How To Earn Free Or Discounted Travel

I don’t know about you, but the travel bug has bit me and refuses to leave. I have a long list of places I would like to visit. My goal is to go on four trips a year, which averages one trip per quarter. Last year I was able to take four trips without breaking the bank. Many travelers will tell you the key to traveling is points and airline miles. These two things will help you reduce your travel expenses significantly or earn you a free trip. In this post, I’m going to show you how I earn points and miles on my everyday expenses.

Online Shopping

I recently found out about this feature, and it has been a game changer! Delta, United, and American Airlines allows you to earn miles by simply shopping online. This account is completely separate from your airline account you already have. Once you sign up, you can link your miles number. The next step would be to download their browser extension. When you visit your favorite online shops, the extension will let you know if this shop qualifies for miles and how many miles per dollar you spend. I typically use Delta more than American just simply because I fly Delta more. But if American offered more miles, then I’m using my American account. You can set alerts when your favorite shows yields higher than normal miles earnings. I’ve been a member of Delta Shopping since November 2022; and has earned 836 miles so far. For American, I’ve been a member since January and have earned 46 miles so far.

Dining Out

There’s two way you can earn miles when dining out. Delta Dining, United Dining, Hilton Dining, Marriott Eat Around Town, Alaska, Jet Blue, Southwest, and American Dining programs and Credit cards. With the dining programs, you can sign up for an account and link your SkyMiles/American account. How does it work? You dine at an airline partner restaurant, pay with the card that’s linked to your account, and earn miles. They have a database of all the restaurants they have partnered with. You can even narrow it down by your location and food type. I linked all the cards I would typically use when eating out just in case I didn’t have time to research what restaurants are apart of their program so I don’t miss out on miles. I can also double dip if I use my AMEX gold card, which gives me 4xs the amount of the meal in miles. If you’re in the Atlanta area, some of my favorite restaurants to check out that are apart of the program are Fin and Feathers, Spice House, Trap Museum Bar, Bar Vegan, Sea Salt, Toast on Lennox, Octopus Kitchen and Cirque Daiquiri Bar. Be sure to check out my Atlanta Restaurant, Lounge and Brunch guides to see my reviews on some of these restaurants. You can’t link the same card to multiple dining programs. My suggestion is pick you favorite card for your favorite travel partner, then use partner credit cards you may have for their dining program. I have my American credit card linked to my American dining account and my Hilton credit card linked to Hilton dining.


If you’re like me and hate going to the grocery store, then you will love using Instacart. Instacart allows you to order groceries from your local grocery store and have your groceries delivered. When you use Instacart, you get one Delta SkyMile per dollar you spend. Go to your Settings > Credits, Promos, and Gift Cards > Add your Delta SkyMiles account information. I have earned 2,420 miles so far using Instacart. You can use my referral code to sign up and get $20 off your order. Code: MCF989711A


Yes, you read that right! You can now earn Delta SkyMiles when you shop at Starbucks. Considering how often I go to Starbucks, I was extremely happy. I received 500 miles just for signing up (I’m not sure if this promotion is still valid). Click here to sign up or visit


Lyft allows you to earn airline and hotel miles when using their service. It’s typically one mile per dollar you spend. Their partners include Delta, Hilton, and Alaska. Unfortunately you can’t get miles for all their partners, you have to pick only one. Another way to double dip is to use a partner credit card that gives you points for using Lyft. You can find the list here. If you’re new to Lyft, you can receive a $10 credit by using promo code MEKA35 or click here.


Uber allows you to earn miles when requesting rides or when using UberEats. The amount of miles you earn depends on the ride or restaurant order you choose. Uber’s preferred partner is Marriott.

Vacation Rentals

Instead of booking hotels, people are booking houses and condos for their vacation stays. Airbnb and Vrbo allows you to earn miles when booking stays through their platform. Some of their partners include: Delta, ANA, British Airways, Qantas, United

Rental Cars

You can earn miles when booking through various rental car companies. Each company’s miles per dollar varies. Check out the below companies that participate.

American Car Rental Partners

Delta x Turo

United x Avis/Budget

Hilton Car Rental Partners

Marriott x Hertz

Credit Cards

Using certain credit cards can be very rewarding. Last year, I was able to book 2 flights for free using my points I accumulated, get a vacation half, and upgrade my seat on a flight just from using my credit cards on every day purchases. There are a lot of credit cards that offer travel rewards for using them. When you use these cards, you can use their travel portal to book travel with your miles/points or transfer them to an airline or hotel company for direct booking with miles/points. I prefer to transfer my points to maximize the points value. Here’s some of the credit cards I recommend.

AMEX Gold – I love to eat out. This card offers 4 points per dollar for restaurant and grocery purchases. So when you’re using Instacart, use this card to double dip on points. There’s also other perks like Uber when using this card.

Hilton AMEX – I primarily use this card on gas purchases because I get 5 points per dollar at gas stations.

AMEX Platinum – I primarily use this card when booking travel because I earn 5 points per dollar. Some other perks include Priority Pass and access to Centurion and Delta airport lounges. You get a credit for Clear and TSA Global Entry.

Because I have AMEX Gold and Platinum, they share points. Meaning points fall under one account.

Delta AMEX Platinum – I get a free checked bag when flying Delta, priority boarding, and 3 points per dollar on Delta purchases

Marriott – I’m planning to get the AMEX one because it yields a higher sign up bonus. I may consider Chase because some merchants don’t accept AMEX cards.

Chase – The most popular one is the Chase Sapphire because you can earn a lot of miles.

Capital One – They offer various travel cards. The Venture X is a competitor of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Additional Ways to Earn Miles and Points

Delta x Ticketmaster

Delta 20 min baggage claim

*I will update this post when new earning offers become available.

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