7 Things You Should Always Charge for the Miles

by  Yahoo! Travel | Dec 10, 2015

A beautiful bouquet AND a trip? What more could you want? (Photo: Kristen Curette/Stocksy)

By Jo Piazza for Yahoo! Travel

I don’t think anyone out there actually likes spending money. But there are a few things that can make emptying your bank account a little more palatable, one of them being free airline tickets.

If you go into a major purchase with the thought that you might be able to score yourself a nice free flight to Europe or an upgrade for that next romantic vacation, it makes the sticker shock a tad less painful. So think before you purchase. You should always be paying for these seven things with a credit card that will help you earn points or checking with your preferred airline to see if buying a particular product or shopping with a certain vendor can earn you bonus points.

Related: How This Guy Travels the World for Free

Not sure which points-earning credit card is the best one for you? Check out this article for the basics.

1. An engagement ring. This is probably one of the largest purchases you will make in your entire life (at least among the ones that can be put on a credit card). Make sure to put it on a points-earning credit card. In that vein, it pays to be savvy with your wedding vendors. While most vendors prefer cash, the discount they actually give you for using cash can be minimal, so it is worth finding out if the miles you will earn will be worth more than the typically tiny discount for a cash purchase will. Try to find vendors who allow you to pay with a credit card. Make those wedding payments work for you. When I planned my recent wedding in September, we were able to charge most of the food and liquor to a card. This allowed us to buy plane tickets for our honeymoon for practically nothing.

Related: A Million Frequent Flier Miles for $1,000? Here’s How!

2. Flowers. It may seem strange, but it’s true. Most airlines are partnered with a flower delivery service and will give you points for flowers purchased.

3. Satellite television. Some major domestic airlines offer miles through DirectTV or Dish Network.

4. Charitable donations. Some airlines reward you with points for donating to certain charities. Check with your preferred airline to see if your personal charitable interests happen to line up.

5. Auto insurance. Pretty much any bill you can pay with a points-earning credit card each month should be paid with a points-earning credit card. Some utility companies won’t let you charge payments on a credit card, but most auto insurance companies will. The same goes for a car lease. Some banks that oversee leases allow you to pay the monthly payments with a card and others do not. it is worth checking to find one that will allow it before you get locked into a multiyear lease.

6. Tuition. Surprisingly, a lot of schools will let parents and students charge tuition on a credit card. Considering how expensive tuition is these days, this payment can become a jackpot in terms of earning free flights. Definitely ask your school if you can put tuition payments on a points-earning card.

7. Holiday presents. Make sure to find out where your airline prefers you to shop to earn bonus points. Some airlines have things called “shopping portals.” You essentially online shop through the airline and then earn points on your purchases. For example, American Airlines has AAdvantage eShopping, which lets you shop at places like Bloomingdale’s and JCPenney. Delta SkyMiles Shoppinglets you shop at JCrew, REI, and Macy’s, among other retailers. And Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Shopping lets you buy just about anything your heart desires.

Related: Lost Something at the Airport? How to Get Your Stuff Back

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