How to earn more points and maximize elite status benefits by double dipping
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Here at TPG, we’re all about maximizing every dollar you spend. Often, that’s accomplished by tailoring the credit card you’re using to the purchase you’re making for the highest possible return. But sometimes, you can go a step further.
Enter “double dipping,” or the practice of earning two different types of points on a single transaction. Taking advantage of double-dipping opportunities will help you accelerate your points-earning, putting you that much closer to your dream award trip. Below, we’ve outlined some of our top double dips that you can (and should!) work into your everyday points practices.
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1. Shopping portals
One of the simplest ways to double dip is to use shopping portals for your online purchases. These third-party sites partner with a variety of retailers to give you points, miles or cash back when you click through their links. This is in addition to the points and miles you earn from putting the transaction on your credit card, so you earn one bonus from the portal and another from your card.
No matter what type of points you’re trying to earn, there’s likely a portal out there that will suit your needs. Several airlines and hotel chains have their own portals, as does Ultimate Rewards. Meanwhile, Rakuten allows you to receive your earnings in the form of American Express Membership Rewards points as an alternative to its usual cash back.
2. Restaurant rewards programs
Dining out can be a lucrative activity by itself, with cards such as the American Express® Gold Card offering 4 points per dollar on restaurant purchases. But it’s also an opportunity to double dip using airline and hotel dining rewards programs.
Once you register, participating restaurants will award you points or miles automatically when you pay for a meal with a linked credit card. Once again, these earnings are on top of the points or miles you net just for making the purchase on your credit card.
There’s just one key thing to remember: Each of your credit cards can only be registered for one dining program, so you can’t earn through two airline or hotel programs for a single purchase.
3. Earn more with Uber and Lyft
Whether you use Uber or Lyft, you can make your rides more valuable by linking certain rewards accounts to earn points on every ride.
With Lyft, you have a choice between linking your Hilton Honors account to earn 3 points per dollar on solo rides and 2 points per dollar on shared rides or linking your Delta SkyMiles account to earn 1 point per dollar on all rides.
With Uber, meanwhile, you can link your Marriott Bonvoy account to earn 6 points per dollar on Uber Eats orders of $25 or more delivered to a hotel in Marriott’s portfolio; 3 points per dollar on rides with UberXL, Uber Comfort, Uber SUV and Uber Black; and 2 points per dollar on all other Uber Eats orders above $25.
Make sure you’re also using a credit card with a great return on travel purchases, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which earns triple points on all travel purchases. Plus, the card earns 10 points per dollar on Lyft purchases through March 2022.
Make your Airbnb stays more valuable by booking them through Delta's or British Airways’ online portals. Simply choose a program and click the booking button on its dedicated Airbnb page to rack up extra miles. You’ll earn 1 SkyMile per dollar if you go through Delta and 2 Avios per dollar if you book through BA, so expensive Airbnb bookings can quickly add up to award flights.
Like Uber and Lyft, make sure to pay with a card that earns a bonus on travel purchases to maximize your points-earning.
5. Earn bonus United miles with MileagePlus X
This app provides endless double-dipping possibilities for those looking to rack up United miles. It awards you with bonus miles for buying electronic gift cards through the app, which you can later use either online or in person at shops and restaurants.
The deal is even sweeter for those who hold a cobranded United credit card, like the United Explorer Card. If you link your United card to the app, you’ll earn a 25% bonus in miles for every gift card you buy, whether or not you use that card to pay for the purchase.
The best part? With MileagePlus X, you can actually take things to the next level for a triple dip: Simply buy a gift card through the app — earning points from the app and points for the transaction on your credit card — and then use that gift card to make an online purchase while utilizing a shopping portal. Hard to do better than that!
6. Leverage the American Airlines and Hyatt Partnership
American Airlines and Hyatt have a partnership offering reciprocal points-earning to elite loyalty program members. Hyatt elites can earn 1 bonus point per dollar spent on qualifying American flights, while American elites can earn 1 bonus point per dollar spent on qualifying Hyatt stays — all on top of the points and miles they’d normally earn when flying American or staying at a Hyatt.
Luckily, it doesn’t take much to nab Hyatt elite status. Just take out the World of Hyatt Credit Card for automatic Discoverist status to participate.
7. Or, give RewardsPlus a go
Long before Hyatt and American joined forces, United and Marriott were partnering to offer their members elevated benefits and bonus points through the RewardsPlus program.
With this program, United Gold (or higher) elites automatically receive Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status, while Marriott Titanium and Ambassador elites automatically receive United Premier Silver status. Given how easy it is for anyone to get Marriott Gold status (take out The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, for example), it’s clear that top-tier Marriott elites got the better end of this deal. Enrollment required for select benefits.
In addition to reciprocal elite benefits, all members — regardless of status(or higher) enjoy a 10% bonus when transferring Marriott points to United. This is on top of the standard 5,000-mile bonus awarded for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred, so if you’re transferring in 60,000-point increments, this brings your ratio up to 3:1.35.
8. Hyatt and MGM Rewards
Sticking with hotel programs, another interesting double-dip opportunity can be found in Las Vegas.
Back in 2013, Hyatt and MGM Resorts in Las Vegas partnered up to create an easy way to earn (and redeem) points at luxurious properties on the Strip. Through this partnership, World of Hyatt members can earn points (and elite credits) for stays at participating MGM properties, including Mandalay Bay, Bellagio and Vdara. You can also earn MGM Rewards tier credits for these stays.
All members can opt in to an elite status match using the following chart:
|World of Hyatt status||MGM Rewards tier|
You’ll also have access to on-property benefits courtesy of your matched MGM Rewards status, including room upgrades, priority check-in and VIP line access to nightclubs and pool areas. Not a bad way to enjoy Sin City.
9. Retail loyalty programs
While they won’t get you first-class tickets or luxury hotel stays, many sports retailers, restaurants, office supply stores and pet supply stores offer loyalty programs that you can maximize when making purchases. Most of these programs give you rewards in the form of future discounts (e.g., spend $100 and get a $5 coupon) on top of the standard earnings you’d get from using your credit card.
If you aren’t familiar with these programs, you can check out our list of the nine most underrated loyalty programs.
10. Amex Offers
The Amex Offers program might just be one of the most underrated and rewarding things about being an American Express cardholder. These offers generally come in one of three forms:
- Spend $X, get Y number of bonus points.
- Spend $X, get $Y back.
- Get X additional points for each dollar you spend at a select merchant.
If you take advantage of one or two of these deals each year, you can easily recoup the annual fees on most of your Amex cards. You can also stack these with many of the other “dips” on this list to create a double dip or triple dip. For example, stack an Amex Offer at a nearby restaurant with a dining rewards program or an online purchase with a shopping portal.
For more information on how to load these offers to your card and redeem them correctly, you can check out this guide. Eligibility for these offers is limited, and enrollment is required in the Amex Offers section of your account before redeeming.
It's also worth noting that Chase, Citi and other credit card issuers have their own merchant rewards programs. These aren't usually as lucrative as Amex Offers, but are worth keeping in mind if you have cards from multiple issuers. Check out our complete guide to credit card merchant reward programs for more info.
There are plenty of great ways to rack up points and miles quickly, but everyday spending often gets overlooked as one of them. With double dipping as a part of your strategy, you’ll build your account balances quicker and get that much closer to your next award trip.
Feature photo by JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images.