I often get asked about how to score a mileage ticket, but I don’t get asked as often about how to earn the miles. People think miles are earned only by flying, something that has changed over the years. Miles can be earned with so many activities, and every activity counts towards your goal for that reward ticket.
So stay with me for a moment and let me build my argument. As someone who has been travelling for a lot of years (maybe not as long as some of you who have been flying since I was in my diapers!), I’ve noticed a genuine shift in the way airlines have moved from rewarding loyalty to withdrawing all the perks to putting them back in there. For instance, there was a time when airlines would be generous with lounge access, then it just became bare minimum, and now it is back to a bit of generosity again. So, expect them to be giving more in this competitive environment.
- Airlines have restructured their mileage programs to be more giving. JetPrivilege is entirely restructured, and I wrote a post about that yesterday. Club Vistara we still don’t know the whole deal yet. I would expect a restructuring of the Air India program to be less miserly as well sometime soon.
- Co-branded Credit Cards are a major source of miles now. You have some very generous products in the market such as the Air India SBI Credit Card, which give you upto 90,000 extra miles just to spend INR 10 Lakh per annum on their cards.
- There is a big market out there emerging for secular mileage earning cards in itself. The Citibank PremierMiles, Citibank Prestige, HDFC Diners Club cards are some examples of this. The beautiful part of this arrangement is that you get to use the miles on partner carriers, when you want and how you want them, so you are not locked into one carrier for your spending, unless you really like them.
- Miles are not just earned from flying or spending on credit cards anymore, there is at least one debit card product out there, and I am sure hoping there will be more.
- We can earn miles with a lot of other activities as well. Shopping, eating out and having a mutual fund account or test driving a car are just a few of those activities.
So, there you go. I’m sure there are a lot more reasons to be in the game right now, but these are my top 5. There are enough ways to earn miles for doing things you would anyways have done, so why not take that kickback off the table by restructuring your way of doing things a bit.
What do you think of starting to earn your miles now?