Mileage earning Debit Cards and Bank Accounts

19 October, 2011

In the past year we have seen a number of mileage earning options disappear. 

First it was Chase ending their gravy train promotion of 25,000 Continental Miles with the opening of a bank account and using their Continental debit card. 

Then later this year Chase announced that it was ending the Continental Debit Card programme, along with the United Mileage Plus Debit Card programme.

More recently Citibank has decided to end their AAdvantage Debit Card programme.

The underlying reasons for the discontinuation are not the focus of this discussion, that can be addressed another time.  The topic I am trying to get across is that while credit cards will likely continue to earn miles for years to come, what about people who don’t have credit for various reasons (bad credit, no credit history at all, newcomers to the country, etc…)?  The debit cards and bank account bonuses provided a means for mileage earning which has now disappeared.  Yes there are mileage shopping malls and dining programmes and surveys for miles but the cards were arguably one of the most convenient ways to earn the miles we all wanted.  I am curious about thoughts others have on this and if they see other possibilities to take the place of debit cards sometime in the future?

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What are some good free ways to get miles?

14 January, 2011

Many people know about getting miles from credit cards and of course from actually flying but there are other ways to get miles for free as well. 

Online Shopping

One of the most common is through online shopping.  Many airlines have online shopping malls where you enter in your flyer number and use their special link in order to earn miles per $ you spend.  For example you can earn 2 miles per $ you spend at Walmart.com if you do it through the AAdvantage e shopping link.  Air Canada, Continental, USAir, United, Delta, Cathay Pacific and many others also have shopping portals like this.  The miles are essentially free (assuming you were going to spend the money on the stuff you order anyway)

Toolbars

So far, AA and US have released toolbars to download which offer miles for using their search feature.  For every 3 searches you earn 1 mile up to a maximum of 100 miles per month.  The two toolbars mentioned here (also linked on this page) also help with online shopping so that you do not always have to use a link but the toolbar itself will help you get mileage credit.  Not every merchant allows this though, so sometimes you must still use the links.  In addition to the airline toolbars, the Bing Rewards toolbar gives Bing points for searches and various other things.  While these do not help with earning miles for shopping, the points can be exchanged for American miles at present.  For all of you thinking that you can just get the toolbar and make 300 searches in about an hour to get all the miles… think again, the toolbar uses some formula to determine if you are actually using it for searching or trying to game the system.  It will not award miles if you have an irregular search pattern.

Club Bing

Club Bing is a game website which awards tickets for playing various games.  The whole thing seems to be a huge excuse for Microsoft to increase its search traffic because you must search in order to complete many of the games but the games can be quite fun and the tickets can be exchanged for miles on American, Delta, USAir, Alaska Airlines, Frontier and Hawaiian.  You can earn a maximum of 11,100 miles this way to be all on one airline or split up between them in various denominations.  If you are really obsessed you could play the games and get the required tickets in about a month but for the rest of us it will take a while.  If you search on the internet there are various ways to cheat and bot the website but I cannot recommend this because if Microsoft figures this out you will never get the prizes you redeem the tickets for.  In addition to miles, the tickets can be used for all sorts of things such as books, jackets, digital cameras and netbooks.

Dining Programmes

This has had various names over time including Rewards Network and iDine.  I not think the name matters much but the programme itself is quite useful.  After registering your credit or debit card you will earn miles (or points, or cash back or various things) for every dollar you spend at participating restaurants.  This is offered by AA, USAir, Delta, Alaska, United and Southwest.  You can also earn PC or Hilton Points if you wish or even college loan savings contributions.  They all work on the same basic system, you sign up, register the card(s) and earn 3 miles per $ for the first 10 dines and then 5 miles per $ after.  From time to time they have bonuses as well which help miles rack up.

Thanks Again

Thanks Again is a bit like the dining programme but it works with dry cleaning, golfing and a few other places as well as an online shopping mall like the airlines have.  This is available for United, Delta, USAir, Continental and Alaska Airlines.  Instead of miles you can also decide to earn American Express gift cards.  For a while, if you “like” them in Facebook you would get 100 miles for free.  I am not sure if this is still happening though.

Opinion Place

For those interested in American AAdvantage miles, Opinion Place allows you to earn between 50 and 150 miles for surveys.  Qualifying is not always easy so you could go months without getting anything but you never know.  If you have too many miles you can also opt for Paypal credits or AOL credits.

E-Rewards

This is somewhat like Opinion Place except you must be invited to participate.  Getting an E-Rewards invite is not terribly difficult if you are signed up for one of the participating programmes.  After getting invited you answer a bunch of questions about your preferences and such so it can find surveys to match your interests.  Unlike Opinion Place, if you do not qualify you still get some bit of reward, it is not huge but it is nice.  I will not list them all here but some of the partners include Priority Club, USAir, Hilton, Continental, La Quinta and Virgin Atlantic.

E-Miles

E-Miles is sort of a survey site but also gives miles for buying or doing certain things.  For example you may answer some questions for how soon you plan to buy a car for 5 miles but if you buy something from company A or donate to charity B you can earn extra miles.  I suppose if you are really into it you could earn quite a few miles but for the totally free ones you will probably get about 1,000 miles per year.  It is available for Frontier, USAir, Continental, Delta, Hilton, AirTran and Alaska Airlines.  You can sign up for multiple programmes if you use a different email address for each one.

This is all for the intro for now.  As I find other ways I will add some new descriptions


Last Day of 2010, What New Plans for 2011

31 December, 2010

As 2010 comes to an end it might be good to review what bonuses I was able to get over the course of the year and what might help all of you in the next year.  Before I get emails and such telling me about all the stuff I missed, let me say this is a blog for the beginner.  I know I missed many things and I am getting better at it but I am not a pro yet so give it time.  We have to be patient before we can all get tonnes of miles.

American Airlines

Nothing huge, only the normal miles from flying, using my Mastercard and the dining programme.  in addition to these I have done almost all of my shopping through the AAdvantage shopping mall to gain miles that way too.  I do expect more in the next year when I get to take advantage of the 100,000 mile bonus from the business visa card.  With the travel to Brazil I will be doing next year this should also bring in loads of miles here since AA is my main airline now.

Continental

25,000 miles from the Chase bank account offer.  Mileathon is also coming back next year.  I skipped it last year because I figured Continental miles were useless to me but now that they are combining with United that is no longer so.  If anyone wants to get the new Continental Mastercard from Chase, it may be a good idea to wait for Mileathon to begin before doing that.

USAir

Yes I know, they have been US Airways for years now but that just takes too long to write.  The Grand Slam promotion netted about 98,000 miles in bonus and in the miles that came with the activities.  Not sure if it will happen again next year but if it does I will be on board for sure.

Priority Club

With all of the promotions this year I ended up getting nearly 100,000 points and that does not count the Crack the Case promotion which is not over yet.  PC points are incredibly easy to come by by both staying and not staying.  I have not found them to be a good deal though unless they are used for PointsBreak rewards in which case they are invaluable.


25,000 OnePass Miles

8 December, 2010

This has been around for a while but in case anyone does not know about it yet, Chase has a bank account offer where opening an account, signing up for the OnePass debit card and using it 5 times will earn you up to 25,000 miles.  The miles are in two parts, 10,000 for the first qualifying purchase and 15,000 are after 5 purchases or setting up direct deposit.  It is possible to sign up for an account which is free with $1,500 minimum balance or 5 debit card uses each month.  The added benefit is that with the card you are able to check one bag for free when you fly Continental.  I am quite amazed to see this as a debit card reward and not a credit card reward.  This specific offer lasts until 31 December but the terms did say that they limit you to one bonus per calendar year.  This invites the possibility of “churning” bank accounts.  Before I start promoting this practice I am not sure if there is any adverse effect of this or if it is even allowed.  Regardless, the link for the account promotion is below, be sure to refresh the coupon code so that you receive a unique one.

https://www.chase.com/ccp/index.jsp?pg_name=ccpmapp/shared/marketing/page/Continental_Consumer_9938&ID=0000010493


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