Traveling can be expensive. One of the biggest expenses is the flight, and the farther you go, the more expensive the flight will be. Add extra if you want to do things like choose your own seat, bring on bags, or enjoy in-flight entertainment. Forget about it if you want to upgrade and get more leg room or other amenities by flying business class or first class. You’ll have to give up a first born to afford it.

Frequent flyer programs offer you a great option for banking miles and getting rewarded with free or reduced flights. However, you have to fly a lot to get those rewards, and if you aren’t a business traveler, that means you’re also going to have to spend a lot of money to get them.

There are a few well-known “travel hacks” that you can use to rack up those frequent flyer miles and earn free flights without ever having to actually take a flight yourself. Here are a few ideas:

Sign Up for Rewards Cards

Many credit cards offer frequent flyer miles for the money you spend on the card. In addition, they offer substantial sign-up bonuses. Some people have reported getting as many as 100,000 miles for a sign-up bonus on one card alone.

To make this system work for you, you will have to do what is known as “churn and burn.” That means that you open a card, collect the sign-up miles, then cancel the card. You don’t even have to make a purchase. However, you will need to pay attention to the fine print to make sure that you won’t be incurring any fees or penalties for canceling the card early or that you won’t have to pay an annual fee.

Put Your Regular Expenses on Your Card

Living on your credit cards usually isn’t regarded as sound financial advice. However, there is a way you can make it work for you and end up getting free flights in the process.

Each month, you have a certain amount set aside for expenses such as your rent, electricity bill, groceries, and so on. Instead of writing a check for these items, put them on your airline rewards credit card. Then be sure to use the cash you had set aside to completely pay off the bill each month. You’ll avoid paying any interest fees, and you’ll rack up the miles for your purchases. Again, just read the fine print to make sure you won’t incur any fees or penalties.

Buy Coins from the Mint

Each year, the U.S. Treasury makes available a certain number of special edition coins, such as the $1 coin with different figures on the face. You can buy these coins with your rewards credit card, then deposit them into your bank account and use the money to pay off the card before you accrue any interest. You will earn a lot of miles without ever actually having to spend anything.

Buying and cashing in these treasury coins is completely legal, and there are no strings attached. You will just need to do a little more leg work with ordering them, cashing them in, and paying off your cards. However, it’s worth it when you get essentially free flights out of the deal.

You don’t have to pay a lot of money for travel. By using rewards credit cards in a savvy way, you can quickly earn all the frequent flyer miles you need to earn free airline tickets or to upgrade your flight so that you can travel in style and comfort. You can also cash in miles to get perks like priority check-in and access to the VIP lounge.

About the Author:

Bridget Sandorford is a freelance blog and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching culinary schools in the United States. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.

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