The traditional way to earn airline miles is to buy a ticket and fly somewhere. You can earn miles this way, but it is time-consuming and expensive. Most people don’t have an unlimited budget or travel regularly for work, so we need to find alternatives to fund our travels. Here are my favorite ways to earn American Airlines miles without flying.
How to earn American Airlines AAdvantage® miles without flying
I love to fly, but I hate paying for plane tickets. As much as I can, I use airline miles and hotel points to pay for my travel. I’m partnering with Bask Bank to share these strategies with you.
I like that many of these earn additional miles without spending any more than you already are. Spending money just to earn miles may get you free flights, but it can also lead to unwanted debt. This debt affects your credit score and ability to save for your future. My recommendation is to only spend what you know that you can pay off without incurring any fees or interest on your credit cards.
American Airlines co-branded credit cards
Travelers have two banks to choose from when applying for an American Airlines AAdvantage® credit card: Barclays and Citibank. Both banks offer travel credit cards for personal and business use. Benefits vary based on which card you apply for and the annual fees range from $0 to $450 per year. Click here to see the latest credit card offers to find out which one is best for your situation.
All of these cards earn extra miles when you buy American Airlines credit cards. Some also earn additional miles for making other purchases, like dining, groceries, and gas. The premium credit card also includes complimentary entrance to Admirals Club airport lounges for the primary cardholder and all authorized users.
Is the Citi AAdvantage® Executive Credit Card really worth $450? It all depends on how you use it. Click here to watch my video where I discuss the card.
Whether you’re using an American Airlines AAdvantage® credit card or something else, you should register your card to earn extra miles on dining. The Rewards Network is a free membership where you can earn additional miles when you dine at participating restaurants. There are seven airlines available, and American Airlines is one of them.
Right now, you’ll earn 1,000 bonus miles when you enroll and spend at least $25 within 30 days on a registered card at a participating restaurant. You can also register debit cards, but most debit cards do not earn rewards or cash back.
While you’re at it, register your credit cards with Dosh too. This way you can triple dip to earn rewards from your credit card, Dining Rewards, and Dosh. With the right card, you could earn 20% or more rewards on your meals.
Bask Savings Account
The Bask Savings Account is the only savings account that earns miles instead of interest. It is offered by a new, online-only bank that is a division of Texas Capital Bank, N.A. Bask Bank only offers savings accounts, so you can keep your existing checking and credit card accounts.
You can earn up to 146,000 miles in the first year, based on current promotions and your average daily account balance.
Accounts have no minimum balance requirement, and there are no monthly service charges. You’ll earn one mile for every dollar saved annually, based on your average daily balance. Miles earned are credited to your AAdvantage® account each month. After receiving my February miles, I’ve already earned 7,818 miles since December 2019.
There are currently three bonus offers available to earn additional miles. A feedback bonus, a new account bonus, and a balance bonus.
- Feedback Bonus: Earn 1,000 bonus miles when you complete a feedback survey within 60 days of opening your account. This offer is valid for accounts opened through April 30, 2020. Feedback must be provided by June 30, 2020.
- Account Opening Bonus: Earn 5,000 bonus miles when you open an account, deposit and keep $5,000 in your account for 30 consecutive days within the first 60 days of account opening. Offer valid through April 30, 2020.
- Account Balance Bonus: Earn up to 40,000 bonus miles when maintaining a minimum balance for 12 consecutive months. Miles awarded are distributed after the first consecutive six months, and the second half is awarded after 12 consecutive months.
The value of this offer will be reported to the IRS and the recipient is responsible for any federal, state, or local taxes on this offer.
American Airlines AAdvantage® shopping portal
Whenever you shop online, don’t go straight to the online retailer’s website. Instead, take an extra couple of seconds to go through a shopping portal. This way, you can earn additional miles, points, or cash back on your purchase. These rewards are in addition to whatever you’ll earn from your credit card.
The American Airlines AAdvantage® eShopping portal allows you to earn additional miles at over 950 online retailers. Many of your favorites are available, including Kohl’s, Home Depot, and Staples.
Pay attention around the holidays because American Airlines usually offers additional bonuses based on reaching certain spending hurdles.
Book hotel rooms
American Airlines has partnered with several hotels where you can earn miles for your stay. When you check-in to the hotel, let them know that you want to receive AAdvantage® miles. For example, you’ll earn 500 miles per stay at World of Hyatt hotels. Click here for the complete list of hotel partners. This may not make sense for people who have hotel elite status and value hotel points and elite status more than airline miles, but it is an option.
Booking your room through PointsHound can earn even more miles. Through this service, you can earn up to 10,000 airline miles per night from over 300,000 hotels around the world. The miles you earn will vary based on the price you pay and the number of nights you stay. Just remember that most hotels will not credit stays toward elite status or provide loyalty benefits when booking through a 3rd-party service.
Rental car partners
You can also earn additional American Airlines miles on your rental car reservations. American Airlines partners with most rental car agencies. When you provide your AAdvantage® number, you’ll earn miles on every reservation.
The miles earned vary by rental car company. Some offer a flat number of miles, while others offers miles based on the number of days you rent or amount you spend.
There are regular promotions where you can earn 2x, 3x, or even 4x the number of miles when renting select cars from participating rental car companies. These promo codes usually also provide a discount from the retail price of the car rental.
Transfer from hotel partners
Several hotels allow you to convert hotel points into airline miles. These redemptions are usually pretty low value for the hotel points. It is best to do so only when you don’t have enough points for a free night or if the points are going to expire.
One exception is the Flight and Hotel Packages from Marriott Bonvoy. With these packages, you’ll receive airline miles and a one-week Marriott stay. Packages start at 255,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
I redeemed one of these packages for our stay at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino in June 2019. It was an amazing hotel and the total vacation would have cost almost $7,000 for the four of us.
Fill out surveys
If you have extra time and want to earn miles, consider filling out surveys. American Airlines partners with e-Rewards and Miles for Opinions so you can earn miles for sharing your opinions. e-Rewards will give you 250 miles when you join the e-Rewards Opinion Panel.
Personally, I don’t use these services because you’re providing a lot of personal information for a relatively minor number of miles. Plus, some surveys can take a long time to complete. But, this is an easy way to earn miles without spending a single dime.
Sprint cell phone service
When you switch to Sprint and activate a new account, you’ll earn up to 25,000 American Airlines miles in your first year. Every following year, you’ll earn another 5,000 bonus miles.
If you already have Sprint as your cell phone carrier, you can earn up to 5,000 bonus miles every year without switching your cell phone provider.
Some people have said that these plans may cost more than normal Sprint service. Keep that in mind and do your research before signing up for a new plan. If the price is about the same, this is a great way to earn miles every year on your cell phone plan. Of course, you’ll want to have your phone bill automatically paid with your credit card to earn even more miles.
Buy concert and event tickets
When planning your next night out, you can earn 3+ miles per dollar on all of your ticket purchases through VividSeats.com. I looked at some Nashville Predators tickets for an upcoming game. The website showed that I could earn anywhere from 200 to 5,500 miles based on which tickets I bought. Every ticket option shows the number of miles that you can earn, so it takes away the guesswork.
I found tickets ranging from 3x to 6x miles per dollar spent. If you’re going to go to a game, concert, or event, you should earn some extra miles for the money you’re spending.
Pay your utilities
In certain areas of the country, you can earn extra American Airlines miles just by paying your utilities. These are bills we can’t avoid because they’re a normal part of owning a home or renting an apartment.
NRG Home offers electrical and gas service to homes in six states. You’ll earn 10,000 bonus miles after your second month as a customer. Then, you’ll also earn 2x miles for every dollar you spend on the supply portion of your monthly electric bill.
Reliant Energy provides electricity to homes in Texas. You can earn up to 27,000 bonus miles over the next two years with this promotion. You’ll receive 15,000 miles for signing up and another 500 miles per month for the next 24 months. Once you’re a customer, you can also earn $50 per customer that you refer to Reliant Energy.
Buy wine as a gift
For travelers that like to explore new wines, Vinesse Wines offers up to 5,000 miles for trying an American Cellars package. You can try six wines for $41.94 plus $0.01 for shipping, which means that your first shipment is less than $7 per bottle.
You’ll receive 2,000 miles with the first shipment, plus another 3,000 miles with your second shipment. The wine will be delivered directly to your door. If you don’t like any of the wines for any reason, call Vinesse within 45 days and they will replace it. And you can cancel your subscription at any time with no hassles.
Other options to earn miles without flying
There are several other options available to earn American Airlines AAdvantage® miles without flying. Here are a few of the other companies that will give you miles for using their services:
- Miles From Home Realty Services
- Emergency Assistance Plus
- Stand Up To Cancer charitable donations
The Bald Thoughts
There are so many ways to earn American Airlines miles without flying. I love to fly, but with family, work, and other responsibilities, I can’t fly all of the time. That’s why I love using these strategies to maximize the money I’m already spending to earn as many miles as possible without flying on a plane.
Each of these tips gets me that much closer to redeeming miles for a free flight. And by using miles instead of cash to pay for my travel, I can keep more of my money sitting in my Bask Savings Account to earn miles towards my next trip, or invested in mutual funds for the future.
What are your favorite ways to earn miles without flying?
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