Earning Free Miles and Where to Find Travel Deals

Ever wondered if it was possible to become an elite frequent flyer WITHOUT actually flying? Believe it or not it is! In an attempt to learn the ways of the experienced travel vagabonder and earn elite status or simply enough airline miles to upgrade to first class, I’ve been scouring the Internet and print media lately looking for information. During my hunt I’ve found some excellent resources that you too should take advantage of.

So without further ado, here is some additional information on how you can earn frequent flyer miles, without ever setting foot on an airplane, so when you do finally decide to take a trip, you can upgrade to first class and travel in style, or even travel for free! In addition I will highlight some of the travel resources available online and via mobile applications to find great deals!


If you are currently attending college, or graduated within the past year, you can earn 10,000 miles on United Airlines for free! This program includes graduate schools. You’ll just need three things:

  • Copy of your transcript showing you graduated from an accredited college
  • Be a registered member of the United Mileage Plus awards program BEFORE graduation!
  • An e-mail address

Send a letter to the following mailing address requesting the miles for graduation.

Mileage Plus, Inc.
Attn: College Plus Graduation
P.O. Box 40
Rapid City, SD 57709


Many of the airlines offer excellent deals for purchasing things you would normally purchase anyway, and obtaining miles along with it. Did you send flowers to your spouse or significant other this Valentine’s Day? Do you send flowers for birthdays, Mother’s Day, etc.? Did you know Delta Airlines offered 45 miles per dollar spent if you shipped flowers from 1-800-FLOWERS? Do you regularly purchase medication for your pets? Earn 35 miles per dollar spent from PetCare Rx. Interested in eating healthier? You can earn 6,000 miles by joining Nutrisystem AND an extra 1,000 miles per month for continuing to order. That’s enough miles to upgrade to first class! How about earning 500 US Airways miles just for installing a toolbar then earn 1 mile for using the search box? There are lots of ways to earn miles just from doing the things you normally do. Check out the resource links below to learn many more ways!


Do you have decent credit or some money you’re looking to invest? If you do you can earn a large quantity of miles very easily. Open a TD Ameritrade account with a minimum of $2,500 and earn 5,000 Delta SkyMiles. Earn 2,000 Delta SkyMiles if you open a ShareBuilder brokerage account. Prefer American Airlines? Open a BankDirect checking account and earn 1,000 free AAdvantage Miles and 5,000 for signing up for direct deposit of your paycheck. How about 2,500 Delta miles for getting a SunTrust Check Card?

If you are in need of a credit card, or just want to earn a free flight, several of the airlines have good programs you can sign up for.

Once you’ve racked up plenty of free miles, you can track them all with a simple online and/or mobile application. Check out my post on the AwardWallet application on how to sign up for a free program.


There are so many programs and promotions to choose from. You just need to know where to look! On that note, here are some of the best locations I’ve found to find up-to-the minute deals on airfare, hotels, rewards programs, etc.

  1. Travel Hacking Cartel (see my post here for information on this program)
  2. Free Frequent Flyer Miles
  3. Frugal Travel Guy
  4. FlyerTalk
  5. Chris Guillebeau’s “Frequent Flyer Master” Program
  6. “Vagabonding” – by Rolf Potts
  7. The Art of Non-Conformity” – Chris Guillebeau


Once you’ve accrued some miles, you’ll probably be itching to get away somewhere. Or maybe you don’t want to fly somewhere but would rather take a nice cruise. Here are some of the websites I recommend for finding travel deals.

  • Travel Zoo – search for airfare, hotels, cruises or all inclusive vacations at great rates
  • iCruise.com – search for cruises to multiple destinations, multiple dates, cruise length and cruise lines. Also available as a mobile app via iTunes.
  • Kayak – online search portal for cheap travel deals. Also available as a mobile app for your smart phone.
  • Orbitz – online and mobile application

Well that’s a lot of information for you to check out. Check out some of the blogs in the resources section. Subscribe to the Travel Hacking Cartel service. Download the mobile apps for your iPhone, iPad or Android mobile device and search for travel deals. With a little creativity the sky can be the limit of where and when you want to get away and see the world! Let your journeys begin!

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