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Credit card averse? You’re not alone. According to a recent study from Bankrate, 35 percent of adults ages 30 and over don’t have a credit card.

The bad news is, not having a travel credit card does make it more difficult to earn travel rewards — that is, unless you travel often enough to rack up loyalty points by the thousands.

While having a travel credit card does make earning points easier, if you’re patient and a little crafty, you can earn airline miles, hotel points and other rewards without using credit at all. As always, it helps to be willing to think outside the box and put in a little legwork. With some luck and time on your side, you’ll be on your way to a stash of rewards:


Certain airlines offer online shopping malls that let you earn additional points when you click through before you buy. Alaska Airlines offers Mileage Plan shopping, for example. Southwest Airlines, Virgin America, American AAdvantage and a slew of other airlines offer easy-to-use portals with lucrative offers.

If you shop online often, you have nothing to lose by earning a few miles with every purchase.


If you’re traveling some already, it makes sense to sign up for every hotel or airline loyalty program you encounter. That way, you’ll earn miles or points for travel you actually pay for — regardless of whether you hold their co-branded credit card or not.


A handful of the most popular airlines offer dining rewards programs that dole out points for restaurant purchases. You usually have to dine at specific restaurants and meet spending thresholds to qualify, but you can earn points easily if you dine out often.

Check out the Alaska Mileage Plan Dining, the AAdvantage Dining Program by Rewards Network and the Delta SkyMiles Dining program, for starters.


Websites such as and let you earn valuable perks, airline miles and more just by participating in surveys.

"Members earn e-Miles miles that quickly add up for redemption into your favorite airline frequent flyer program, hotel loyalty program or retailer, simply for the time you spend reading and reacting to marketing messages that have been preselected to match your stated interests and advertising preferences,” notes the e-Miles website.

Best of all, signing up for either program is free. And you can earn miles or points in programs such as Hilton Honors, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Alaska Mileage Plan or American AAdvantage.


Airlines and hotels look to engage frequent travelers by occasionally offering special promotions to their fans. You might get an extra 500 miles or hotel points for watching a video, for example.

You may also earn miles for subscribing to email updates, so make sure to subscribe for alerts from hotels or airlines you use frequently. Most of the time, these offers require very little effort on your part, and the points you earn can add up quickly.

TravelPulse is a leading travel authority on the web, providing consumer travel news and insider tips and advice for an ever-changing travel world. Read more stories at


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