How to Earn Free or Discounted Travel Using Miles

How to Earn Free or Discounted Travel Using Miles

Frequent Flyer Air Travel

Flying Over San Diego on a Delta airplane.
Photo credit: Donna Corless.

I know many people currently fly when they travel and that there’s still people in the U.S. who have never flown anywhere. This article is for those people that don’t fly that often or have never flown or those who are flying but aren’t getting free or discounted travel yet. I’m providing information on how to earn free or discounted travel using miles.

My recommendation is to pick a primary airline to fly with. You can have multiple airline programs, but you’ll be more effective with your mileage accumulation if you stick to one program. I know that I have had multiple programs in the past and sometimes didn’t earn enough miles for that year to earn free travel. Some airline travel miles expire and if you don’t have an account where you are actively earning miles in your account then you may lose the miles. Your goal would be to accumulate miles with one airline. When you accumulate enough miles, then you can book airfare directly with the airlines and paying with your miles.

Step 1: Select your airline(s).

Step 2: Apply for the frequent flyer program. It’s free to join.

Step 3: When you reserve your next airline ticket, make sure that your reservation has your frequent flyer program number on it so that you will get credit for the miles on the trip. If your reservation doesn’t have your number on it, simply give your number to the agent at the airport when checking in.

Step 4: Repeat travel until your miles meet the mileage requirement to get your free trip.

Step 5: Fast track the mileage accumulation with other programs. See more details below.

Fast track the mileage accumulation to your frequent flyer program.

You can earn miles for your frequent flyer program in other ways in addition to getting credit for miles accumulated during air travel.


Flying with Delta

Flying on Delta’s frequent flyer program called Delta SkyMiles. Photo credit: Donna Corless.

Apply for a Credit Card associated with an Airline

You can apply for a credit card that offers additional mileage accumulation to your favorite airline. For example, there is a Gold Card from Delta that is an American Express card. This means that when you use this credit card on purchases, it will also accumulate miles for you. Apply for the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you’re approved! Apply Here. (referral link)

As a new credit card holder: You can earn 50,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with their new Card within their first 3 months. You can earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after they make an additional $1,000 in purchases within their first 6 months.

You can also earn bonus miles if the Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card offers referral opportunities. Therefore, they might offer the possibility of earning 10,000 bonus miles for each referral that actually clicks thru your referral link and gets approved for the card. They do have a limit of referrals that you can get per calendar year, but it’s an additional opportunity to earn miles.


Use your Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card on your normal monthly purchases.

  • Earn 1X mile on purchases. This means that you’ll earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
    • Tip: Setup your monthly payments that you pay in cash every month such as your water, electricity, phone, and cable bills and change it to pay by the credit card automatically each month. Then pay your credit card bill with your cash. You are already paying for those items in full each month, so start accumulating mileage on your regular reoccurring monthly charges.
  • Earn 2X miles on Delta purchases. When you make purchases with Delta for your airline tickets, in-flight purchases, you’ll earn 2X the miles.
  • Earn Miles with the Airline Partners

For example, we’ll look at some of Delta’s Partners.

  • Lyft. You can earn 1 mile per dollar spent on every Lyft ride. As a new Lyft user, you’ll also get a $5 ride credit by selecting clicking this link: DONNA69078. (referral link)
  • AIRBNB. You can earn miles for staying at and AIRBNB but also for hosting an AIRBNB. You can select from over 4 million homes worldwide. New users will receive a $20 discount off their first stay through this link: (referral link)
  • Hotel Partners. You can earn miles each time you stay at any of the SkyMiles hotel partners such as Starwood, Marriott and more.
  • Rental Car Partners. You can earn miles each time you rent a car with the Airline’s rental car Partners such as Hertz, Alamo, Enterprise, and National Car Rental. Other Car Partners that you may not know as well are listed below:
      • Europcar. Offers car rental delivery, one way car rentals, rent a chauffeur for the ultimate in luxury, and also offers midterm rentals of cars and trucks for long or medium term mobility and more.
      • Carmel A premium car and limousine service that is available worldwide in over 350 major cities.
      • Execucar. Premium rides, book a black car or SUV for your luxury experience. You can books rides to the airport, around town, or pay hourly as you need. Currently in 80 locations.
      • Sixt provides car rentals, truck rentals and chauffeur service. Located in over 4000 locations and over 100 countries.
      • Supershuttle. They currently offer shuttle services to over 80 airports. You also can earn miles/points with other airlines: American Airlines, Frontier, Southwest Airlines, and United. It’s also the sister company to Execucar.

Fly Now, Earn Later

Another program that I recently learned about is called Fly Now, Earn LaterSM. It’s from American Express and it allows Delta SkyMiles®Credit Card Members to receive an advance of miles, and then you earn them over 6 months by using the Card.

How it Works

1. See how many miles you are eligible to receive in advance and select the amount that is right for you.
2. Earn miles by spending on your selected Card over the next six months.
3. At the end of the six month period, any remaining miles will be charged to your Card account at a rate of $0.025 per mile.

To learn more about this program and apply to it, Click Here.


About Donna Corless

Travel Photographer, World Traveler, Travel Blogger, Independent Vacation Specialist. Travel and photography are definitely my passions. I grew up as an Air Force Brat. I lived in countries like the Azores, Philippines, Turkey and Bermuda as well as other U.S. states when I was with my parents. I later had the opportunity to live in Italy, and Egypt. I have travelled to over 60 countries and 4 continents. I've taken 23 cruises, experienced ocean and river cruises, taken guided tours, and traveled independently. It is my goal to eventually visit every country and to experience as many cities as possible.
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