Easy Points and Miles
Points and travel enthusiasts, whether casual fans or active hobbyists, often tie their heads in knots with how to earn more rewards currencies. Eventually, we all overlook some of the easiest methods. Other times, some discard a remarkably simple option because it doesn’t earn much. I’m very familiar with the value of my time, so I can appreciate others not wanting to spend it on methods which don’t earn many rewards. But that underscores the value of quick, easy methods, even if they don’t earn a ton. Here are just a few of my easy points and miles favorites.
Online Rewards Portals
Most all of us do some sort of online shopping. And a lot of those merchants participate in online rewards portals like Rakuten. By simply navigating to the store through a site, app, or browser extension (depending on the portal), one can earn additional points, miles, or cash back. Here’s what you give up – a few seconds of your time and a bit of personal information. Of course, identifying which portal is best can take longer. Balance that time and those rewards carefully. The simplicity of sticking to one portal may win the day. The Membership Rewards-earning version of Rakuten is generally that one for me. A few seconds results in easy MR’s which I end up cashing out.
But I’ve also had recent, reliable success with the American Airlines AAdvantage eShopping. Remember, that portal earns both redeemable miles and Loyalty Points for status. TopCashBack and the Amtrak Guest Rewards Points for Shopping have also been some of my historical favorites.
Online Serve Loads
Over the years, many of us have spent more time than we’d care to admit loading Serve (and other) cards at brick and mortar store locations. But Serve allows us to load up to $1k per month per card online, up to $200 in each transaction. Doing so earns rewards, but only on third-party Amex cards. While these cards may seem like an endangered species, several reliable options still exist. My favorite is the Bread Cashback Amex, which earns 2% cash back everywhere. Taking into account logging in and loading, I spend about 30 seconds to make $4 in rewards each time.
I’m amazed at the evolution of restaurant apps in the past few years – what was once much clunkier than just ordering in person has become my preferred option in many cases. I’m earning loyalty rewards points, using exclusive online coupons, or paying discounted gift cards/wallet loads – and sometimes all three at once! And, again, the apps have become more polished over time. It’s often easier to order on the app and just show up. Taking into account all plays, the Wendy’s app is probably my favorite. But many other worthy options are out there!
Fuel Points Programs
If your favorite grocery stores and gas stations offer loyalty programs, join them. Earning and redeeming rewards is generally as simple as scanning your card or entering your phone number. A few seconds will result in substantial savings at the pump. Of course, you can take these programs even farther by researching them more. But keeping it simple can lead to small, reliable savings.
Card-linked offers from banks like Chase, Citi, Bank of America, and Amex can save you money on many organic purchases. Simply attach the offer on the app or site to the card you want to use at a given merchant. I’ll caution that this method can be more time-intensive, but the rewards can be even higher than some of the above options. While I don’t use them, many out there use platforms like MaxRewards to automate the process and save time. But even tools like this don’t always make this stuff simpler. Regardless, we can leverage card-linked offers to earn more fast.
If you haven’t considered all of these options before, think them over now. I know some of you are aware of or use all of these methods. Regardless, we all need reminding, myself included. Of course, we can combine the above methods to save even more. But beware of the additional time and effort you take on there. One angle may be easy, but complexity can vastly increase when we try to get clever. That’s fun for some but aggravating for others. Big picture, take a few extra seconds to earn the easy stuff. What are your favorite easy points and miles plays currently?
Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Doesn’t Serve cost a monthly fee of 6.95? For the free reloads card? I’m with Christian is there a more info site? Like how do you pair serve with the cashback bread card you were talking about? Thanks for the info.
I’m new to certain aspects of the hobby so it’s great to learn about the Serve card. Which one do you have? Also, any suggestions where I might find more information on ways to utilize this avenue? If not, I completely understand.
You’ll want to pick up the “Free Reloads” version of the Serve card, aka “the green one.” Once you have the card, methods are pretty straightforward. You’ll notice a variety of retailers where you can load. Certain ones will obviously work better than others.