5 Amazing Frequent Flyer Hacks You Should Definitely Be Using

Most miles are earned on the ground, not through flying.
CREDIT: Getty Images

What are the best frequent flyer hacks? originally appeared on Quorathe knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Chris Guillebeau, world traveler and author of Born for This, on Quora:

 I could say so much about this! Be sure and take a look at my Travel Hacking Resources page if you haven’t seen it before. I’m also part of a service called the Travel Hacking Cartel that can help you on a regular basis.

But as for a few of the best things you can do:

  1. Understand that most miles are earned on the ground, not through flying. You should focus your mileage-earning efforts accordingly. You don’t have to fly a ton to build huge mileage balances.
  2. You can earn miles and points for things you already do, with little or no additional effort. One example: sign up for free dining rewards programs where you’ll get “paid” just for eating at some of your regular restaurants and cafes. My friends and I took this to an extreme and created the “Dining Dash,” where every year we attempt to visit 12 restaurants in a single day. If you read that story, you’ll learn how it works and how you can benefit (even if you don’t want to visit 12 restaurants in a day…).
  3. Managed carefully, credit cards can help a lot, even if you don’t spend a lot. I write a lot about this on the blog. If you can only get one card, get the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You’ll earn a very large signup bonus and double points for all dining and travel expenses forever. These points are especially valuable because they can be transferred to multiple airlines and hotels–so basically you keep them in one account until you’re ready to use them, which greatly reduces the risk of devaluation. I use this card every day.
  4. If you want to go above-and-beyond, you can apply for more cards and earn additional bonuses. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this does not wreck your credit. Years ago I did a public experiment where I applied for more than a dozen cards on a single day. I was accepted for each card, and one year later my credit was higher than before I started. Of course, I made sure to never carry a balance. (Here’s a list of a few recently-available offers. The Hilton one is now gone, but the others remain.)
  5. Last year a colleague and I taught a course on how to Make Your Dream Trip a Reality. Our students have gone on to earn tens of millions of miles, often through very creative methods. Here’s a story of someone who earned 21,000 points merely through answering surveys.

There’s a lot more I could say, but that’s a start!

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