ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

7 Ways to Accrue Airline Miles Without Flying

Updated on May 23, 2016

I’ve always wanted to fly international first class.

Maybe it was that Sex and the City movie where they flew first class and had these amazing private cabins and an open bar. Or maybe when I realized how outrageously expensive an international first class ticket was it held a different cache like a Birkin Bag that was intriguing.

Since I cannot justify spending 5 figures on a plane ticket (even with a bed and open bar) I resolved to earn it by accruing enough frequent flier miles.

At this point in time unless you fly for work it’s very hard to accrue miles just by flying. Originally frequent flier programs were geared for business travelers so they would stay loyal to one airline. Through the years it’s evolved considerably and there are many ways to gain miles without even entering a plane.

I’ve gotten quite good at accruing extra miles on my quest for an international first class ticket and have found these methods the best ways to accrue miles on United without flying.

Airline Credit Card

Think of how much you spend per year on credit cards just on gas, groceries, insurance, and utilities. Now you can turn those dollars for essential expenses into miles.

There are an overwhelming amount of credit cards available that can accrue miles. Some cards are for certain airlines only while others accrue points that are able to be redeemed on travel sites like Orbitz.

Most cards earn 1 mile per dollar and have a sign up bonus of 25,000 to 50,000 miles. It takes 25,000 miles for a domestic ticket so basically for just signing up for a credit card you earned a free trip. Usually you must spend a certain amount of money within 3 months to receive the bonus so as with any credit card read the fine print carefully.

I’d highly suggest putting everything you purchase on your credit card including insurance and household bills then paying it off weekly or monthly. It is entirely counterproductive to not pay off the balance each month for these cards because the APRs on airline cards are usually much higher than normal credit cards. If used correctly, you are accruing tens of thousands of miles while spending the same amount of money you did on your original debit card/credit card.

Mileage Mall

Shopping online has become more the norm as people work longer and longer hours and just don’t have time for regular shopping anymore. Before buying anything online again check and see if the store is in the online mileage mall.

The major 3 airline alliances (Star Alliance, One World, Sky Team) all offer Mileage Mall for gaining points. What is great about Mileage Mall is that it includes tons of stores in every category from electronics, to clothes, to home goods and chances are you’ve shopped at these stores anyway.

Mileage Mall enables you to accrue 1-20 miles per dollar spent for online purchases at select stores with the average being around 3 miles per dollar.

The best ways to utilize the Mileage Mall:


How many times do you go to the drugstore to buy one or two items and end up spending $50 on other things? Buying online alleviates this because it’s much easier to stay in your budget as you add items. No one wants to be that person in the store adding things up with the calculator to figure out costs, trust me it’s 10 times easier this way. Buying online from the drugstore helps you keep within your budget and keep track of past purchases.

It’s also more convenient because you don’t have to deal with lines, traffic, or parking issues. Buying drugstore items online vs going into the store is like using your debit card vs writing checks. Once you start doing it you don’t want to go back to the old fashioned way.

Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, and Target are all on Mileage Mall. All four drugstores give around 3 miles per dollar but it seems like every other week one of them will do a promotional rate of 5 miles per dollar so I usually buy with whomever is offering the most miles that week. All of them offer free shipping with a minimum purchase of $50 with the exception of Walgreens at $25.

So if you spend $50 at the drugstore per month (at 3 miles per dollar) that’s 150 miles which amounts to 1,800 miles per year earned for buying stuff you’d already buy in the first place.

In addition, if that was put on your mileage credit card (at 1 mile per dollar) that would give you an extra 600 miles per year so ultimately this works out to be 2,400 miles per year for just going to the drugstore.


Most of the major clothing brands and department stores are included on the Mileage Mall. The good thing about clothing is that it is a higher ticket item so it’s more money spent meaning more miles gained.

Clothing stores are on average 3 miles per dollar but like drugstores there is usually always some promotion going on of up to 10 miles per dollar.


EBay is only 1 mile per dollar but as long as you are using it anyway it’s good to make sure you are getting miles for it.

Buying online is only beneficial to you if you work someplace where you are allowed to get packages delivered or live in a building where it’s safe to leave the package at the front door if you aren’t there.


What a good way to surprise your mom on Mother’s Day than to have flowers delivered by a florist. Mileage Mall uses FTD which in addition to flowers has a really vast catalog of products selling beauty, cookie/candy arrangements as well as jewelry and stuffed animals.

Flowers have one of the highest miles per dollar rate on United at 25 miles per dollar spent. Those arrangements aren’t cheap either, it starts at around $29 per dollar for the smallest least impressive arrangement and goes up from there so you’ll accrue hundreds if not thousands of miles on this one.


There is a slew of opportunities to earn miles by just giving opinions!

United works with survey companies E-miles, E-rewards, United Opinions, and My Points. Most of them offer some sort of bonus just for registering and from there you can sign up for different market research surveys.

Each of these companies has their good and bad points so try them all out to see which fits best. I would suggest to use a different email address for these if you do not want to be bombarded with emails about new surveys available.

Wine club

For those that like wine United works with Vinesse Wine Club.

There is a signup bonus of 5,000 for the first 6 bottles ordered at a discounted rate. After that 6 bottles are mailed per month at the rate of $12-$15 per bottle. You get 5 miles per dollar spent which can really add up.

This would work perfect for a couple that likes to drink wine and hold dinner parties but might not work so well for a single person unless they wanted to start a slight alcohol dependence.


Get miles while you dine. Through the dining program you register your credit card and anytime you use that credit card at restaurants affiliated with the program you accrue miles. Dines are 3 miles per dollar and after 10 dines you can accrue 5 miles per dollar. This can be a lucrative offer especially if you buy food for the office and are reimbursed.

Dining works well if you go to those establishments anyway, if not then it gives you an excuse to try someplace new.

Score Big

If you ever buy concert tickets use Score Big to accrue miles which is basically the same things as Ticketmaster. The number varies but it’s usually an average of 25 miles per dollar which can be thousands of miles accrued if you are buying tickets for friends who are going to reimburse you.

It might take a while but accruing enough miles to fly first class is within reach with patience and resourcefulness. Mileage accrual can be fun and stimulating but my rule of thumb is not to spend money that I wouldn’t have anyway.

With due diligence I finally earned enough miles for an international first class ticket.

Finding availability for that international first class ticket on United is a different story.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • CYong74 profile image

      Kuan Leong Yong 

      2 years ago from Singapore

      I do it by CC only, and it actually works quite well. Over the years, my CC company progressively reduced the giveout, but it's still enough for me to get a pair of decent biz tickets every other year. (I can probably go every year, if I trade for coach). The only tradeoff is the annual membership fee which is around USD 150 for me, but I figured, that's a small price for what I'm getting. And yes! I put everything on that card. Electricity, groceries, phone, even movie tixs. LOL.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)