By Isis Briones
October 14, 2018
Online shopping
Credit: iStockphoto/Getty Images

Earning airline miles isn’t as difficult as it seems. Whether it’s getting points for dining at certain restaurants or booking a ride to the airport, there are many different ways to rack up mileage.

Instead of getting overwhelmed by these overlooked perks, just take a quick scan through this list to see the simple ways you could get closer to that next free flight.

Open a credit card.

If you frequently fly a particular airline, consider opting for their partner travel card, but make sure to wait for the best introductory bonus. Depending on the company, first-time card holders can be awarded thousands of sign-up bonus miles. (Note: Never open or use a credit line that you won't be able to handle responsibly. Rewards will never make up for interest if you don't pay off the balance.)

Then bring everyone you know on-board.

Once your card is squared away and you’re happy with it, tell someone. Referrals are a seamless way to get more miles if you’re a fan of the service.

Shop online.

Even though online shoppers rave about cash back platforms such as E-Bates and Honey, those dedicated to their miles know airline portal shopping is where it’s at. For instance, having an account on American Airlines’ Advantage Shopping site can provide you with miles for every dollar spent at tons of popular stores. Why not get rewarded for things you were going to buy anyway?

Take a vacation.

Don’t just go to an airline for flights, work with an agent to book an entire vacation as it likely guarantees huge mile bonuses coming your way. Plus, it takes the stress of planning away and nothing beats that!

Have dinner out.

United MileagePlus’ Dining program is the perfect example. Eating at their list of restaurants can earn members miles with a simple card swipe along with 2,500 extra miles during the first 30 days.

Rent a car.

Not only will you land a good rate through an airline, you may end up with added rewards along the way. Always check for promotional deals and discounts when planning a trip.

Or use a ridesharing app.

If you live in a big city, this one’s for you. Delta gives out one mile per dollar spent (and two for any rides to the airport) on Lyft. This might not seem like a lot initially, but it adds up if it’s your main way of getting around town.

Pay your bills.

Make the most of that partner credit card and use it to pay your bills. The bigger and more frequent the transactions, the greater your mile reward. For things not payable by card, use Plastiq. Though the platform charges a 2.5% fee, the miles you end up with could be worth so much more.

Join a wine club.

Cheers to that and take your pick as many offer their own club. A solid option is Southwest’s Rapid Rewards with Laithwaite’s Wines where customers get a 2,000 mile bonus for their first club case.

Book a hotel.

On top of the airlines, there are several sites out there determined to get you as much mileage as possible for your accommodations including Agoda PointsMAX, PointsHound, and RocketMiles.

Take some surveys.

Have spare time? Take an online survey on eMiles or e-Rewards in exchange for miles.

Book a flight.

If all else fails, flights alone accrue mileage — which proves it’s never too late to start earning and if you’re lucky, the miles you earn won’t expire.