Reader Question – Airline Miles
One of our readers, Antonio, asked us this question, “What’s the fastest way to get a lot of air miles?” This is a great question, as airline miles are a great way to fly for cheap. Let’s look at 3 ways to get air miles.
The primary way everyone knows how to get airline miles, is by flying. It used to be quite straightforward as to how many miles you would get; you fly 2,000 miles, you get 2,000 miles in your account. Now it is more complicated. Your airline status and the type of fare (First, Business, Economy), are the biggest factors in how many miles you get for a flight. So, if you have top elite status and fly first class, you’ll earn more miles on your 2,000 mile trip than a person with no status in the back of the plane. So our first point is: have elite status, fly in the front of the plane, and fly often.
Earning points can also be done by using an Airline branded credit card. Most of the time, signing up for an airline credit card comes with a huge bonus after spending a certain amount or making your first purchase. As always, with credit cards, spend wisely and never ever carry a balance; interest charges will take away from the value of any miles you earn.
Another, though often not recommended way to get points, is to buy them outright. Airlines will many times have sales on points. The best way to see if this option is for you, is to price out a potential flight in cash versus how much it would cost to purchase the miles for an award redemption. If there is a savings, this is for you. Another time this may work is when you are just short of the miles needed for a redemption. Again, calculate to see if it is worth it, as the price of miles can be expensive.
While you can transfer points to another person, this is usually not recommended, as there is a steep cost to performing this transaction. It typically only makes sense when you are just shy of the miles for an award ticket. However, the transferring we recommend is when it comes to Bank Points. Banks like Citi, American Express and Chase have Points programs where you earn points from the signup bonus as well as from your everyday spend. These points can then be transferred to your airline frequent flier account you setup. Again, do research, and never transfer without having a specific redemption planned.
So, What’s the Fastest Way?
Back to Antonio’s original question: what’s the fastest way to get airline miles? We assume that this question implies with little expense, after all, you could book an expensive around-the-world first class trip and earn a TON of miles fast. Most people don’t have the luxury of booking first class cash tickets frequently. Also, most are not going to buy a ton of miles as that would also be expensive. So, to stock up on airline miles, we recommend signing up for airline credit cards, especially when there is a good bonus. Before our 90 Day Trip to Asia, we had earned well over 300,000 American miles between the two of us on credit card sign-up bonuses; so it can be done!
Despite what you may have been taught or heard, signing up for credit cards is not bad. In fact, when you are approved, your score many times increases because your available credit is higher and your utilization is lower. It is generally the cheapest and fastest way to accumulate airline miles without even flying and thus is our answer to your question.
Please feel free to leave your reader question down below in the comments section and it could be featured in a future article.