The Basics: Earning Points and Miles in the Margins

Initial spending bonuses are the meat-and-white-rice of the travel hacking plate lunch. But, all the other points and miles you’ll earn in regular and bonus spending are the mac-salad-and-kim-chee. That is, you can’t make a good plate lunch without the whole assembly. This post will be a working list of all the side salad opportunities out there:

CREDIT CARD PROMOS — these opportunities for cash back, points, miles, or prizes, are generally tied to specific cards used at specific retail locations; of these programs, Amex Offers is by far the most robust and rewarding.

SHOPPING PORTALS — my personal strategy is to focus on cash back shopping portals, to make back some or all of the annual fees we’re spending on every year. But, don’t ignore all the incredible points and miles opportunities that can come up from time to time. You can use a “Shopping Portal Search Engine” like evreward or Cash Back Monitor to find the best current rates. Note: Shopping Portals have not been evaluated for reliability or ease of use.




DINING PROGRAMS — There are two major dining loyalty programs that partner with travel companies — Dining Rewards and Mogl. These can be a huge driver of points and miles earning.



SURVEY WEBSITES — these sites give you points and miles for taking surveys about yourself. It’s an incredible time suck and you are asked for A LOT of information. Up to you if it’s worth your time and privacy. There are a lot of different survey websites out there, but these are the few that Ryan has actually tried.

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES SPECIFIC — if you live in Hawaii, there are rainbows and opportunities to earn HawaiianMiles.

LEX BRODIE’S (AUTO TIRE & SERVICE) CUSTOMER REWARDS PROGRAM — a surprisingly strong rewards program that gives you multiple loyalty programs to choose from, including HawaiianMiles, American Airlines AAdvantage, IGH Rewards Club, and United MileagePlus.


Other posts in the series, The Basics:

Questions, Comments or Criticisms?