A Step By Step Guide To Earning Free Travel
(through Airline Miles and Travel Points)
Whether you want to travel the world or discover the many great places in the USA or your own country, you do not have to pay a lot of money. You can be financially free to travel for vacation and pleasure, or for your business, or for mission trips or humanitarian reasons. If you plan ahead, and are organized and wise, then you can travel anywhere you want to for little money or you can earn totally free travel.
1. Improve your credit score and your finances
You will need a good to excellent FICO credit score (typically 700-850) to qualify for the free resources that will help you earn free travel. Resources such as the airline miles bonus on airline credit cards, or the travel points bonus on hotel or travel credit cards. If you need help to improve your credit score, read about the 6 Steps To Improve Your Credit Score.
2. Plan ahead and be organized
To be able to take advantage of the many resources available to earn free travel, you will need to make a plan for each trip you want to take.
- Choose your destination(s)
- Select your time frame and dates (it will take some time to earn enough airline miles & travel points for free travel)
- Be flexible with your travel dates if possible
3. Find the quickest ways to earn free travel to your destination
You will want to try to maximize the airline miles and travel points that you earn. Once you know your desired destination, find the quickest way to get enough airline miles or travel points for free travel. Airline award charts are invaluable tools when you want to find out the lowest required airline miles or travel points to earn free travel. A comparison of airline awards to various destinations such as Asia, Australia, Africa, Hawaii, South America... is a very helpful and valuable tool.
Airline Award Charts Comparison
Below is an airline award charts comparison of some of the main US domestic airlines and some international airlines. It shows the number of frequent flyer miles or points required to earn free travel to various destinations. The destinations include Asia (Japan, Korea, China, Malaysia, Thailand...), Australia and New Zealand, Africa (South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia...), South America (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil...), Europe, the Middle East, and Hawaii.
The airline award chart comparison is for departures from the Continental US to various travel destinations in the world. It shows the typical number of required frequent flyer miles is per round trip travel per person in economy class. The actual number of miles needed for award travel may vary slightly depending on the the specific dates you select. It is always a good idea to try to check a variety of dates or date ranges if possible.
Departure Location: Continental US
Airlines in Comparison: Air France, Alaska Air, American Airlines, ANA, Delta Airlines, United Airlines
Destinations & Required Miles to Earn Round Trip Award Travel:
- Click here for our First Class Airline Award Charts Comparison
Lowest Amount Of Miles Or Points Required For Free Travel (Round Trip Economy Class):
Asia 1 (Japan, Korea) 50,000 miles Alaska Air , 60,000 miles ANA
Asia 2 (China, Malaysia...) 60-70k miles Alaska Air , 65-70k miles American Airlines
Africa North 65,000 miles ANA , 70,000 miles Delta
Africa South 65,000 miles ANA , 70,000 miles Delta
Australia / New Zealand 70,000 miles United , 75,000 miles ANA
Europe 40-55k miles Alaska Air , 45,000 Singapore Airlines
Hawaii 30,000 miles Air France , 40-45k miles Alaska and ANA
Middle East 50-80k miles Air France , 65,000 miles ANA
South America (North) 30,000 miles Alaska Airlines , 35-40k miles American (Colombia, Ecuador)
South America (South) 40,000 miles Alaska Airlines , 55,000 miles ANA (Argentina, Brazil, Chile...)
Find even more in depth and useful information here: the quickest ways to earn free travel and airline award charts comparison.
4. Sign up for airline frequent flyer programs
You will need to sign up for the US domestic airlines frequent flyer programs, and international airlines also if you want to earn free travel to domestic and worldwide destinations. Even though you may not fly on a certain domestic or international airline on your free travel, you may fly on one or more of their airline alliance partners.
5. Get to know the airlines and their alliance partners
A good knowledge of the alliance airline partners is very helpful also to understand how you can earn free travel to various parts of the world. Often times you will be travelling on these airlines' partner airline, or a combination of their flights and some partner flights.
6. Quickest way to earn free travel: Airline, Hotel, and Travel Credit Cards
One of the fastest ways to build up your airline frequent flyer miles or your reward travel points is to use airline & hotel & travel credit cards. Many offer high bonus miles or points that can be used to quickly earn free travel.
7. Where To Get Airline Credit Cards or Travel Program Points For Free Travel
Here is a summary of the majority of airline credit cards, hotel credit cards, and travel credit cards. This will show you the bank or credit card company, if they have their own travel rewards program, and the airline & hotel credit cards they offer.
- American Express (Membership Rewards program with points transfers to Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France / KLM, ANA, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Hawaiian Air, Iberia, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic...)
- American Express Delta Cards (personal & business)
- Amex Hilton HHonors Surpass card
- Amex Starwood Preferred Guest Cards (personal & business)
- Banco Popular Avianca Cards (Vida and Vuela cards for Avianca Airlines)
- Banco Popular American Airlines AAdvantage Cards (3 AAdvantage cards)
- Bank Of America Travel Cards (award flights through their system)
- Bank Of America Alaska Air Cards (personal & business)
- Bank Of America Merryll Lynch Card ($750-1000 free travel)
- Barclays Cards (American AAdvantage, Hawaiian Air, JetBlue)
- Capital One Travel Cards (award flights on many airlines through their system)
- Chase Ultimate Rewards program with points transfers to Air France, British Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United, Virgin Atlantic
- Chase Airline Cards (British Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines)
- Chase Hyatt card
- Chase IHG Hotels card
- Chase Marriott Rewards card
- Citi (ThankYou rewards program for free or discount flights on many airlines)
- Citi American Airlines Cards (personal & business)
- US Bank Flex Perks Cards (award flights thru Travelocity)
- Various other banks and card issuers offer card products, including Synchrony, TD Bank, Wells Fargo...
8. Sign up for the Travel Programs and Hotel Rewards Programs offered by various banks and hotels.
Sign up for the travel rewards programs offered by American Express (Amex Membership Rewards), Chase (Ultimate Rewards), Citi (ThankYou rewards program), Starwood Hotels (SPG Starwood Preferred Guest), Hilton Hotels (Hilton HHonors program) and others as you get their credit cards.
You can sign up for some of the hotel rewards programs before you get their credit cards (Hilton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, IHG Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Starwood SPG,...)
9. Learn the other ways to earn airline miles & travel points besides flying and airline & travel credit cards
There are many other ways you can earn airline miles and travel points for free travel. Credit cards is the quickest way to get a lot of miles and points, but there are other ways to earn more.
10. Keep coming back and read Life Travel Adventures to find out about miles and points special offers, news, and a lot more tips and useful information.
Other Useful Links & Interesting Articles:
Happy Travelling !