promotion is with the Economist magazine, who regularly provide bonuses for signing up to subscription packages. Historical examples include offers to earn 25,000 BA Avios or Lufthansa Miles & More Air miles. This is a great example of how to earn airline miles without credit card.

How to find out about promotions? For hotel promos, simply sign to the email list of your favoured hotel chain. For other promotions, you can follow travel blogs such as The Points Guy, One Mile At A Time or Head For Points (UK focus), and they will publicise 95% of miles and points promotions.

I would caution against going overboard with promotions. Many times have spent 1 hour signing up to some random website, in order to earn 250 air miles. This probably wasn’t a good use of my time, and would not be a good use of your time! I believe in thinking big, and I explain some high value strategies below – so read on!

Intermediate: Credit card bonus categories


All spending is not equal – and the god of credit cards (AMEX, Chase, Citibank etc.) has decided that some types of spending should be more lucrative than others. There is a good chance that your credit cards earn bonus points for certain types of spending. The most common types of bonus spends are given below.



Co-Branded Credit Cards

A Hilton credit card will earn bonus points on spending at Hilton Hotels. An IHG Credit Card will earn bonus points on Spending at IHG Hotels. A Delta Credit Card will earn bonus miles on Delta flights. This type of bonus is pretty obvious, and does not require any further explanation. Just do a Google search to find out if your card has bonus spending categories.



Spending via travel portals

Many credit cards with flexible rewards currencies (AMEX, Citi, Chase etc.) have their own portals for booking flights and hotels. If you use these portals to book travel, you will earn bonus points for your booking. In some cases these bonuses can be very attractive.

  • In the US: AMEX Platinum card earns 5x points on airfare booked directly with the airline or when booked through Amex Travel.
  • In the UK: AMEX Gold charge card earns 3x points for travel bookings made on the AMEX Travel UK website
  • The most lucrative bonus spend category in the world surely comes from the HDFC Infinia credit card in India. You earn 10x rewards points for flight and hotel bookings made through their travel portal - equivalent to 25 Singapore Air Krisflyer miles per $1 spent!


To apply this stratgy is pretty simple. You will need to do a Google search and find out about the bonus spend categories on your credit card

Intermediate: Credit your air miles to partners

This is a high return strategy that very few people utilise – so well done for making it here! When you take a flight, you will earn the most miles by crediting the flight to a partner airline, and not the airline you flew with. It is possible to earn 5x the miles by crediting it to a partner – I show you exactly how to do this below.

Before 2015, this strategy wasn’t important, as airlines gave you 1 air mile for each mile flown in economy class. This changed when Delta decided to credit mileage based on how much you spent on the ticket, rather than the distance flown. Since then, other airlines have followed suit, including American, United and Lufthansa. The result of this? Unless you are buying expensive business class tickets, then you will be earning less air miles for the same flight.

This is where airline partners come in. Typically, the partner will not know how much you paid for your flight ticket, and will give you miles based on the distance flown. I can give you an example of a flight I took.

I paid £1,000 ($1,270) for a return fight from London to Singapore in Lufthansa Business Class. Lufthansa has a revenue based earning system, and I would have earned about 4,500 miles for this flight.

To choose a partner airline program to credit to, go to wheretocredit.com. I select Lufthansa, and the fare class of my booking (P). I then scroll down and see that Singapore Airlines earns 1 Krisflyer mile per mile flown. Full screenshots are above. By crediting to Singapore Airlines, my flight would earn around 14,000 miles. This is 3x the air miles I get from Lufthansa Miles & More! This is one of the very best methods, for how to earn airline miles without credit card.

Advanced: Set up a small business

Welcome to the big leagues of mileage earning – the real game changer! Setting up a business could supersize your mileage earning by 20x and more, and change your life for the better in many ways. This is the section of the article, that I was really looking forward to writing!

You may be thinking: “I would love to start a business but I don’t where to start” or “I don’t have anything to sell”. Whatever your thoughts - the simple fact is that starting up a business is far easier than you think! In fact, it has never been easier.

I recommend to start by reading my guide on how to start a travel blog in 4 weeks, and make money. I put a great deal of effort into that guide, and many readers will be surprised just how easy it is.

If you do start a travel blog, then potential to earn miles and save money is huge. It is not uncommon for the smallest of businesses to earn 1 million miles a year. Here the main ways that you will earn more miles and save money:


  1. You can pay your taxes on your credit cards. Taxation varies across countries, but typically taxes for small businesses will include Corporation tax, Income taxes for your employees and Sales taxes on goods that you sell
  2. You can earn air miles for business programs. Most Airlines have a separate program for small businesses, where you earn miles in addition to the miles that you earn normally. The best business programs include Lufthansa Partner Plus Benefit and Etihad Business Connect
  3. You can pay for business expenses via your credit card, and earn air miles. A small business with $50,000 of profits, may have $500,000 of revenues and $450,000 of costs. It will be possible to put many of those $450,000 of costs on a credit card
  4. Your flight and hotel costs will become business expenses that you can net against revenues, and reduce your corporation tax liabilities. Corporation tax is 19% in the UK, 21% in the US and higher in most other countries. This means that you will save 19% on your travel costs if you are in the UK
  5. Your credit card fees will also become a business expense, saving you 21% if you are based in the US


There are so many other benefits of having your own business, such as creative freedom and increased earnings potential - I am touching the tip of the iceberg here! In terms of earning points and miles, starting your own business is an absolute game changer. You will measure air miles in millions and not thousands!

Starting my own business changed my life, and I hope it can change yours too!

Conclusion


I wrote this article to cover air miles and hotel points techniques not covered by other travel bloggers – i.e. beyond credit card churning, and parroting the same promotions. If you can apply the above techniques, then you will take you miles game to a whole new level! 

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