8 crazy ways to earn miles and points

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    Personal finance writer
    Specializes in writing on travel, family and food

    Did you know you can earn miles and points in these crazy ways?

    Believe it or not, you can rack up miles and points hiring a dogsitter, seeing “Hamilton” on Broadway or paying your electric bill. 

    If you’ve been collecting miles and points for very long, you’ve learned the basics and understand that you can earn points for free travel in lots of other ways besides flying in a plane or staying in a hotel room.

    You know you can earn points by beginning your shopping at an airline’s shopping portal, by renting cars through an airline or even by taking advantage of their dining programs to earn miles and points when you eat at a restaurant.

    But … we’re betting you’re not as familiar with these out-of-the-ordinary ways to earn points that can boost your balance in a hurry! Even your dog can get in on the fun with these.

    1. Book an Airbnb

    Through a partnership with Airbnb, Delta SkyMiles members can earn 1 mile per $1 spent with Airbnb to book a vacation rental. Simply enter your SkyMiles number at DeltaAirbnb.com to start collecting miles and ensure the name on your Airbnb account matches the name on your SkyMiles account.

    2. Schedule dog-sitting or walking with Rover

    Traveling and need a pet-sitter to stay with your dog, or just someone to walk Fido during the day? Book through the TripAdvisor of dog-sitting, Rover, and score 2,000 American Airlines miles the first time you use the service and 1 mile for every $1 afterward. We used the service for our beagle in the past, and our sitter was fantastic.

    See related: 6 popular spring break destinations and how to save on travel using cards

    3. Get approved for a Chase mortgage

    Holders of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve are often targeted with offers to earn lots of points when they are approved for a mortgage through Chase. I recently received an offer to earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points if I was approved for a Chase mortgage.

    Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to a variety of airlines and hotels at a 1:1 ratio, including my favorite, Southwest Airlines, as well as British Airways, IHG Rewards Club and Marriott Rewards.

    4. Pay your utility bill 

    Several airlines have partnered with select utility companies in different states to allow you to earn bonus miles or points when switching to their company, and often, you can keep earning based on what you pay each month.

    For example, Delta lets SkyMiles members earn 5,000 miles when switching to Energy Plus to power your home after your second month as a customer and then another 2 miles per $1 spent on your monthly bill. Southwest Airlines similarly grants members of its Rapid Rewards program 5,000 points when switching to Energy Plus and 2 points for every $1 spent on the monthly bill.

    See related: Use airline and hotel shopping portals to boost rewards

    5. Open a bank account

    American Airlines allows loyalty program members to load up on miles when they open bank accounts with Bank Direct. Currently, you can earn 1,000 miles by opening a checking account, 10,000 miles for direct deposits totaling at least $2,000 for six consecutive statements, as well as additional miles for using online banking, referring friends and for the total balance you carry.

    Another bank, UFB, lets you earn 1 American mile for every $3 spent on your debit card up to 120,000 miles yearly, though they exclude grocery, superstore and discount store purchases.  

    If you bank with SunTrust, you can earn 5,000 Delta SkyMiles after your first qualifying purchase with their debit card and then another mile for every $2 spent using the card up to 4,000 miles each month. But this one comes with a $95 annual fee. 

    6. Buy Broadway tickets

    Through the Audience Rewards program, American also lets members earn up to 2,200 miles per ticket purchased for participating Broadway shows. So that might make you feel a little bit better about the outrageous price you might have to pay to see “Hamilton”…

    7. Ride Amtrak

    If you fly United in economy or basic economy and make a connection at Newark Liberty International Airport to or from one of several select Amtrak destinations, you can earn 250 miles per Amtrak trip. You can earn even more if you fly in business or first class.

    See related: 8 creative ways to build credit card rewards points quickly

    8. Order currency online

    United Airlines allows loyalty members accumulate miles for using the service Travelex to convert currency. You’ll earn 1 mile per $1 exchanged for an exchange $500 or more and 1 mile for every $2 exchanged for an exchange of less than $500. The maximum you can earn is 3,000 miles.

    Of course, if you really want to stack up some serious miles using these creative ways to score more free travel, you should strategically pick the right travel credit card to pay for the service. 

    You can use an airline card to earn even more airline miles, a flexible card like Chase Sapphire Preferred to earn miles you can transfer to a variety of programs, or even the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to earn a flat 2X points that can be redeemed for nearly any travel expense.

    Got other crazy ways to earn miles and points? Let us know!



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