“Spend less, travel more.” That’s what I always say. That and “Make hay while the sun shines.” And “If you don’t know where your money is going you might as well be lighting it on fire.” Obviously we Warckens like to travel, and like everything else in life, we like to save money while doing so.
We sign up for any and all frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs that pertain to our travels so we earn whenever possible. We get far and away the most miles and points through our travel credit cards, but obviously that’s not for everyone. There are lots of other ways to earn miles and points, some that have nothing to do with flights, hotel stays, or credit cards. These are some companies and products we use on a regular basis to save money, earn miles and points, and help maintain the life of our dreams.
Airbnb – We’ve stayed in Airbnbs all over the US and Europe and have always had a great experience. We love living like locals and they’re typically a great deal cheaper than hotels. Get $40 off your first Airbnb stay when you sign up through this link.
Award Wallet – I manage over three million miles and points for us, and use this to keep track of all our airline and hotel programs in one place. It updates mileage and points balances automatically and keeps track of expiring accounts so I know when I need to earn and where. I mostly utilize this site to validate the idea that we are, in fact, (miles and points) millionaires.
FuelRewards – I linked our IHG numbers with Shell’s Fuel Rewards to save at least $0.06/gallon at Shell gas stations. Rewards are stackable if you earn FR points from dining out or shopping with your linked credit or debit cards. Our first fill up this year we saved $0.56/gallon.
GasBuddy – The Warckens use the hell out of this app when we’re on the road to search for current gas prices in the US and Canada, and to update prices for the chance to earn points and win free gas. We’ve never won anything, but it’s not uncommon to find gas $0.10-$0.25/gallon cheaper in the same town we were planning on stopping in anyway.
hotels.com – When planning travel I always start on this site to quickly search the hotel brands in a particular area to see if there are any we’re members of. If we can’t find any reasonable Club Carlson, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, or Starwood properties, we either book through hotels.com to earn free nights, or pointshound.com or rocketmiles.com to earn airline miles. Typically rooms booked through these third party sites don’t earn hotel loyalty points, so we’re always sure to book said Club Carlson, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and Starwood properties through their respective websites. I didn’t add a link because I always to through a cash back portal to book hotel rooms. Every little bit helps!
McDonald’s App – This is a Warcken favorite for road trips. There are daily BOGO deals on food, plus a free coffee after you purchase five. We always try to use our own coffee mugs and are oftentimes just charged for a senior coffee, and sometimes they even give it to us as a free refill! What class!
PointsHound – Earn airline miles for hotel stays, up to 10,000 miles per night depending on the hotel.
Rewards Network – Earn miles or points for visiting certain restaurants and bars. Link any and all credit or debit cards through the Rewards Network site and to automatically earn Alaska, American, Delta, jetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, or United miles, or Hilton or IHG points.
Rocketmiles – Earn airline miles for hotel stays.
ThanksAgain – Link your credit and debit cards to earn airline miles and hotel points automatically when you shop or eat at select merchants in participating airports. This free program paid for itself in Chick-Fil-A visits last time Greg had training in Atlanta.
Shopping online. Some airline and hotels offer online shopping portals for earning miles and points for online purchases. This works just like the cash back shopping portals we know and love, but you unfortunately you can’t double dip so choose between money and miles wisely. Earn Alaska, American, Delta, jetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, or United miles, or Hilton points.
Online surveys. These are a simple way to earn points and miles, and an excellent way to keep frequent flyer accounts from expiring, but I get really bored really quickly so I just throw them on purpose to get partial credit. Why, yes, I DO work for a marketing firm. 😉
e-Rewards – Earn ‘currency’ for online surveys and redeem for miles, points, and gift cards. Choose from Hilton, IHG, Alaska Airlines, or Southwest Airlines to name a few. Receive $0.25 in e-Rewards Currency if you do not qualify for the study.
Opinion Miles Club – These surveys are strictly for United miles. We no longer have United Airlines credit cards and United miles expire in 18 months with no account activity, so this is the easiest way to keep our United accounts, and miles, active.
Opinion Check-In – These surveys are for IHG Rewards Club points. In the event you do not qualify for a survey, you will receive 5 points for your participation.
emiles – Earn points for online surveys and redeem points for miles, points, or gift cards. Choose from American Airlines, United Airlines, Amazon, or Starbucks.