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The Ultimate Guide on How To Earn Miles and Points Without a Credit Card

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Did you know you can earn miles and points without a credit card? Yep, you can earn thousands of rewards points without signing up for a credit card.

A credit card signup bonus is the fastest way to earn travel rewards especially if you want to earn a Southwest Companion Pass and get free flights for up to two years, but it’s not the only way to earn frequent flyer miles and credit card points.

You can earn frequent flyer miles without flying. Here are 20 different ways to earn rewards points without a credit card.

beach hammock hanging from palm tree in front of overwater bungalows; earn miles and points without a credit card

Shopping Portals

laptop computer displaying mango pants; how to earn miles and points without a credit card with shopping portals

Shopping at home in your pajamas is an easy way to earn airline miles and hotel points. Most airlines have a shopping portal. Not only is shopping through a portal convenient, but it is also an easy way to extend the life of your airline miles and keep hotel points from expiring.

Online shopping portals offer the largest bonuses during certain times of the year such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Back to School shopping, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. It’s a good idea to check your favorite airline shopping portal if shopping during one of these events.

You can earn up to 36 miles per $1. Most stores offer a certain number of points per dollar spent. But some merchants offer a flat mile/point amount per purchase. You earn 6,200 miles at AT&T, 5,700 miles at Verizon, and 7,400 miles for a Motley Fool subscription.

Offers change frequently, so check the airline shopping portals often. Use the Last Minute Deals Extra points link to find stores offering the most points and miles.

Pro-tip: Many of the airline shopping portals have the same merchants but the bonuses may differ. For example, you only get 3,900 United miles, 4,500 Delta miles for a Motley Fool subscription, and 5,400 Southwest points compared to 7,400 American miles. So it’s a good idea to compare before placing your order.

When comparing many sites to find the highest bonus, you can save time and use CashBack Monitor. Enter the store name and you’ll see a list of the portals and how many points per dollar you’d earn.

Airline Shopping Portals

Hotel Shopping Portals

Dining Rewards Programs

four people eating on black wooden table; how to earn miles and points without a credit card with dining rewards

One of my favorite ways lots of airline miles is by participating in the dining rewards program. It’s an effortless way to earn miles.

The average household spends $3,526 a year dining out. With most airline dining programs, you earn up to 5 miles per $1 spent including taxes and tips. This means you’d get 17,630 airline miles a year!

I eat at participating restaurants when I go out to dinner, even while traveling because every mile and point counts. It means another free trip to Hawaii, First Class Flight on Lufthansa, or vacation in Australia.

Sign up with the airline dining rewards program of your choice and register your debit or credit card.

Pro-tip: You can join all the dining rewards programs but you can only register the same credit card with one program. All the dining programs are operated by Rewards Network (formerly iDine; also known as Neighborhood Nosh if you want to earn cash back instead of miles) so the system will recognize the duplicate card and you won’t earn miles in both programs.

Miles post to your frequent flyer account within a few business days.

Pro-tip: You can earn more miles and points by stacking offers. Register and pay with cards that offer bonus points at restaurants like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or American Express Gold. If you prefer 4% cashback on dining, use the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards.

For more ways to travel hack airline dining programs and maximize the number of miles and points you earn, read everything you need to know how to earn miles with airline dining programs.

Airline and Hotel Promotions

You don’t need a credit card to earn miles and points with airline and hotel promotions.

From earning bonus points for flights and hotel stays to earning points for dining out at hotels, you can rack up thousands of extra miles and points.

United Airlines is offering targeted bonuses of up to 5,000 miles to select MileagePlus members.

Current hotel promotions include triple points at IHG hotels, double points on Hilton stays, triple points on dining at Hyatt hotels when you aren’t a guest, 500 points per night when you stay at select new Hyatt hotels, double elite qualifying nights at Andaz, and 2,000 points per night for stays at Courtyard by Marriott.

Sign up to receive emails from the airlines and hotels so you don’t miss out on any promotions.

Pro-tip: Most promotions have registration requirements. It’s a good idea to register for every promo whether you have planned travel because your plans could change.

Car Rentals

orange van with surfboard on top; earn miles and points without a credit card with car rentals

Car rentals are an easy way to earn travel rewards. Many of the car rentals agencies have partnership agreements with airlines and hotels. One rental, even a $5 a day car rental, can earn thousands of miles or hotel points.

Most rentals require a minimum rental period of two days. But sometimes you get lucky and can find great deals.

Watch for special promotions. Avis had a promotion of 3,000 American Airlines for each rental with a minimum 1-day rental. I live close to an airport so I rented a different car a day for a month and earned 93,000 miles

Pro-tip: Some car rental companies add a small daily surcharge for earning miles and points. So compare rates with and without the airline or hotel discount code.

Hotel Reservations

You can earn airline miles and hotel points from your hotel reservations.

Most of the airline loyalty programs partner with hotels so you’ll earn miles for your stay. You’ll earn 2 miles for each dollar spent at Marriott, IHG, and Wyndham hotels and 500 miles at Hyatt hotels. Southwest gives you 600 points for stays at Best Western, Marriott, MGM Resorts (including Las Vegas 😉), World of Hyatt.

If you want to earn the most miles, don’t have elite hotel status, or care about earning hotel elite qualifying nights use PointsHound or Rocketmiles. You’ll earn up to 10,000 miles per night on hotel reservations.

Pro-tip: If you choose to earn airlines miles for your hotel stay, you can’t double dip and also earn hotel points and stay credit. There’s one program where you can tripledip.

The tripledip ended a few years ago but with the recent change in travel, it’s back! The tripledip been back for at least a year. You’ll earn Hyatt points, Southwest points, and Mlife points. Hello, World of Hyatt Globalist status. Hello, Southwest Companion Pass.

Lyft

An easy way to earn extra miles and points is to ride with Lyft.

You earn 2 Delta Airlines miles per $1 on all airport rides and 1 Delta mile per $1 on all other rides. Tips, tolls, and taxes aren’t included.

If you prefer hotel points, you can earn 3 Hilton points per $1 spent on Lyft economy, luxury, and extra-seat rides. Sharing a ride? You’ll earn 2 points per $1.

You have to choose between Delta miles or Hilton points. You can’t earn Delta miles and Hilton points for the same ride anymore. Hilton shut down that double dipping opportunity.

Pro-tip: You can only earn Hilton points on a total of $10,000 in Lyft rides each year.

You can earn 10 points per $1 when using Lyft and paying with your Chase Sapphire Reserve and 5 points per $1 with the Chase Sapphire Preferred through March 2022.

Vacation

You can earn bonus airline miles and points when you book a vacation. The amount of miles you earn varies depending on the airline.

Cruise

white ship on sea during sunset; earn miles and points without a credit card with cruises

Ready to set sail? When you book a cruise you’ll earn points and miles.

You’ll earn Alaska Airlines miles for booking a cruise through AKOnly. The exact number of miles varies depending on the cabin type and cruise line.

When you book a cruise through AA cruises, you’ll earn 1 American Airlines mile per $1 up to 10,000 miles. If you have an American Airlines card, you’ll earn an additional mile per $1, up to 20,000 miles.

You can earn 1,500 Delta Airlines miles on all cabins and up to 30,000 miles for balcony or suite cabins on your cruise. United offers up to 7 United miles for each $1 spent on your cruise, up to 45,000 United miles.

Earn bonus hotel points when you book a cruise. You earn 2,000 Hilton points per cruise and 3 Marriott points per $1 up to 30,000 Marriott points.

Wine Club Membership

Wine not? With a wine club membership, you’ll easily earn miles every month. Vinesse Wines partners with several airlines and hotels.

If you choose Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, or Spirit Airlines, you’ll earn 2,000 miles for your first Vinesse Wines shipment, 3,000 miles for your second shipment, and 5 miles per $1 spent every month after.

You’ll earn 5,000 Delta miles after your first two shipments and 5 miles per $1 spent every month after.

Selecting United miles you earn 2,500 miles on our first shipment, 4,000 miles on your second, and 7 miles per $1 for each shipment after.

If you’d rather earn hotel points on your wine shipments, you’ll earn 1,000 Choice points for your first shipment and 7 points per $1 for each shipment after. Or you can earn 3,000 IHG points on your first shipment and 10 points per $1 thereafter.

You earn 12,500 Radisson Rewards points with your first wine shipment, 7,500 points on your second shipment, and 5 points per $1 each month after.

Best Western points can be hard to earn unless you stay at Best Western hotels or have the credit card. But with a Vinesse Wines wine club membership you earn 5,000 points on your first shipment and 20 points per $1 every month thereafter.

Amtrak points are also hard to earn without train travel or the credit card. You’ll earn 1,000 points for your first Vinesse Wines shipment and 3 points per $1 each month on all shipments.

Take Surveys

If you have free time you can take surveys and earn hotel points and frequent flyer miles.

The amount of miles you’ll earn varies depending on the survey. Some surveys are short but others are long. So you could spend a lot of time answering questions without earning a lot of points and miles.

Save time by multitasking: watch TV while you complete a survey.

Pro-tip: Earn even more miles and points by registering with several survey programs. Just remember to use a different email address for each program.

Utilities

It’s easy to earn miles and points paying your electric and gas bills. But you can also earn miles and points by switching your utilities.

NRG

You can earn 12,500 American miles after two months when you switch your electricity to NRG. Add natural gas and get 2,500 miles. Every month you earn 2 miles for every $1 spent.

Reliant

New Reliant users earn 15,000 Southwest points or United miles and 500 points or miles each month for 24 months.

XOOM Energy

You’ll earn 10,000 American AAdvantage miles after 2 months as a XOOM Energy electric customer and 5,000 AAdvantage miles after 2 months as a XOOM Energy residential gas customer. You earn 2 miles per $1 when paying your electric and gas bill.

Other Electric and Gas Companies

You’ll earn 2 Delta miles for every $1 spent on Georgia Natural Gas, Grand Rapids Energy, Illinois Energy, Illinois Energy Solutions, and Ohio Natural Gas.

Student Loans

If you’re stuck making student loan payments, you can refinance your student loans through SoFi and earn 1 Alaska Airlines mile for every $2 up to 50,000 miles. So your $100,000 in student loans can get you a free roundtrip Business Class ticket on Cathay Pacific or two roundtrip tickets to Europe.

Personal Loans

neon money to loan sign at night on a building; earn miles and points without a credit card with personal loans

If you have debt you can’t shake and aren’t able to get a balance transfer card with 0% intro APR, one option is to take out a personal loan. Thankfully, you can earn miles on your personal loans.

You’ll earn 1 American mile for every $1 you borrow from LendingClub, up to 40,000 miles.

SoFi offers 1 Alaska Airline mile for every $2 in personal loans, up to 50,000 miles.

Checking and Savings Accounts

You can earn miles and points from checking and savings accounts. Only a few airlines participate so it’s not as scalable or available to everyone. But for those who are eligible, these checking and savings accounts could be worth considering.

Bask Bank

As a Bask Bank savings account holder you earn 1 American Airlines miles for each dollar saved based on your average monthly balance.

You can earn 1,000 bonus miles if you open an account before December 31, 2021, deposit $5,000 within the first 30 days, and keep at least a $5,000 daily balance for 90 out of the first 120 days.

If you keep $25,000 miles on your savings account and never withdraw any money, you’ll earn 25,000 American miles for the year.

Pro-tip: If you take money out of your account, it reduces the number of miles you earn each month.

Miles post to your American Airlines AAdvantage account on the 5th of the following month.

Bask Bank will issue you a 1099-INT for the value of earned miles.

Truist (formerly SunTrust Bank)

If you have an account with Truist, you can get a Delta Airlines mileage earning debit card. Truist Dimension Checking account holders (formerly SunTrust Advantage Checking account holders) can get a Delta SkyMiles World Debit Card. Business owners with a Truist Dynamic Business Checking account can get a Delta SkyMiles Business Debit card.

You earn a 5,000 mile signup bonus after your first purchase within 90 days. These cards earn 1 mile for every $2 spent and an extra mile on Delta purchases.

There is a limit on how many miles you can earn each month. The Delta SkyMiles World Debit Card has a cap of 4,000 miles per month and you’re limited to 2,000 miles per month on the Delta SkyMiles Business Debit card.

Truist may send you a 1099-INT if the value of miles earned exceeds $600.

The Delta SkyMiles World Debit Card has an annual fee of $95. The annual fee on the Delta SkyMiles Business Debit card is $120.

Pro-tip: It may make more sense to get a Delta SkyMiles credit card. You’ll earn a larger welcome bonus and earn more miles per dollar spent, including bonus categories.

Bank of Hawaii

Bank of Hawaii offers a Bankoh Hawaiian Airlines Visa Debit Card for checking account members. They used to offer a business version but it’s discontinued.

You earn 1 mile for every $2 spent with an earning limit of 1,000 miles per month. Instead of an annual fee, you pay $3 a month.

Citibank

You can earn thousands of American Airlines miles or Citi ThankYou points opening a checking or savings account with Citibank.

Citibank used to offer these bonuses often but lately, they’ve been doing cash offers. If/when they resume, they will issue you a 1099-INT for the value of the miles you earn.

Mortgage or Refinance

white and red wooden house miniature on brown table; earn miles and points without a credit card with  mortgage or refinance

Taking out a mortgage or going through a refinance won’t be as painful when you earn miles.

You can earn American AAdvantage miles with American Home Miles when you buy, sell or refinance your home. You’ll earn 5,000 miles for every $25,000 of home value bought or sold. For refinances, you’ll earn 1,250 miles for every $10,000 refinanced.

If you use all three services (buy, sell, and refinance), you’ll earn a bonus of 25,000 American Airlines miles.

There’s no limit to how many miles you can earn but the house has to have a minimum value of $75,000.

You’ll earn 25,000 United MileagePlus miles when you get a mortgage or refinance with Rocket Mortgage (formerly Quicken Loans).

Pro-tip: As with some of the car rental companies, you may pay a higher rate to earn miles on your mortgage or refinance.

Business Frequent Flyer Programs

Some of the airlines have a separate business frequent flyer program that lets you earn extra points on top of the miles you earn for your flights.

With the American Airlines Business Extra, you earn 1 point for every $5 spent on flights with American Airlines, American Eagle, British Airways, Iberia, and Japan Airlines. You’ll also earn points on select Finnair and Qantas Airways flights.

Under the Delta SkyBonus program, you earn up to 30 points per $1 on Delta Air Lines, AeroMexico, Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and select SkyTeam partner flights.

United PerksPlus lets you earn up to 6 points per $1 on flights with United, United Express, All Nippon Airways (ANA), Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, and Swiss International Air Lines.

Charitable Donations

person showing both hands with make a change note and coins; earn miles and points without a credit card with charitable donations

Do good and earn airlines miles for charitable donations. You get 10 American AAdvantage miles for every dollar over $25 that you donate to Stand Up to Cancer. There is no limit to how many miles you can earn for your donation.

Pro-tip: Stand Up to Cancer values each American mile at 3 cents. Factor this in when calculating your tax deduction.

You’ll earn up to 15 miles per dollar for donations of $100 or more to the National Foundation For Cancer Research.

  • Alaska Airlines (earn up to 1,000,000 miles per account per year)
  • American Airlines (earn up to 1,000,000 miles per account per rolling year)
  • Delta Air Lines (earn up to 500,000 miles per account per year)
  • United Airlines (earn up to 250,000 miles per account per rolling year)

Pro-tip: You can quadruple dip and make donations from all four participating airlines. They accept PayPal. This is a great way to use gift cards purchased during no-fee sales.

Refer Friends

You’ll earn hotel and credit card points when you refer friends.

You’ll earn up to 50,000 Marriott points when you invite friends to join the Marriott Bonvoy program. You get 2,000 points for the first five stays for up to five friends. And your friends earn 2,000 points after their first five stays.

Almost every credit card offers bonus points when you refer friends. You can earn up to 100,000 points a year when you share your personal link with family and friends.

The only limitation, you need a credit card to refer friends to earn the bonus points.

Pro-tip: The banks will issue you a 1099 for the value of your points.

Technically, this doesn’t fall into the earn points without a credit card category but because you can also earn hotel points by referring friends, I’m including it.

Plan a Meeting or Event

people sitting on chairs while writing on notebooks; earn miles and points without a credit card with plan a meeting or event

You’ll earn thousands of points when you plan a meeting or event.

Hilton offers 1 point per $1 up to 100,000 Hilton points for meetings and events. Hosting an event or meeting at World of Hyatt hotels earns up to 50,000 points.

You’ll earn 2 Marriott points per $1 to 60,000 points per event on room, food, beverage, and audio/visual charges. Titanium members earn up to 105,000 points per event and up to 20 elite night credits per event. As a Titanium member, you can choose to earn 20,000 airline miles instead of points.

United MileagePlus X App

With the United MileagePlus X app (United MXP) you can earn United miles at participating merchants.

Use the app while making in-store purchases and earn up to 5 miles per $1. Through the app, you buy a gift card for the amount of your purchase (using a linked credit card) and show the code to the cashier.

For any returned items you’re issued a store gift card.

Pro-tip: You don’t earn any category bonuses when paying with an American Express card. But if do with any Chase card that has a bonus category like the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You earn 25% more miles paying with your United Quest, United Explorer, UnitedClub Infinite Card, United Gateway Card, or United Business Card.

Conclusion

You can travel for free and earn miles and points without a credit card. Credit card signup bonuses are the fastest way to earn travel rewards. But it isn’t the only way.

There are 20 simple ways to earn thousands of airline miles and hotel points without signing up for new credit cards. Several are things that you’re already doing and most don’t require you to spend extra money. Simple things like filling out surveys, referring friends. using an online shopping portal, going out to eat, or switching your utility provider.

What are your favorite ways to earn miles and points?

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Capital One Venture X Rewards

The Capital One Venture X has one of the largest welcome offers among travel rewards cards. The welcome offer is 100,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first six months.
 
My favorite perks about this card are $300 yearly travel credit , $200 credit on vacation rentals , 10X miles per dollar on hotels & rental cars and 5X miles when you book through Capital One , and 10,000 miles every year you renew your card .
 


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 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 3% cash back = an extra 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 in purchases your first year.
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 6.5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal , 4.5% cash back at drugstores and restaurants, unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and no annual fee. When paired with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can use your points to travel for free.
 
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Ami Bhat

Wednesday 12th of January 2022

Somehow, I never really considered these other players for dine outs or other rewards. Your post is quite insightful and has made me relook at some of those memberships I have- such as Singapore airlines. Now I do feel I missed out on a few things :( Thanks for the tips

Pamela Mukherjee

Wednesday 12th of January 2022

Wow loved this guide. So much information about credit points. I am really glad to know about all hacks about credit card points. Thanks for sharing the post.

Jennifer L Prince

Monday 10th of January 2022

Oh my goodness! I had no idea that you could earn miles in other ways besides having a credit card. I use Lyft all the time and didn't realize that Delta was so generous with airport rides. Thank you for this info - I truly didn't know!

Trisha Velarmino

Monday 10th of January 2022

This is a nice compilation of tips since some are focused on getting a credit card that gives rewards. Some think they need to spend a lot to travel each year. With some simple strategies such as your tips, one can save up and not not be held back by the need for a credit card.

Jan

Saturday 8th of January 2022

Enjoying reading your informative blog post! It's interesting that there are so many ways of earning miles and points without a credit card. I am going to start working on this now. Thank you! :-)

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