Find a Side Hustle and Watch Your Miles & Points Balances Grow!
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Lots of us on the Million Mile Secrets team got into the miles & points hobby as part of an interest in personal finance. Because if you know the secrets to Big Travel with Small Money, you can see the world for next to nothing. Without sacrificing saving for the future!
Team member Meghan is a big proponent of finding a great side hustle (or 2!) to help rack up travel rewards. So I asked her to come up with a list of small business ideas to help you grow your income AND your miles and points balances!
Meghan: Side hustles are an easy triple-win, because you can make money, save more money, and earn miles and points…all at the same time! Plus, you’ll qualify for most small business cards even if your profit isn’t huge. And there a lots of small business cards that offer fantastic sign-up bonuses and great perks!
Here are 10 side-hustles that almost anyone can start:
1. Airbnb (or VRBO)
I have a vacation rental that has grown into an amazing side-hustle. Don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of work and a bit of a learning curve in the beginning. But because it has been up and running for a few years now, it’s kind of on autopilot! And I use my Chase Ink Business Preferred card to pay for expenses, like cleaning fees, toiletries, towels, etc., so I continually earn those ever-valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Got any skills in the kitchen? Turn your expertise into a small business by selling sweet treats to others!
I have 2 friends who sell baked goods, and their businesses continue to grow! They sell via social media, through their local farmers markets, and at bake sales hosted by other local businesses. One of them even does unique cakes for special occasions, like birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries!
With a side hustle like this, you can buy the ingredients you need with cards that earn bonuses on US supermarket purchases, like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. In the past, the Chase Freedom has also offered 5% cash back (5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on groceries as one of its rotating bonus categories (up to $1,500 each quarter you activate).
You can make money with a blog by having affiliate links, selling ads, linking to products on Amazon, and selling ebooks. Plus, you can pay for any business expenses, like advertising and web hosting, with a rewards earning credit card!
For example, with the Chase Ink Business Preferred card, you can earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every $1 you spend on advertising purchases made with social media sites, and search engines (up to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year).
4. Driving (Lyft, Uber, etc.)
Just be sure to buy your gas with a card that earns rewards for fuel purchases, like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which earns 3% cash back at US gas stations.
Do you have a hobby you’ve ever considered taking to market? Etsy is a great place to start!
Whether it’s handmade candles, jewelry, dog collars, or baby blankets, you can sell almost anything on Etsy. And again, you’ll earn money for your craft and earn rewards for purchases like supplies and shipping costs!
6. Lawn Care
Love being outdoors and getting a workout while you work and make money? Sounds pretty dreamy to me! If you’re up for the challenge you could start a landscaping company. Or even just mow your neighbors’ lawns for some extra cash! If you live up north, you could offer snow removal services.
Either way, you can put your expenses, like equipment costs and fuel, on a rewards earning card. And make a little extra money, miles, and points at the same time.
7. Interior Decorating
Million Mile Secrets reader Deborah recently explained how she uses her design business to fund her travel. If you have a love of art and design, you could do the same!
The great thing about this type of small business is that there are likely to be some big expenses involved – think furniture, window coverings, art pieces, etc. So there’s lots of potential to earn tons of miles & points! Because you can use your favorite card to buy these items, then invoice your client to cover the expense. This type of business could be a miles & points earning powerhouse!
8. Personal Chef
This might sound like a luxury reserved for the rich and famous, but lots of folks look for personal chefs to help them plan and cook meals. Especially busy folks with families!
So if you’re a great cook, consider marketing your skills on Craiglist or post an ad at the local grocery store. You’ll not only make money, but also earn rewards for the ingredients you purchase. Which could really add up!
9. Reselling (eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, etc.)
I do my fair share of reselling, too. It can be a great way to meet minimum spending requirements on a new credit card. Or to make extra cash.
I once made ~$1,000 reselling Xboxes! And that doesn’t even account for the rewards I earned.
The strangest thing I’ve ever flipped was a dozen boat tubes. I made nearly $800 that particular time! And team member Keith has made a killing off of flipping sewing machines on eBay. The possibilities are endless!
10. Real Estate
Becoming a real estate agent is another great way to earn some extra income along with more travel rewards. Because you’ll have expenses like advertising, agency fees, licensing fees, and travel costs.
It can be especially lucrative if you have a lot of close relationships with the folks in your community, and you’re good at sales!
If it’s something you’re considering, be sure to check out this post about our favorite credit cards for real estate agents.
With a part-time business, you can not only make money, but also save more and earn travel rewards that much faster!
Consider side hustles like baking, selling art on Etsy, driving for a rideshare service, and more!
Just be sure to use the right card to make the most of common business expenses like advertising, supplies, gas, and groceries. And you’ll be on your way to your dream vacation sooner than you think!
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)