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Extreme Mile And Point Collecting

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What do you consider extreme mile and point collecting?  Just how far will you go to collect frequent flyer miles and credit card points?

Overall I consider myself pretty conservative.  I like black and white and tend to avoid the gray area. That’s why each post about bonus miles and points offers, etc. always include the fine print.

I like the fine print. I find comfort in that.  Not so much the restrictions but knowing the rules and boundaries.

Because when you know where the lines are you know the limits. You know how far you can push. How far you can take things and still play by the rules.

Jeff, however, would disagree and consider me extreme. Especially when it comes to my schemes methods to earn points and miles.

While there are many over the top methods of extreme mile and point earning, I’ve only listed a few that are within the “rules” and won’t cost you anything.

Except for social ostracization and/or people knowing thinking you’re weird.

4 Extreme Mile and Point Earning Methods

These are a few easy ways to earn miles without flying, except for one. While straightforward, you’re going to push the boundaries to earn the most miles.

Use Your Credit Card

Use your credit card for all purchases. Pick a card, any card. Cash burns a hole in my pocket. Plus I don’t get any miles when I use cash. Instead, I use a credit card everywhere and for everything.

Sure that purchase may only be a $1 but $1 here, $1 there it adds up. Because it’s another point toward that dream trip to Australia, that vacation in Hawaii, or a weekend in Vegas.

It’s all about mindset. By getting in the right frame of mind, you can take your travel hacking to another level.

Which credit card I use depends on where I’m shopping. At the grocery store I use my Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express because I earn 6% cash back on the first $6,000 each year, then 1%.

Pro-tip: The best card to use is one that you have to meet the minimum spending on to earn your new card bonus. If you don’t have a new card then use one that has a category multiplier.

Earning miles and points with credit cards is effortless but there are lots of ways to earn points and miles without a travel rewards card.

Use the Dining Program

You can double and triple tip to earn more miles and points when you use the dining program.  When your partner, family member, or friend asks you to go to dinner at a non-participating restaurant just say “no.”

I won’t rarely eat at restaurants that do not participate in a miles and/or points program aka the Rewards Network program.

By dining at a participating restaurant you can earn up to 5 miles per dollar spent, including tax and tip.

So a $40 bill earns 200 additional miles. Simply for doing something that you were already planning to do.

The few times I do eat at restaurants not part of the Rewards Network, I use a credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card which earns 3 points per dollar on dining.

When you pay with a card that offers bonus points for dining like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, and the American Express® Gold Card, you get to double dip.

You’ll earn miles AND points.

Pro-tip: You can triple dip with Chase credit cards and American Express credit cards. They offer bonus points and discounts monthly at select merchants. They frequently offer bonuses for restaurants. You have to register for each offer.

Mileage Run

Earning miles from a mileage run, from point A to B and back again, while not as lucrative as it used to be is still an option to earn thousands of miles.

Getting on a plane and flying somewhere aka doing a mileage run.

Because, like the game show, the price is right.

But more importantly, lots of miles are being acquired for little cost. If you don’t count in your time…

Pro-tip: If you pay with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, you’ll earn points in addition to the miles from your flight.

Use Other People’s Money

You can earn unlimited points and miles when you use other people’s money. I don’t mean when your company reimburses you for your travel or if someone else is paying your way.

I’m referring to asking people for their cash.

When I’m with non-miles and points friends (Yeah, I have those. Crazy but true there are people who do not for whatever reason earn miles and points) I often have to restrain myself from asking strangers in line who are paying cash for their items if I can have their cash and I’ll pay for their purchases on my credit card.

Restrain myself to the point of physically closing my mouth, because I’ve already started to ask, “Do you mind if…” as soon as I see someone use cash for purchases.

I used to do this all the time, but find myself not asking as much lately. Maybe because I’m worried about where that cash has been.

Especially when they bring it out of their pockets, the bills all wrinkled and waded up in a ball.

Or when they pull it out of their bra…

It’s one thing when you’re shopping or dining with family and friends, you can easily say, “I’ll just put it on my credit card.” And they give your their cash. It’s quite another when it’s a random stranger.

At least that’s what Jeff says…

But hey, it’s all about earning points and miles without cost, right? And asking people for their cash is a fee-free way to earn lost of miles and points.

Is it weird to hang out near the registers at Wal-Mart, looking for people who are paying cash for their purchases? I don’t think so.

What about at Costco?  Is it more socially acceptable to ask people at Costco if you can have their cash?

Costco is one of my favorite places to use other people’s money. Because so many people pay in cash.


Do you play the game of extreme mile and point collecting? Where do you draw the line in your miles and points obsession/pursuit?

At what lengths will you go to earn miles and points?

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the best card to get started in the world of miles and points. It is the first card you should get to start traveling for free because the welcome offer is 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
My favorite perks about this card are earning 5X points on travel when booked through the Chase portal (2X if direct purchase), 3X points on dining, $50 yearly credit on hotels booked through the Chase portal, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of my favorite cards for earning cash back card and travel rewards. It offers a welcome offer of an additional 1.5% cash back on all your purchases up to $20,000 your first year.
My favorite perks about this card are earning 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal, 3% cash back at drugstores and restaurants (including delivery and takeout), 1.5% cash back on all other purchases and no annual fee. When paired with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card or Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, you can use your points to travel for free.

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Chanel @ LaViajeraMorena

Saturday 16th of March 2013

That is a great idea... start asking people for their cash. I am going to do it :)

Traveling Well For Less

Saturday 16th of March 2013

Hi Chanel,

Excellent. :) After awhile you'll get a good feel for who is willing to say "yes" and who will say "no".


Sunday 17th of February 2013

Very jealous of you since you live in SAN. Look what I found, If you have open travel dates in April or March SAN/LAX/SFO/JFK/SJU/JFK/SAN for $367 Or SAN/JFK/SJU/JFK/SAN for $303 on AA. I wish this was at the end of March so I can make it work :(

Traveling Well For Less

Sunday 17th of February 2013

I couldn't find any at that price that would work with my schedule.

Did you see the DFW-EZE in Business for $1k deals?

Do you have my email? If not, use the contact me link at the top of this page. I can't find the card you gave me with yours.


Thursday 14th of February 2013

That is a bummer. My Rio fare cost me $600 and my Sao Paulo flight cost me $400 crazy routing MCO/DFW/MIA/GRU/DFW. If you can use your Hyatt points for the Grand Hyatt in Sao Paulo it is only a category 2 and it get fantastic reviews on tripadvisor. My problem is Rio, the hotels are very expensive there and even the Sheraton's are over $300 a night or 12000 points a night. There are no Hyatts, Hiltons, IHGs or Club Carlson in Rio. Something to think of doing too is I am hiring a to do some sightseeing and to visit like a local since I don't speak Portuguese. Let me know if you find a good place in Rio. I have heard Ipanema is a better area to stay at then Copacabana but I'll do some more research.

Traveling Well For Less

Friday 15th of February 2013

I'll let you know what I find and come up with since I'll be in Rio before you. I had considered ditching Rio and heading to Iguazu Falls but the flight would cost me more than my MCOGRU ticket.


Thursday 14th of February 2013

I'm going to Sao Paulo March 8-12 and Rio I just booked last night May 31- June 2. My SWU cleared at booking on both flights. Also if you book from MCO the prices are incredible at under $400. I'm trying to make an SJU trip work too sometime this summer if AA opens ups the dates with better prices. The LAX and SFO prices to SJU are great right now. Even if I had to buy a separate ticket for the ticket out west I think it works out to be under 6cpm but then I can stay stateside and not worry about dealing with customs.

Traveling Well For Less

Thursday 14th of February 2013

Well that's a bummer. My Sao Paulo flights are later in March and April. And my Rio flight is earlier in May.

I'm impressed that you were able to grab the lower fares with only a few days stay. All mine include 4 days.

Where are you staying?

Traveling Well For Less

Wednesday 13th of February 2013

Hi Perryplatypus,

What are your travel dates? I have a couple tickets to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro myself that I put on hold and need to ticket.

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