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Five Ways To Top Off Your Frequent Flyer Miles Without Leaving The Ground

November 5, 2009 at 9:44 AM | by | ()

We all have some frequent flyer miles hanging around in various accounts, but it seems like there’s never enough to finally book that award ticket to paradise. Well we’re here to help: we’ve compiled five of the best ways to top off your mileage account and gain some extra miles without even leaving the ground. Everyone wants to be able to make it rain with excess miles, and with a little work and creativity, you’ll be doing just that.

· Get Something To Eat:
Most airlines have programs where linking a credit card to a dining program awards you with airline miles when you hit up your favorite restaurant. Obviously it’s not every restaurant out there, so your favorite Applebee’s might be out of the picture. However, if you find a couple favorite spots you frequent anyway, it will be worth the minimal effort to get the bonus. AAdvantage Dining will give you five miles for every dollar you spend, and you’ll even get 1,500 bonus miles for signing up and spending $25. If you prefer Delta-flavored miles check out SkyMiles Dining. It’s the same deal: five miles per dollar spent and certain establishments will reward you with double miles.

· Swipe The Plastic:
If your credit is decent and you aren’t buying a vacation villa anytime soon, an airline rewards credit card is a great deal. Most of them offer a hefty mileage bonus and any annual fees are usually waived for the first year. United Airlines has a 30,000-mile bonus with one of their credit cards, and all you have to do is spend $250. After that you’ll be getting one mile per dollar spent—time to renovate the kitchen! That should easily be enough for a domestic reward ticket as long as you are flexible with your dates.

Credit cards are a touchy subject for some, especially during the current economic situation, but luckily there's also checking accounts. For a nominal annual fee—usually less than $75—you can get a check card linked to your favorite airline. Delta has teamed with SunTrust bank and is offering a 15,000-mile bonus for signing up for their check card. Continental Airlines has a similar relationship with Chase and through the end of the year you can earn up to a 25,000-mile bonus. If you’re a heavy holiday shopper make sure every dollar you spend is going toward your favorite airline program.

· Complain About It:
If your flight was more disastrous than usual and you’ve had to contact the airline multiple times in search of a little help you should complain. Complaining to get what you want is the unofficial American way, so don’t feel badly, and just do it. We recently had an issue with an award ticket refund due to a schedule change. Several telephone calls and faxes later absolutely nothing was resolved. We finally sent in a polite email and copied key members of the executive team, and within hours things were resolved and we were credited with 5,000 miles for our trouble—not too shabby. Just make sure you exhaust the normal channels of customer service first, don’t start at the top. If you need a little help with writing the perfect love note to customer service, check out Christopher Elliott or the folks at The Consumerist.

· Rent A Car:
Picking out a rental car isn’t necessarily all about the best deal, because it might be worth an extra few bucks if there’s a promotion that rewards you a few extra miles. Through the end of the year Alamo is teaming up with Southwest Airlines and awarding travelers with triple Rapid Rewards credits. American Airlines and Budget are offering triple mile and 40% off normal rates with qualifying rentals. Just a couple years ago Budget was offering a deal with Delta that awarded renters with 9,999 miles for just any reservation. Let’s just say that we fully took advantage of that offer, despite the fact that one of our cars was a PT Cruiser.

· Everything Else:
There’s plenty of ways to earn some extra miles from your couch as well. If you aren’t a member of Netflix, now’s a great time to sign up, as every airline seems to offer a bonus of at least 1,000 miles. Just pay your monthly membership and the miles will be all yours. It’s also nice to earn some extra love and miles by ordering flowers for a rich relative. They’ll be delighted to hear from you, bonus miles will get you one step closer to paradise, and you will be fresh in their mind when they write up their will—terrible, we know.

There's plenty of other ways to get miles for money you'd be spending anyway. For a current list of the best promotions with some of the major airlines just follow the links below and you'll be on your way:

· US Airways Dividend Miles
· Delta SkyMiles
· American Airlines AAdvantage Miles
· United Mileage Plus Miles
· Continental Airlines OnePass Miles

Related Stories:
· United Wants To Win Back Your Love By Passing Out 500 Bonus Miles [Jaunted]
· Frequent Flyer Miles coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: alex-s]

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