Frequent-flyer miles, usually awarded for spending money with a certain airline or as a welcome bonus with a co-branded credit card, can help you fly for a significant discount or even for free.
These miles, which fall under an airline’s frequent-flyer program, can do more for you than you may think. Depending on the number of miles you have or your status within a frequent-flyer program, you could earn preferred boarding on flights, lounge access, complimentary upgrades and more.
Here are the most common ways — along with a few lesser-known options — to earn frequent flyer miles.
With a co-branded airline or travel rewards credit card, you can earn points or miles for your everyday spending or higher-rates of earning on certain category spending. General travel rewards cards require that you transfer your points or miles to airline partners for them to become frequent flyer miles. Some cards offer favorable transfer rates and others, less favorable.
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, for example, offers an unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase. Through January 2020, you can also earn 10X miles on hotels purchased through hotels.com/venture.
That means that with the Venture card, you could earn airline miles on every single purchase you make. If you spend $750 a month on the card within the 2X category, for example, you’ll earn 18,000 miles by the end of your first year.
According to The Points Guy, for September 2019, Capital One Rewards are worth $0.014 per mile when transferred to airline partners. That means your 18,000 miles could be worth around $72 more when redeemed for a plane ticket through one of the airline partners.
A common way in which issuers will reward you for signing up for their cards are welcome bonuses. These bonuses can be in the form of a statement credit, cash back, points, miles and more.
In the case of many airline and travel rewards credit cards, a welcome bonus will offer you a cache bonus miles either with the airline or that you can transfer to an airline partner.
For example, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express offers a welcome bonus of 30,000 miles when you spend $1,000 within the first three months of card membership.