Yes, you did read that right. You can fly for free without even stepping on a plane! There are several ways to do so. One way is better than the others; on the other hand, you shouldn’t ignore the other ways.
Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses: Signing up for credit cards is one of the easiest ways to earn miles or points towards free flights. Credit cards are one of my core earning strategies and there is so much information about them that there is no way I can cover this in one (possibly two) posts. There are credit cards that will give you 25,000-100,000 miles/points for spending a certain amount within 3-6 months depending on the card (or what I call a “minimum spend”). That alone is enough for a free flight without doing anything else. I know that a minimum spend may not be appealing to you, but it’s easier than you think. Most minimum spends are relatively low and with electronic bill paying you should be able to meet that minimum spend by using the credit card for things that you already need to pay for.
Dining: What?!? Dining can let me earn a free flight? Well, yes, of course. Why would it otherwise be mentioned? Almost all airlines and hotels have a dining program. How it works is you register your credit card and eat at a participating restaurant (using the credit card you registered). You can earn up to 5 miles/points per dollar just for eating. Almost all airlines and hotels use the same provider so most likely you will be able to register the same credit card in only one program. Since there are so many airlines and hotels that have a dining program, it would be a very long list to provide links to the dining programs but let me know if you can’t find it for the particular airline or hotel you are looking for.
Shopping: As with dining, most airlines and hotels have shopping portals that earn you miles or points just by shopping online. Every time I want to buy something online, I always to go evreward.com to see which shopping portal earns me the most miles per dollar. Some retailers give you 25 miles per dollar spent! The most common downside to this is that most shopping portals are ran by the same company, called Cartera. They are somewhat notorious for not crediting miles or not crediting less miles per dollar than was advertised. Regardless, since you were most likely going to purchase something online anyway (as I mentioned in the credit card section), it doesn’t cost you anything more to click through a shopping portal.
Even though earning miles only by shopping and dining may not earn you a lot of miles with one purchase or meal, most free one-way flights on airlines start at 12,500 miles, but some airlines are as low as 4,500. This makes earning a free flight super easy and these options to earn should not be overlooked.