One of the biggest misconceptions I had years ago when I dreamed of traveling the world was that I had to come up with all the cash to fund vacations. Back then, travel felt expensive – even as a budget traveler – because I was fronting 100% of the bill. But, since my first solo trip to Paris in 2014, I’ve learned a lot. Yes, money is still required to travel, but there are plenty of ways to travel cheaply. By being creative, having a can-do attitude, and making informed decisions, I’ve discovered plenty of simple travel hacks to reduce costs and even travel for free, like points hacking. Ready to think outside the box?
In this podcast episode, we’ll go beyond how to start travel hacking and focus on lesser-known travel reward hacks to earn bonus airline miles and hotel points without traveling or opening a new credit card. Let’s face it while lucrative, these options aren’t always accessible but I’ve got you covered.
If you are looking for easy ways to earn miles fast, here are (7) brand partnerships you should know about. Knowing these optimization strategies and tips, you can easily earn hundreds or thousands of bonus airline miles a year!
The world of points and miles isn’t always straightforward but this guide will teach you how to optimize your frequent flyer miles so you can travel more and spend less.
Listen to the podcast episode here.
This episode is made possible with the support of Thrifty Traveler.
Over the last five years, Thrifty Traveler has been my go-to resource for all things cheap flights. I’ve been able to visit places I never thought I could afford by simply staying in the know with instant flight deal email notifications.
Get free cheap flight alerts for flights departing from the U.S. and Canada sent straight to your inbox – and if you want to access even more deals or want to be the first to know about points and miles sales or discounted business and first-class tickets, upgrade to Thrifty Traveler Premium. Use the promo code ‘TC10’ for $10 off your first year.
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Get More Miles and Points Through Partnerships
Not to be confused with airline alliances or shopping portals, travel brands like Delta Air Lines and Marriott have lucrative partnerships that allow you to earn bonus miles and points.
Earn thousands of points and miles on everyday purchases and travel purchases like groceries and Airbnb stays.
Things to note:
- Some partnerships only require linking accounts once. Everything is automated after that.
- Other partnerships require connecting accounts and using a specific link every time.
- Helpful Tip: Before making a purchase, pause and think if there are other ways to maximize this purchase by either earning cashback with Rakuten or gaining additional points and miles.
Listen to this Rakuten podcast episode on Spotify.
With that out the way, let’s get to the points hacking!
Marriott Partnerships For Earning Bonvoy Points
By joining Marriott’s hotel rewards program, earn and redeem points on free hotel nights and unlock benefits like complimentary WI-FI and discounted member rates. Earn Marriott points through hotel stays, credit card spending and partnerships.
1. Uber and Marriott
Uber and Marriott have teamed up to make earning Marriott Bonvoy points easier.
Earn points toward your next dream vacation with each Uber ride or Uber Eats order.
- Get 6x points per dollar spent on Uber Eats orders of $25+ delivered to any Marriott hotel.
- Get 3x points per dollar spent on rides with UberXL, Uber Comfort, Uber SUV, and Uber Black.
- 2x per dollar spent on all other Uber Eats orders (pick-up or delivery) of $25+.
If you’re not a Marriott Bonvoy member, you can join for free at Marriott.com, then link to your Uber account.
Currently, this is only available in the U.S.
Checking my Bonvoy points balance, I earned an additional 600 Marriott Bonvoy points this year through this points hack.
Delta Partnerships For Earning SkyMiles
Delta SkyMiles is Delta Air Line’s loyalty program. Free to join with no caps on how many you accumulate, these miles do not expire. Common ways to earn Delta miles include flying, dining out, shopping, and using a co-branded American Express credit cards like:
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Disclaimer: This offer is accurate as of the publishing date; however, offers mentioned may have expired.
2. Delta and Starbucks
After linking your Delta and Starbucks accounts, earn 1 mile per $1 spent at participating Starbucks stores.
On travel days, when you fly with Delta and make a Starbucks purchase, you’ll earn double Starbucks Rewards stars. Excludes taxes and gratuity.
Visit deltastarbucks.com and follow the prompts to link your accounts. Log in or sign up for both programs to link your accounts.
Helpful Tip: You do not have to visit deltastarbucks.com or starbucksdelta.com to earn miles or Stars. Link your accounts once, and you’re good to go.
Keep an eye out for special offers where you can unlock new ways to earn more miles, like this one…
Through September 12th, enroll and visit Starbucks (2) times in one week to earn 1,000 bonus miles.
3. Airbnb and Delta
This partnership is another one of my favorites.
With over 7 million homes listed on Airbnb, stay at a castle, igloo, or cozy tiny cabin by the lake.
With no minimum spend, earn 1 mile per $1 spent with Airbnb on all qualifying stays worldwide.
To earn miles you must book through deltaairbnb.com.
To reiterate this, for tracking purposes, visit this exclusive page and enter your Delta SkyMiles number every time to earn miles on Airbnb stays. If you go directly to Airbnb without first visiting deltaairbnb.com you will not earn any miles.
4. Lyft and Delta
If you prefer Lyft over Uber, there’s a partnership for you. Get rewarded on all of your Lyft rides!
Link your SkyMiles and Lyft accounts to start earning 1 mile per $1 on Lyft rides in the U.S.
For U.S. airport rides, earn 2 miles per $1 spent on Lyft rides. Excludes taxes, fees, tolls, and tips.
Another cool perk – members with a linked Lyft account can receive reminders with details for their upcoming travel with Delta, including flight number, destination, departure/boarding time, and terminal and gate numbers through the Lyft app and via email.
Note: Once your accounts are linked, make sure you have Delta SkyMiles as your preferred travel reward in the ‘Rewards’ tab in your Lyft app to earn miles on all eligible rides.
5. Ticketmaster and Delta
From comedy shows to sporting events and concerts, did you know that you can earn Delta SkyMiles with qualifying Ticketmaster purchases?
Earn 1 mile per $1 on eligible Ticketmaster purchases for events in the U.S. and Canada, up to 2,500 miles per month.
Remember to earn miles, you must first visit Deltaticketmaster.com and use that link.
So no need to link your accounts. Visit Deltaticketmaster.com whenever you go to make a Ticketmaster purchase. Just add your Delta SkyMiles number to earn bonus airline miles.
6. Instacart and Delta
How does earning miles on groceries sound? Turn groceries into getaways!
Instacart is a popular online grocery platform where you can earn Delta SkyMiles whenever you make a purchase, excluding taxes, fees, and tips.
When you link your accounts (and sign up for Instacart+), earn 1 mile per $1 spent with Instacart (Instacart.com or the Instacart app), and Instacart Express members earn 1.5 miles per $1 spent.
SkyMiles members also have special access to a free trial of Instacart Express ($99 per year). Instacart Express offers no delivery fees on orders over $35, lower service fees, and more. Save an average of $7 per order.
- General SkyMiles members and Silver & Gold Medallion® members get three months free of Instacart.
- Diamond and Platinum Medallion® members get 12 months free.
7. Turo and Delta
When you ditch the car rental companies for Turo, earn airline miles.
If you aren’t familiar, Turo is a car-sharing marketplace where you can rent out cars from local hosts. Enter a location and date and browse thousands of cars shared by hosts.
Link your Turo and Delta SkyMiles accounts and earn miles for trips you take on Turo.
Earn 2,000 miles when you book your first trip with Turo and 500 miles on additional trips after your first one.
Overall, after listening to this episode, I hope you feel encouraged that earning points and miles can be easy (and fun).
Get anywhere from 1-2x miles or hotel points per dollar spent on everyday and travel purchases.
Delta alone has (6) established partnerships with Starbucks, Lyft, Airbnb, Instacart, Turo, and Ticketmaster. Remember, Delta SkyMiles do not expire and there are no caps on how many points you can accumulate.
Listen to this podcast episode on Spotify.
If you enjoyed this episode of The Thought Card, I invite you to binge the travel hacking 101 series:
- Travel Hacking Mistakes to Avoid – Episode 94
- Ways To Earn Points and Miles Without Traveling – Episode 93
- How To Get Free Hotel Upgrades and Other Travel Hacking Secrets – Episode 79
What are your favorite points hacking strategies?
Danielle Desir Corbett paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries, including her favorites, Iceland, China, and Bermuda. Go here to learn Danielle’s incredible story, from struggling financially and in debt to finding creative ways to earn more and live on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast, where Danielle shares how you can creatively travel more and build wealth regardless of your current financial situation. Reach out to Danielle by contacting: thethoughtcard (at) gmail (dot) com.