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Chasing miles and status can be an expensive venture, but most of us who have become passionate about it have, at one time or another, had a job that allowed us to bank those points and miles at no cost to us. Often surrounded by other points obsessed co-workers, it’s easy to quickly learn the ins and outs of miles, points and status collecting. We’ve come up with a list of the top 10 jobs that can potentially earn you the most miles and points.
1. Consultant: Probably one of the most common jobs for earning points and miles, this is also quite a broad category ranging from management and finance to IT and tech companies. As a consultant, you are often traveling to various cities, sometimes for months at a time. Your flights, hotels, rental cars and meals are paid for. Other expenses are often paid for, such as cabs to and from the airport in your home city or your costs of using in-flight internet. Expenses that aren’t reimbursed can be covered by your daily per diem. All the expenses are paid for by the company you are consulting for. These types of jobs can be particularly lucrative if your company allows you to use a personal card for charging your expenses. Many large companies offer great corporate cards, though. Some top companies (like Goldman Sachs) allow their employees to receive an American Express Platinum as their corporate card. So, not only can you earn your airline and hotel miles while traveling, you also earn your American Express Membership Rewards on all purchases on your corporate card. On the flip side, there are some companies that do not allow employees to keep any points and miles earned. As they paid for it, they believe the company should bank the miles to use for later redemption for other employees.
2. Entrepreneur: One of the most obvious choices is owning your own business. You’ll have all sorts of business expenses, such as office supplies, internet and travel expenses to and from clients that can be placed onto your business credit card, which, hopefully, is a points earning card! Especially if you have a card, like the Chase Ink Plus, you can earn 5X points at office supply stores and on cable/internet/phone charges! You can also pay any invoices with your credit card (as long as the vendor accepts them) and can even pay employees and contractors with third party companies like Bluebird, Amazon Payments or Venmo.
3. Interior Designer: Depending on how an interior designer works, they have the ability to earn hundreds of thousands of miles on their credit card every year. In order to get industry discounts and pricing, designers are often mandated to pay for items on their credit cards (to avoid people giving their discounts to anyone who simply knows their name). These rules mean that designers have to buy all of the products for their clients homes on their credit cards, which can be quite lucrative depending on the project! As long as a designer is trusting enough of their clients to pay their invoices in a timely manner, a designer can place all these charges onto their personal credit card, earning all those points.
4. Travel Agent/Planner: I know what you’re thinking. But, yes, travel agents DO still exist! And according to this article travel booked through travel agents reached nearly $95 billion in sales in 2011, or almost one-third of the US travel market. As a travel agent, you already have the insider information on best ways to maximize travel. You know which cities are busy and when their off-season is. This allows you to maximize your spending for best locations at the best time. Aside from that, though, many hotel chains and cruise lines offer massive discounts to travel agents in the hopes that if they enjoy their stay, they will recommend that hotel or cruise to their clients. When your job is based on travel, many of your travel expenses can be written off on your taxes. If you take a trip to see a new property that you are considering sending clients to, that trip can be written off, as it is research for your business. You want to be able to accurately recommend properties to clients. Now, depending on the hotel chain, you may not be able to earn points on a discounted stay, but never hurts to look into it. Many will give you your stay points. While we are all about maximizing your points and miles, who can really say no to a heavily discounted trip?
5. Meeting/Event planner: Much like an interior designer, if you are an event planner who is willing to take on a client’s financial responsibility, you can earn some major credit card points, but depending on your credit limits and even just your comfort level, this may not be a possibility. There are still other great ways to earn points. Many hotels have “planner points” which they will offer in exchange for booking events at their hotel or sometimes even for just booking a block of rooms at their hotel. These are often treated similarly to your regular hotel rewards points and can be redeemed for free stays at associated properties. In addition, if you are planning events outside of your home base, you will acquire flight miles when traveling to and from the actual event, as you will need to be there to oversee the event. These costs should be either paid for by the client, or covered by your fees. Fingers crossed you get to plan an event in Tahiti! See also: How To Earn Hotel Points With Meetings
6. Actor/Model: Of course, we always think of actors and models living fabulous, jet setter lifestyles. In fact, I ran into Heidi Klum flying in first class on a recent flight and you KNOW she didn’t pay for that flight. But did you know that even the non-celebrity actors and those just starting out in their careers can earn some serious miles while traveling? One common way is theater actors on a national tour. Much like consultants, actors on a national tour are constantly living out of hotels and flying between various cities. Flights are always paid for by the producers, but hotels and meals are covered by weekly per diem, therefore booked on your own credit card. For film and TV actors, you can be flown to various destinations for a few days to a few months. Flights and hotels all paid for by the producers. In fact, SAG-AFTRA, the union which protects actors in film and TV, actually has clauses stating that if you are flying an actor over 1,000 miles, you must fly them first class! Not such a bad perk. Models are also flown all around the world for their photo shoots and to cities like New York, Milan, Paris and Tokyo for all the various fashion weeks around the world. The travel expenses are generally covered by the company who hires you.
7. Specialty Lawyers: Working for a large national or international law firm will, of course, provide travel benefits. When working on the huge cases, you can be in a hotel for months. I knew a lawyer who was representing a company in a massive, multi-million dollar lawsuit and she was put up in a hotel, away from her base city for the entire four months of the trial. Talk about racking up some serious hotel points! Working on the legal team for a company is also a great way to earn those miles. Especially with all the huge tech companies, there are constantly new companies popping up and needing lawyers to help, from the ground up. Many of these companies go on to open offices around the country, and internationally. Many companies are also foreign based and opening up offices in the United States. Let’s say you work for a company based in London and you’re hired out of New York where they decide to open their US base. You will, undoubtedly, be shuttling back and forth between NYC and London. Like consulting, many of your other expenses are covered, such as meals and hotels while away from your home base. Whether using a company card, receiving a per diem or submitting receipts for reimbursement, there is plenty of potential for credit card points earning.
8. Retail/Fashion Buying and Production: Fashion is a global industry. Whether you’re Anna Wintour or a buyer or working in production, you deal with people from all around the world. A retail or fashion buyer needs to attend trade shows or fashion shows, in which the items they are expected to buy for their own store will be shown off. Whether it’s a fashion show in Paris or a trade show in Los Angeles, your travel expenses should be paid for by the company sending you to buy. Similarly, working in production means you help to oversee the production of your company’s products. So, let’s say you work for a clothing company, several of your fabrics are produced in Peru and items are assembled in China. You would need to go to Peru to check in on the production of the fabrics and make sure that everything is running smoothly in those factories then you would also fly to China to check in on those factories. Production is mainly done overseas, so the potential for big rewards travel is huge with production. And, of course, your hotels would also be paid for on your trips.
9. Executive Assistant/Chief of Staff: An executive assistant or chief of staff can be a very demanding job, but the perks can be amazing. If you are working for a very high up executive who requires their assistant with them at all times, this means you would be traveling everywhere your executive is going. And, sometimes, even flying in first class with them. Now, plenty of executives fly private, which would mean no miles for you, but you get to say you’ve flown private and that’s pretty cool. If you are not traveling with your executive, there are still many other ways to earn points and miles as an assistant or chief of staff. As an executive assistant, you are often the one in charge of booking your executive’s travel. If you are lucky enough to have a corporate card with a good points program (like the American Express Membership Rewards or the Chase Ink Bold), then there are some major bonuses there for you. As an executive assistant or chief of staff, you could be helping to plan for office events, everything from making sure there are bagels and coffee at that meeting tomorrow to making sure there is cake for Karen’s birthday to planning the office holiday party. Or even as simple as restocking the supply closets. Well, again, if these purchases are made on your corporate card, more points for you! And we love more points. Several companies even offer assistant kickback programs. For example, opentable.com has a loyalty program for assistants essentially saying, book your executive’s reservations through Open Table and we’ll give YOU a bonus. What if your corporate card doesn’t have a good rewards program? Well guess what? there are still ways to earn points. If your company doesn’t specify where you have to book your executive’s travel plans, you can always book your the travel through travel portals like orbitz.com or hotels.com and earn points on those respective site loyalty programs for yourself. Most companies and executives won’t have a problem with this, as they are still receiving their miles for the actual travel and hotel stays.
10. Investment Banker: While probably not traveling as much as a consultant, certain types of banking jobs will travel more than others. VPs and higher executives will be traveling often, but if you’re younger and just starting out, getting into mergers and acquisitions is a sure way to begin earning those miles and elite statuses. In these positions, you are helping a company to prepare all sorts of management procedures and financial statements before they merge or are sold. Your travel expenses, hotels and meals will be covered while on these job sites. Like many similar jobs previously listed, hopefully you will be able to have a corporate card with great points earning potential.
Do you have any other great jobs that have helped you to earn lots of points and miles? Tell us about them in the comments below.