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I never pay for airfare unless it is a business expense (and then I earn miles from the purchase).  Here are some of the ways that I get those miles so I can fly FREE!

1 ► CREDIT CARD INCENTIVES – If you have good credit, there are some incredible deals out there to when you get a new credit card.  The bonus miles that they tease you with are enough to get at least one, but generally two, FREE airline tickets.

2 ► OFFER TO PAY – I don’t mean pick up the total.  Charge the full purchase amount on your miles earning credit card and then collect the portion owed to you.  Make sure you pay that amount IMMEDIATELY toward the outstanding balance.  You get the FREE miles!  This works well for dining, theater/event tickets, hotel/condo reservations and pretty much anything that you are sharing expenses with someone else.

3 ► SHOPPING – I believe that most, if not all, of the frequent flyer programs have shopping portals that earn you additional miles above and beyond the transaction on your miles earning credit card.  For example, if you are going to purchase a new television, go to the shopping portal, make the purchase through the retailer (e.g. Best Buy) to pick up in the store.  You will probably get 1 mile per dollar spent PLUS the additional 1 mile per dollar for making the purchase with your miles earning credit card.  A $300 television would net you 600 FREE Miles!

4 ► AUTO LEASE – Ask if you can pay lease payments or the down payment of a car with a miles earning credit card.  They want the sale so they just might let you.  I leased a car recently and although they would not let me charge my payments, I was able to charge the $2,000 initial payment.  That’s 2,000 miles or about a tenth of a FREE airline ticket.

5 ► HOTELS/CAR RENTAL – Be sure to ALWAYS link your airline account to any reservation you make for hotels and/or auto rentals when travelling.  Typically, you can ask to have the membership number added when you check in.

6 ► DINING OUT – Many of the frequent flyer programs have dining programs as well.  The programs earn you FREE miles when you dine at participating restaurants with registered credit cards.  Some restaurants offer additional points for dining on certain days as well.  Think about purchases gift cards as gifts from these restaurants.  A restaurant transaction is the same whether dine in, take out or for merchandise or gift cards.

7 ► FREQUENT FLYER SITES – Check out your frequent flyer club’s web page.  There are often additional (and often simple) ways to earn quick miles.  I am a Delta Sky Miles member and they frequently offer FREE miles for completing tasks like completing surveys, signing up for email, etc.

8 ► CHARGE EVERYTHINGONLY IF YOU CAN PAY THE BALANCES OFF MONTHLY!  I literally charge everything that I can from a cup of coffee at McDonald’s to installation of a furnace.  If you are able to pay utilities without fees, they can add up fast too.  I typically don’t even carry cash so I am forced to use my cards.  If you buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks every day for $3, that’s over 1,000 FREE Miles!

9 ► GET THE HELP OF OTHERS – My mom was buying a new dryer.  She planned on paying cash.  I offered to pay for the dryer with my card.  She gave me the cash.  I paid it toward the card.  I got about 500 FREE Miles!  As an added bonus, my mom got her warranty extended as an additional benefit from my credit card company.

10 ► BOOK SMART – Most of the airlines offer great FREE miles incentives to book flights and entire vacation directly through them. Again, this is addition to miles that you will earn by using your miles earning credit card.

11 ► TIMING – If you are flexible, it is less expensive and cost less miles to fly during non-peak times.  Sometimes it can be half the amount!  Stretch those FREE miles by making smart plans.

12 ► BUSINESS EXPENSES – Not everyone will be able to do this.  But, if you own a business or make purchases for a business, every purchase should be made with a miles earning credit card.  If you are in a position to take advantage of these purchases, the FREE miles will add up very quickly.

Fly FREE Faster!

Check out these additional sites for more great ways to earn FREE airline miles –

► FREE Frequent Flyer Miles 

► FREE Travel Guys