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Getting Started: Student wants to earn Miles
I’m a 15 year old student who wants to earn some miles to fulfil my dream of travelling to different countries every holidays (preferably business or first, its mainly about the flights 🙂
Where to start if I can’t really ‘do the credit cards’?
Thanks for the tips,
Hello Max Adams.
Do you have a family member that can sign up for cards and add you as a authorized user? And is willing to let you use the points?
Optionally you best bet would be one of the airline programs that sell miles frequently with an discount like Alaska Airlines, American Airlines or Lifemiles.
That said holidays are normally the most difficult period to find award space, especially since I assume you will not be flying alone due to your age?
I’m 17 so I’m in the same boat as you when it comes to this hobby. First things first is that I’ve pretty much accepted that I won’t be taking any award trips anytime soon. Without credit cards it’s extremely difficult to accrue a large amount of miles without actually flying a lot. That said, there are certainly ways to get an early start on banking the miles so that your dream trip comes that much sooner.
First, don’t split your miles. I don’t know how much you fly, but when you do try and encourage your parents to keep it on one airline or within an alliance. If you must fly different airlines, try and find a partner that is common to both. For example, I will be flying to Los Angeles from Ohio to visit family in two weeks, which is roughly 2000 miles each way. The outbound will be on American Airlines while the return will be on Delta. Rather than crediting those miles to AAdvantage and SkyMiles respectively, I’m going to credit them to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, since they partner with both AA and DL. That way, instead of having ~2000 miles in my AAdvantage and ~2000 miles in my SkyMiles accounts, I’ll have ~4,000 miles in my Mileage Plan account. Keep in mind that if you’re flying on one airline and crediting miles to another, discounted economy class tickets may not earn 100% of the distance flown. Even so, I’d consider it to be more useful to have (for example) 7,500 miles in one program than 10,000 total miles spread across multiple programs.
Another thing I do a lot in my spare time is take surveys through e-rewards. You take surveys ranging from 5mins~45mins long and earn currency which can be redeemed for miles in programs such as United MileagePlus, Mileage Plan, and British Airways Executive Club. There’s no way you could earn enough miles solely through e-rewards in any reasonable amount of time, but it’s a nice way to top off your accounts.
The last thing I can think of is shopping portals. SkyMiles, MileagePlus, AAdvantage, and Mileage Plan all have websites that allow you to earn miles for purchases made at online retailers. These can be as low as 0.5 miles/dollar at Best Buy. Conversely, I’ve seen as much as 30 miles/dollar at some sites during promotional periods.
As I mentioned before, it’s best to keep your expectations in check. You’re not going to be cashing in your AAdvantage miles for Etihad First Class Apartments anytime soon. But with the tips I’ve mentioned, as well as No Name’s suggestion for getting you added as an authorized user on your parent’s credit cards, you can get a head start and I see no reason why you couldn’t be taking your dream trips soon after you turn 18 and and get your credit card sign-up bonuses.