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Five things you probably didn’t know can earn you miles

SmarterTravel

Any frequent flyer paying a modicum of attention knows you can earn miles for hotel stays, car rentals, restaurant meals, and bouquets of flowers. But not everyone realizes you can earn frequent flyer miles for more obscure activities, such as dry cleaning your clothes and paying your energy bills.

Prepare to enter the ranks of the enlightened frequent flyer. I’ve compiled a list of some of the lesser known mile-earning activities so you can consider all your options for increasing your mileage balance.

Laundry and dry cleaning

Dirty clothes are a valuable commodity if you think in terms of miles. Delta offers a countrywide program and Northwest a regional one that allow frequent flyers to earn miles for clothes-cleaning services.

Delta’s SkyMiles Clothing Care program functions similarly to the Rewards Network’s dining program. You must register a credit card and then use it to pay for dry cleaning services at affiliated locations across the U.S. You’ll receive one mile for every dollar spent.

Northwest’s program is available to Memphis residents. Patrons of Bensinger’s Fine Cleaners can earn one mile per dollar spent at any of the company’s 11 locations.

Energy and gas

If you live in the right places, you can earn miles for paying your energy bills and purchasing gas for your car. As prices for these utilities skyrocket, you can console yourself that you’re earning lots of miles.

Texas residents can earn American or Continental miles when they switch to Gexa Energy for electricity service. You’ll get 2,000 bonus miles for enrolling and then two miles per dollar spent on bill payments. Alternately, Texans can use Reliant Energy for their electricity needs and earn 2,500 AAdvantage miles for enrolling, 2,500 miles after six months of service, and another 2,500 miles after 12 months of service, for a total of 7,500 miles.

Delta has partnered with SCANA Energy to let Georgia homes earn miles for energy bills. Once you’ve signed up, you can earn one mile for every dollar spent on natural gas.

You can also earn miles for filling up your car with gas at Tesoro locations in Alaska, Hawaii, the West Coast, Rocky Mountains, and northern Great Plains regions. You must join the “Free Fillin’ Program” and collect special stamps each time you purchase gas. You can trade eight stamps for 75 miles, 16 stamps for 150 miles, or 24 stamps for 300 miles. Frequent flyers can choose to redeem the stamps for Alaska, Hawaiian, Delta, or Northwest miles.

DVD rentals

An evening at home with a movie and some snacks can be a mileage-earning opportunity if you sign up for Netflix. First-time subscribers can earn 1,500 Delta miles or 1,000 United miles (Mileage Plus Visa cardholders get an extra 1,500-mile bonus for a total of 2,500 miles). Visit airline mileage malls and you’ll find you can earn 1,500 American miles, 1,000 Northwest miles, or 1,000 Continental miles with your Netflix enrollment.

Event ticket purchases

Frequent flyers should think twice about calling Ticketmaster because they can earn miles for buying sports, concert, and event tickets through StubHub.com. You can earn one American mile for every dollar spent at this online ticket seller.

Business services

Got a presentation or flier you need to print out and mail? You guessed it—you can earn miles for these business services.

American has partnered with FedEx Kinko’s to give its loyal customers yet another mile-earning opportunity. When you use the “File, Print Fedex Kinko’s” software program to order services, you’ll earn 500 miles if you spend $100 or more.

When you need to ship a package, you can turn to DHL for US Airways miles. You’ll receive one mile per dollar spent on DHL Express shipments, two miles per dollar spent on DHL ShipReady prepaid express shipping, and 750 bonus miles on your first order.

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