How I Missed Out On Thousands Of Free Airline Miles

free airline miles

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I spend a lot of time researching travel deals, tips and tricks, but even I make a mistake from time to time. Unfortunately, I recently made a mistake that cost me thousands of miles on the perhaps most important trip of my life: My wedding and honeymoon. Tina and I got engaged roughly 6 months ago and, since she’s a German citizen who also resides in Germany, we opted to apply for a K-1 fianc√© visa to bring her over here. The process was fairly simple. It took around 6 months to get approved, which is what we had anticipated. Although the process wasn’t cheap (and still isn’t complete), we wanted a beach wedding on Oahu, Hawaii, with a subsequent honeymoon on Maui. Fortunately, I had plenty of Delta SkyMiles in the bank, which pretty much paid for our commute over there. I paid 90,000 miles and $22 in fees for 2 economy round-trip tickets from ORF – HNL, via ATL. A single ticket would’ve cost us $900 in cash, so it was not a bad deal at all. The hard part was finding reasonable lodging, mainly because of Hawaii’s infamous resort fees (I just call them “tourist tax”, since Hawaiian residents are exempt). Not even award bookings are exempt from resort fees on Hawaii.


How I Missed Out On Free Airline Miles

Since we really didn’t want to waste hotel points when we’d have to pay these outrageous resort fees anyway, we decided to try out Airbnb, which doesn’t charge them. The experience was new to both of us and we were pleasantly surprised by the prices, and products, we found on the website. actually offered apartments and condos as well, which we also took advantage of. Unfortunately, I had completely forgotten that Delta had partnered with Airbnb a little while ago. By simply booking on, we could’ve earned 1x SkyMiles, plus we would’ve gotten a $25 coupon. That would’ve earned us close to 2,000 miles. I did use my Chase Sapphire Preferred to book, so I did earn 2x points. But still, could’ve been 3x points if I had just played my cards right.


But Then I Found Out…

… That I missed out on even more miles. Airbnb is one of the newest additions to the United MileagePlus X app, and it allows you to earn 2x miles on all Airbnb purchases. That was a complete bummer, because I could’ve essentially earned 5x points on my Airbnb stays on Hawaii. For Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, that would be 6x points, altogether. Well, lesson learned! I can really only be upset if I repeat the mistake.

free airline miles

Bottom Line

Always do your research when trying out a new website. Check all your apps to see if you can earn miles or if there are coupons available. Check to see if airlines offer a link that earns you miles. Hawaiian Airlines actually has MileFinder, a plugin that you can install onto your browser that’ll notify you if the website you’re currently on earns you any miles when using their online mall. Either way, it was too late for us. The properties had a strict cancellation policy and we did not want to risk paying more that we already did.

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