Frequent Flyer Fun – Earning Points

Howdy all. This one is probably just relevant for those living in Australia, but today I want to discuss the different ways there are to earn Frequent Flyer points, mostly focusing on the ways I have earnt points myself. I belong, I think I’ve said last week, to a few frequent flyer programs, and the chief one I use is Qantas. I also belong to Velocity (for Virgin), Skywards (Emirates) and a couple of others, but really I only earn points on Qantas and Velocity.

I’ve managed to use my points in the past to fly a fair bit, I also used them to get my wife from Melbourne to South America and back last year. But – how did I get enough points? For Qantas, you need 120,000 return to Europe. 30,000 or a little less for places in Asia (this is from Melbourne). So obviously I have used a few hundred thousand points in my time. How did I get sufficient points?

Well, the thing I’ve been keen on is not to put all your eggs in one basket – to find more than one way to earn points. You can earn points various ways – shopping at stores that give you points, staying at hotels that give you points, using a credit card that gives you points for spending, and of course, flying.

Qantas have just had a curious promotion. They now have their own insurance arm, ‘Assure’, and they have a fitness app that gives you points for the number of steps you take. For 28 days, which for me is about to expire, you can earn the points without having to purchase some sort of insurance from them. 6000 points a day gets me 12 points. It’s peanuts but it’s free. I got 150 for joining up and 75 pts if I do 50,000 steps in a week. Plus 50 points if I win a challenge with one of my friends. I can earn up to 1500 points without buying a product – and I’m almost there and it’s kept me walking. So it’s not bad.

If I buy travel insurance with Assure I think it will keep going. However, comparing prices Assure seems to be really quite expensive. Covermore is cheaper, and they offer bonus Velocity Points. So there’s another way. And you double dip if you use an Amex card to pay for the travel insurance that earns points too – I have one that earns 1.5 points per dollar, however, a lot of the banks in Australia and breaking off their associations with American Express, and this will only be valid a few more months.

This meant I needed a new credit card.  And there were plenty to choose from. I ended up with one which gave me 100,000 points for getting it – provided that I spend a certain amount of money in 3 months. Which is standard – well not THAT many points. But there are more cards out there than you realize. Some will wave the first year’s fee, some discount it. Some people work the system by finding ones that give you a pocket full of points to get them, with no fee for the first year or a discounted fee, and get rid of before the 12 months is up. And then find a new one with a similar deal.

Getting a good deal on point via credit cards requires a bit of caution, but it’s also a really good way to inject a huge boost into your points balance in one big hit. On top of that the credit cards give you points for each dollar you spend. American Express is the best for this, one card I have gives me 1.5 points per dollar, another 1.25. My Visa card gives me 0.5 points per dollar for the first $500 in the month and then drops down to 0.25 points.

Qantas give you several ways to use and earn points on a variety of products like insurance and car rental. I buy wine from Qantas. It sounds silly but they often offer a number of points for buying a case of wine. I’ll only buy it if I think I will like the wine, and it makes for good presents, but last month I collected 7,500 Qantas points for 12 bottles of a really nice white. At around $20AUD a bottle.

Of course, flying was the original way to gain points, and it still works however you don’t get the same amount as you used to. The key here is to fly with airlines that are connected – like One World partners which Qantas is aligned to. You fly Qantas or another airline in One World, and you can get Qantas points. If you do a lot of flying, it’s good to stick to one program if you can because your points will build faster. A small portion of points in a bunch of different frequent flyer programs in not much use to anyone.

Now we have the loyalty rewards programs here in Australia for the two largest supermarket chains. Woolworths have Woolworths rewards, which I use. They frequently throw specials and bonus points at you – you’ll need to put up with the emails, and activate the offers when they are on, but it can work out really well. 2000 points convert to 870 Qantas points, but you have to choose this option or you get $10 off a shop when you get to 2000 points.

Flybuys – for Coles – is similar, but the points will convert to Etihad or Velocity points, at exactly the same rate. These rewards systems also work at affiliated stores and petrol station. So you have heaps of opportunities to build your points balance. Then you pay for it on your credit card which gets you points as well.

So there you go, I think that’s mostly covered the way I earn points. I’m hoping to get to 240,000 by 2019 which would get my wife and I to Europe and back. If I book when Qantas run a promotion (usually around July) I might not need so many – they’ve run a promotion once a year for the last two years when you can save 20% of your points when booking –  that would mean only 200,000.

I hope that this info is useful – even if you’re not living in Australia, I imagine there are similar schemes across the world. This website – point hacks – has a lot of useful information and links to rewards credit cards, check it out! Thanks for reading and May the Journey Never End!

 

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