As you know by now, the majority of miles earned are not through flying.
What you may not know is that you can earn miles at nocost.
Most ways to earn miles do have some sort of cost associated with them, whether it be the cost of the flight you choose or the opportunity cost of one ticket over another. A flight is not something you normally would be doing in your everyday spending. It is a special occurrence.
The one thing I've talked about most is maximizing your everyday spending, and not spending outside of your normal budget since that's how you run into debt.
But, there is a way to earn miles at absolutely no extra cost to you on top of the miles you already are earning from spending money on your card. So what are they?
Shopping Portals are the best, cheapest, easiest tool to earn miles. Why? Because it's a bonus on top of what you're already buying online and earning from your credit cards!
How do they work?
Every airline and hotel chain have an online shopping portal. For instance, American Airlines has their AAdvantageShopping.com portal, Alaska Airlines has the MileagePlanShopping portal, etc...
All you do is create an account, link it to your frequent flyer or loyalty number, and then when you need to make an online shopping purchase just log in to your shopping portal first and then search your store. When you find your store, all you need to do is click the link that takes you directly to the store's website.
Say you need a pair of shoes, but don't necessarily care about the store. This is where the shopping portal can become a huge help as you can compare the earning rates between two stores to help push you in one direction or another. Finish Line may only offer 2 miles/points per dollar but Nike might be offering 6 miles/points per dollar. That helps you determine where to purchase. Think of it like a rebate!
I've earned almost 5,000 bonus miles through shopping portals, all on purchases I was already going to make.
Remember, our entire goal here is to extract every single point and mile available to us on our spending, and shopping portals are arguably the best way from an all-around value proposition.