How to earn travel re­wards with­out us­ing a credit card

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - TRAVEL - By Holly John­son —— Trav­elPulse is a lead­ing travel author­ity on the web, pro­vid­ing con­sumer travel news and in­sider tips and ad­vice for an ever-chang­ing travel world. Read more sto­ries at trav­

Credit card averse? You’re not alone. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study from Bankrate, 35 per­cent of adults ages 30 and over don’t have a credit card.

The bad news is, not hav­ing a travel credit card does make it more dif­fi­cult to earn travel re­wards — that is, un­less you travel of­ten enough to rack up loy­alty points by the thou­sands. While hav­ing a travel credit card does make earn­ing points eas­ier, if you’re pa­tient and a lit­tle crafty, you can earn air­line miles, ho­tel points and other re­wards with­out us­ing credit at all. As al­ways, it helps to be will­ing to think out­side the box and put in a lit­tle leg­work. With some luck and time on your side, you’ll be on your way to a stash of re­wards:

Shop­ping por­tals

Cer­tain air­lines of­fer on­line shop­ping malls that let you earn ad­di­tional points when you click through be­fore you buy. Alaska Air­lines of­fers Mileage Plan shop­ping, for ex­am­ple. South­west Air­lines, Vir­gin Amer­ica, Amer­i­can AAd­van­tage and a slew of other air­lines of­fer easy-to-use por­tals with lu­cra­tive of­fers. If you shop on­line of­ten, you have noth­ing to lose by earn­ing a few miles with ev­ery pur­chase.

Loy­alty pro­grams

If you’re trav­el­ing some al­ready, it makes sense to sign up for ev­ery ho­tel or air­line loy­alty pro­gram you en­counter. That way, you’ll earn miles or points for travel you ac­tu­ally pay for — re­gard­less of whether you hold their co-branded credit card.

Din­ing re­wards

A hand­ful of the most pop­u­lar air­lines of­fer din­ing re­wards pro­grams that dole out points for restau­rant pur­chases. You usu­ally have to dine at spe­cific restau­rants and meet spend­ing thresh­olds to qual­ify, but you can earn points eas­ily if you dine out of­ten. Check out Alaska Mileage Plan Din­ing, the AAd­van­tage Din­ing Pro­gram by Re­wards Net­work and the Delta SkyMiles Din­ing pro­gram, for starters.

E-miles and e-re­wards

Web­sites such as e-Re­ and let you earn valu­able perks, air­line miles and more just by par­tic­i­pat­ing in sur­veys. “Mem­bers earn e-Miles miles that quickly add up for re­demp­tion into your fa­vorite air­line fre­quent flyer pro­gram, ho­tel loy­alty pro­gram or re­tailer, sim­ply for the time you spend read­ing and re­act­ing to mar­ket­ing mes­sages that have been pre­s­e­lected to match your stated in­ter­ests and ad­ver­tis­ing pref­er­ences,” notes the e-Miles web­site.

Best of all, sign­ing up for ei­ther pro­gram is free. And you can earn miles or points in pro­grams such as Hil­ton Hon­ors, South­west Rapid Re­wards, Alaska Mileage Plan or Amer­i­can AAd­van­tage.

Fol­low and sub­scribe

Air­lines and ho­tels look to en­gage fre­quent trav­el­ers by oc­ca­sion­ally of­fer­ing spe­cial pro­mo­tions to their fans. You might get an ex­tra 500 miles or ho­tel points for watch­ing a video, for ex­am­ple.

You might also earn miles for sub­scrib­ing to email up­dates, so make sure to sub­scribe for alerts from ho­tels or air­lines you use fre­quently. Most of the time, these of­fers re­quire lit­tle ef­fort on your part, and the points you earn can add up quickly.

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