Extreme Mile And Point Collecting

February 13, 2013 in BLOG, Miles and Points, Uncategorized - 10 Comments

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Extreme mile and point collecting, frequent flyer miles, travel
Image courtesy: National Park Service


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

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

While there are many over the top methods of extreme mile and point collecting, 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 Collecting Methods

1. 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.

Which credit card I use depends on where I’m shopping. At the grocery store since I earn 6x the points I use my Hilton HHonors American Express.

That $200 grocery bill translates into 1200 Hilton HHonors points.

2. 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 5x the miles, including tax and tip.

So a $40 bill would mean 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 which earns 2x the points on dining.

3. From Point A to B and back again

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…

4. Asking people for cash

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 it’s cold and flu season and I’m worried where that cash has been. Especially when they bring it out of their pockets, the bills all wrinkled and waded up in a ball.

It’s one thing when you’re with family and friends, you can easily say, “I’ll just put it on my credit card.”  It’s quite another when it’s a random stranger.  At least that’s what Jeff says…

Is it weird to hang out near the registers at Wal-Mart, looking for people who are paying cash for their purchases?

What about at Costco?  Is it more socially acceptable to ask people at Costco if you can have their 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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Traveling Well For Less has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for beginning travel hackers. 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 2X points on travel and dining, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.

Debra Schroeder

Debra is a former 12-year travel industry executive and has traveled the world using airline miles and credit card points since 1994. She'll teach you the secrets of traveling well for less.

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  • The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
  • perryplatypus February 13, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    I have never been to Brazil and now I find myself going to Sao Paulo next month and I just booked Rio de Janeiro today for the end of May. At least with these trips I’m staying a few days. Although I was tempted by a Rio itinerary that would only have me there for about 8 hours 🙂

  • Traveling Well For Less February 13, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    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.

  • perryplatypus February 14, 2013 at 7:44 am

    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 February 14, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      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?

  • perryplatypus February 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    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 http://www.rentalocalfriend.com 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 February 15, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      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.

  • perryplatypus February 17, 2013 at 10:27 am

    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 February 17, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      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.

  • Chanel @ LaViajeraMorena March 16, 2013 at 10:35 am

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

    • Traveling Well For Less March 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      Hi Chanel,

      Excellent. 🙂 After awhile you’ll get a good feel for who is willing to say “yes” and who will say “no”.

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