How to Earn Free Flights Without Signing Up for Credit Cards

How to Earn Airline Points (Without Signing Up for Credit Cards)

How to Earn Airline Points Without Signing Up for Credit Cards

There are many simple ways to earn airline points RIGHT NOW and many of them do not involve signing up for a credit card! Outside of credit card points, you can earn airline points through dining at restaurants, shopping online, staying in hotels, renting cars, taking online surveys, and more.

Frequent Flyer Programs

Before you can start earning flights, you’ll need to sign up for frequent flyer programs. We’d suggest signing up with every airline that you fly. The programs vary regarding the number of points or “miles” you’ll need to book a flight and whether there are blackout dates.

NOTE: Airline rewards tickets in the U.S. are still subject to government-imposed taxes/fees, so while your flight won’t be 100% free, it should only cost about $6 for a one-way ticket.

Earning airline points is simple
Photo by Ross Parmly on Unsplash

How to earn airline points (without signing up for credit cards)

Earn airline points through online shopping

Shopping online is an easy way to earn airline points for the purchases you already make. Each airline has a shopping page such as Rapid Rewards® Shopping or American Airlines AAdvantage eShopping℠. Some of the partners offer a certain number of points per $1 spent on the site. Others partners will offer a one-time bonus for a purchase such as subscribing to a magazine or meal delivery service.

It works like this: instead of going to Pet Smart’s website (for example), you’ll go to your airline’s shopping page and then select Pet Smart from a list of participating stores and partners. From there, whatever you purchase from Pet Smart will earn you airline points.

NOTE: We don’t recommend buying anything that you wouldn’t already be purchasing (that defeats the purpose). But if you already make regular online purchases, you might as well earn some airline points by going through an airline shopping page!

Earn airline points by dining at restaurants

If you’re not signed up for an airline dining program, you may be missing out on points from restaurants you already frequent! That’s right– you could have earned airline points for last night’s meal!

Earning airline points with restaurants
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Airline dining programs are available for Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, and Southwest, Spirit, Virgin, and more. All you do is register your credit cards (does not have to be an airline card) on the airline dining website and every time you eat at one of their participating restaurants you will earn points!

TIP: Your credit card can only be registered with one of these programs at a time. Either choose the airline program you use most often and commit to that one, or divide your credit cards up among your favorite airlines.

Earning airline points through other travel partners

Airlines also partner with hotels, rental car companies and ground transportation to provide points for other travel purchases. Some airlines also provide points for using Airbnb as a guest or host, or for booking a cruise.

Just like with airline shopping pages, there are airline travel pages with details on all of their partnerships. Examples include the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Partner page and Delta SkyMiles Partner page.

With some opportunities, like renting a car, you’ll make your purchase directly through the airline travel page. For other partners, such as hotel chains, you’ll simply provide your frequent flyer number when booking your room.

Earning airline points with online surveys
Photo by Courtney Corlew on Unsplash

Earn points through online surveys


WC and I both use to earn airline points. Currently, Southwest Airlines is the only airline that participates in this program, but there are a variety of hotels and other gift card options. In our opinion, you’ll get the best return on your time investment by using your e-Rewards for Southwest points. Hotel points tend to expire more quickly. Southwest points won’t expire as long as you have activity on your account within 24 months. Keeping your Southwest account active will be really easy using all of the ideas in this article.

TIP: If you travel as a couple, both of you should sign up for this program and start earning points!

OK, so about e-Rewards. The program is completely free to join and you can take as many or as few surveys as you want. The “currency” that you earn by taking surveys is virtual. The only catch to this program is you have to be invited to participate by one of their participating partners. (I was invited by having a Rapid Rewards® account)

Once you’ve registered for the program, you will start getting offers in two ways. Some survey opportunities will come to you directly through your email. You can also get other opportunities by logging onto the website and seeing what’s available.

You can start earning Southwest points once you’ve accumulated $15.00 in e-Rewards currency. $15.00 is worth 300 Southwest points, $25.00 is worth 600 Southwest points, $50.00 is worth 1,200, and $100 is worth 2,400. We’re typically able to reach between the $25.00 and $50.00 mark each month.

Earning airline points with Southwest Airlines E-Rewards

Your airline points will credit directly to your Rapid Rewards® account within six weeks after redemption.

TIP: With this program you can only cash out once a month. If you’re close to the next tier, you may want to wait a few extra days before cashing out. Otherwise, we’d recommend cashing out and then starting to earn towards your next month’s cash out.

Rewards for Opinions

Rewards for Opinions

Rewards for Opinions is another free invite-only panel that allows you to earn Southwest Air Rapid Rewards® points for taking surveys. Unlike with e-Rewards, Rewards for Opinions transfers the points you earn from surveys directly to your Rapid Rewards account. Even if you disqualify for a survey, you will still receive 2-3 points. The points are transferred to your account within six weeks of completing or attempting a survey. Most surveys take between 5-20 minutes to complete.


This one might seem obvious, but flying with an airline will also earn you points. Make sure you sign up for an airline’s frequent flyer program before booking a flight. That way you’ll have no trouble getting your points immediately after flying!

Opportunities to earn airline points with credit cards

Although this article is not about credit cards, we have to mention this because this is where you’ll accumulate the most points in the shortest amount of time. There are many airline and travel rewards credit cards available and, while benefits vary, our favorite travel earning-credit cards are the Chase Sapphire card and the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® card. If you decide to sign up for a credit card, you should consider whether you like to travel internationally or domestically.


We hope these ideas help you get to your next rewards flight quickly!

Do you know of other opportunities to earn airline miles? Comment below!

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How to Earn Airline Points Without Signing Up For Credit Cards

11 thoughts on “How to Earn Airline Points (Without Signing Up for Credit Cards)

  1. I usually use one credit card as it gives me airline points. I have been trying to find alternate ways. Since I am based in Australia, I don’t use Southwest, unless I am flying in US. Thank you for your tips. I am gonna research on similar ones in Australia. Cheers!!

  2. There are so many opportunities for this kind of thing in the US. Here in South Africa there are not nearly as many (i think we only just got our first Starbucks and its no where near me) LOL. You have some really good tips and advice here I am sure is going to help allot of fellow travelers.

    1. First Starbucks- wow! That actually sounds kind of nice- it’s hard to remember a time when there wasn’t one on every corner! Haha!

    1. That is so fortunate to have low-cost airlines available! It is so expensive here- usually a majority of our travel budget is just the airfare and the other stuff is cheap in comparison!

  3. I love when points actually accumulate and get you get that satisfying feeling of saving on travel! We tend to get most points on our airline credit card, but there are definitely so many ways to do so without one. These are great tips, the online surveys is one I had not heard of!

    1. We also get most of our points from our credit cards, but it is so fun when the points add up from these other sources! 🙂

  4. I had no idea there were so many other routes to earn points! I’ve yet to breach the world of travel where I’m consistently using planes, but once I do I’ll now know the several ways to be earning miles aside from credit cards. We’re based in the U.S. and flights aren’t very cheap. Peak pricing is crazy and we require cars everywhere you land in the states adding another layer of expense, rental cars. Thanks for the tips!

  5. These are great to know! I’ll do anything that helps me save more points and travel more haha. Better if no credit is involved. We were able to leave for free to our trip to Asia because we accumulated the Chase Preferred Points, but when we are back in the US we want to work on the Southwest one since it’s our favorite airline back home. Need to implement some of the tips you mention here though

    1. We love the Chase Preferred Points for international travel as well! I hope these tips work out for you- every little bit helps!

  6. Great tips here! I’ve been travelling for so many years and really regret that I haven’t taken more advantage of learning about rewards programs. It’s definitely one of my goals for 2018 and I appreciate the tips!

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