20 Ways to Rack Up Credit Card Points Without Traveling

Earning points through travel is a no-brainer, but it’s definitely not the only way to rack up valuable rewards.
8 minute read | 7/4/19July 4, 2019
Man filling up the gas tank

There are plenty of ways to earn credit card points that don’t require you to travel the world. Even if you are an avid traveler, most point-earning potential is likely to come from your day-to-day spending habits anyway.

Take a look at the past week, for instance. How often did you buy something? Did you stop for gas on your way to work? Pay any bills? Almost every expense has the potential to earn you credit card rewards — it just takes a little creativity.

While not every option presented below is going to align perfectly with your spending habits, the idea is to recognize everything you’re already spending money on and how you could be maximizing your point-earning potential.

20 ways to earn credit card points without traveling

If you’re not using your credit card as often as possible, you’re likely losing out on earning a significant amount of points. With most rewards credit cards offering at least 1X points on every purchase, make sure to use your card every chance you can.

1. Eat at restaurants and pick up groceries

Self-professed foodies will love the many credit cards that cater to frequent diners, providing generous rewards each time you eat out.

Whether you’re dining out or eating at home, make sure you’re maximizing your earning potential with a credit card that will benefit you every time you’re feeling hungry.

2. Fill the gas tank

Some rewards credit cards offer extra points in certain categories — if it’s a category you spend a lot in, you could rack up points quickly. Unless you’re driving a fully-electric car, filling up your tank is likely something that’s neither rare nor cheap.

Whether you’re commuting to work every day or only filling up once in a while, earning rewards on gas purchases is a must and, with some credit cards, can be a very reliable way to earn points.

3. Pay for parking or Uber

Even if you aren’t hopping on a plane, there are still plenty of opportunities to earn points on local travel. Depending on the card, you could earn points on everything from Uber rides to parking fees.

Some cards offer bonus points for travel purchases, which can include expenses like buses, taxis, tolls, parking lots, and garages. Taking advantage of the extra points for these costs can easily boost your earning capability.

4. Use credit card shopping portals

Many companies team up with credit card issuers and promote their business through a credit card’s online shopping portal, such as Shop through Chase. In addition to any rewards you may already get with the credit card, you can earn bonus points or cash back.

Instead of going directly to a company’s website to buy something, next time check your credit card’s portal first. That way, you’re maximizing every opportunity to earn points from any shopping you’re doing online.

5. Check out special offers and deals

On top of the rewards you might earn in any particular category, many credit cards provide opportunities for you to earn even more with additional offers and benefits. Every American Express credit card, for instance, comes with access to Amex Offers.

x ways to earn credit card points without traveling refresh
Source: American Express

These offers come from a wide variety of merchants and include savings and bonuses on dining, streaming services, clothing stores, hotels, gift card purchases, and more.

6. Refer friends

A credit card that works for you may not work for everyone else, but if you know someone who can qualify and benefit from a particular card, referring them could land you a pretty nice reward. The exact amount you stand to earn varies from lender to lender and from card to card.

7. Max out the sign-up bonus

One of the biggest draws to a new credit card is the sign-up bonus. The spending requirements vary, with higher spending minimums usually leading to more lucrative bonuses. Finding the right card with a threshold you know you can hit is really important, otherwise you could be leaving a significant reward on the table.

Not only do you get the bonus from reaching a certain spending requirement, but you also typically earn points for every purchase that got you there.

8. Add an authorized user

An authorized user can help you accrue more points simply because there’s more spending taking place. If you have someone you can add as an authorized user, you’ll be able to earn points for every purchase they make.

You should only consider adding someone as an authorized user if you trust them because at the end of the day, you’re responsible for everything that happens on your account.

9. Opt into bonus categories

Credit cards that offer rotating bonus categories, such as the Chase Freedom Card, can be a great way to earn what are oftentimes some of the highest earnings rates available. Usually offering 5% cash back, you can opt into these bonus categories and maximize your earnings if you can take full advantage of the rewards calendar.

Each category typically only lasts for three months of the year and could include merchants such as gas stations, restaurants, groceries, ridesharing platforms, and Amazon, to name a few.

10. Get reimbursed by friends or your employer

Before anyone can suggest splitting up the bill after going out with friends, I’m always quick to offer my card to the waiter. Do the same and have your friends Venmo you what they owe afterwards. That way, you can earn points on your meal and theirs.

Similarly, if your employer reimburses you for travel or other business expenses, take advantage of this point-earning opportunity as well. Put these charges on your credit card, not only for the documentation but also for the points.

11. Use the right card for every purchase

Not all credit cards are created equally, so making a conscious choice to use the best card for each situation can be the difference between earning points and missing out on them.

If it makes sense for your finances, consider filling your wallet with multiple cards to cover every aspect of your spending — fuel, dining, groceries, travel, and more. Then use the card that offers the highest rewards for each spending category.

12. Pay your rent

Your rent is likely one of the largest bills you pay every month, so being able to make that payment with your credit card could pocket you a pretty decent amount of points. Whether you can do this or not depends on your property manager, but it may be worth asking about.

Some landlords will allow it but charge an additional fee for paying your rent with a credit card. You should be able to find this information in your lease or on the payment portal if you submit your rent payment online.

There are also platforms like Plastiq, a bill-pay service that allows you to use your credit card for virtually any expense, including rent payments. There is a fee tacked onto the payment, so this may not make sense if the fee is more than the value of the points you may earn.

13. Use an app like Chase Pay and Apple Pay

Chase Pay has made its way into the Chase Freedom’s bonus categories in the past and will likely be included in future bonus categories as well. If you have a mobile phone with this functionality, attach the credit card that offers this service and use it every time you’re checking out at the register.

It not only speeds up the checkout process but can also allow you to earn a little something extra with each purchase.

14. Pay for repairs on your house or car

You may not find any bonus categories targeted at home or car repairs, but a credit card that earns you points on every purchase will allow you to continue racking them up even when your car or house is in need of some fixing.

Even if you’re dealing with a smaller home improvement contractor, it can’t hurt to ask if they accept credit cards as payment for their services.

15. Buy a car with your credit card

The amount varies by lender, but some credit card companies allow cardholders to put a portion of a vehicle purchase on their credit cards.

You may also be able to take advantage of a 0% intro APR (annual percentage rate) offer and put a portion of your vehicle price on your credit card without having to worry about interest payments for a while. Just remember that when the promotional period ends, your APR will likely increase, and this rate could be higher than what you’d find with a normal auto loan.

16. Pay your taxes

If you owe the IRS when tax season rolls around, consider paying the bill with your credit card to earn some points. There may be an additional fee to use a credit card, so make sure you aren’t paying more in fees than any points you’d earn.

The same thing goes for property taxes. Many municipalities have their own sites that allow homeowners to pay property taxes online, but there’s usually a convenience fee to do so. This might make the most sense if you’re able to take advantage of a 0% intro APR offer.

17. Cover insurance bills

Whether it’s renters, homeowners, life, or auto insurance, consider paying your insurance bills with your credit card instead of a checking account to keep earning points.

Some cards might even have special bonus offers for paying an insurance policy with a credit card.

18. Use a credit card to pay for student loans

This may only make sense if you have the cash ready to pay off the loan completely, since federal student loans typically have a better rate than what you’d find on a credit card. If you’re ready to pay off a student loan, see if you can do so with a credit card to earn points, and then pay off the credit card immediately.

Be aware that you might give up certain protections for student loans, such as deferment, loan forgiveness options, death discharge, and disability discharge, if you transfer the debt to a credit card.

19. Fund a new bank account with a credit card

Banks routinely run promotions to attract new customers; you can find sign-up bonus offers just for opening a new checking or savings account, and some banks may allow you to use a credit card to fund it.

If you’re able to use a credit card to deposit money into the account, you can walk away with a nice sign-up bonus and points. However, there may be limits on how much you put on the credit card, and extra fees may apply.

20. Ask for a retention bonus

If you’ve been a loyal customer, it may be worth calling and asking for some sort of retention bonus. If a recent bonus is being promoted for a card you already have, ask if the card issuer can apply the bonus to your account as a way to show their gratitude for having you as a customer. It may not work, but there’s no harm in asking.

Bottom line

Don’t feel like you’re missing out on points if you aren’t the biggest traveler. In fact, most opportunities to earn points are found through day-to-day spending on things like gas, food, and bills. Use a rewards credit card for as many things as possible and always be conscious of which card you’re using where to maximize your earning potential.

Advertising Policy

FinanceBuzz.com is an independent, advertising-supported website. Some of the offers that appear on this page are from third party advertisers from which FinanceBuzz.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear).

FinanceBuzz.com does not include all financial or credit offers that might be available to consumers in the marketplace. FinanceBuzz.com does not include all companies or all available products.

FinanceBuzz has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. FinanceBuzz and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone.