Daniel Sciberras claims he could earn enough frequent flier points by Easter to get a family of four free flights to Hawaii.
It’s a big claim.
And it comes with some caveats.
Daniel is the spokesperson for Points Hacks, a website that aims to teach Australians how to accumulate and use their frequent flier points so they can get maximum value.
To get to Hawaii, a family of four would need 285,000 frequent flier points.
Daniel says anyone looking to maximise their points earn should alter their spending habits and stay alert. Here’s what you need to know about earning more frequent flier points.
The biggest chunk of that 280,000 total will come from credit cards. Earning that amount of frequent flier points from everyday shopping or buying would take a long time. You need to search for credit cards that offer a sign-up bonus of bulk frequent flier points.
“These days they are offering 120,000 Qantas points in one hit,” Daniel says.
Many cards also offer lounge passes, which can be a nice bonus if you are planning a holiday. The latest card – American Express Frequent Flier Black will get you 100,000 points, lounge passes and a $400 travel credit.
If both adults in a household individually apply for the card, you both get the bonus points as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. Now you’re up to 200,000 of the 280,000 points needed to get to Hawaii.
What’s the catch? Many of these credit cards will have a high annual fee and a higher interest rate. The card mentioned above has a fee of $395 per year. You will need to be diligent about paying the card off each month. These cards also have a minimum spend requirement to get the bonus points – sometimes $4000 in the first three months.
You also need to calculate whether the bonus point haul is worth the annual fee.
“If you are looking at having to pay an annual fee of $200 or more, you would want the bonus points to be at least 80,000 or more,” Daniel says. “Otherwise, you are paying a hefty fee. If you are only going to get 40,000 points, you should look for a credit card with a small annual fee or a $0 annual fee. “
Compare the points haul and the annual fee to the cost of a cheap Jetstar flight, not just to a Qantas or Virgin flight. Sometimes you may be better off buying budget flights for the cost of the annual fee on that card.
Many credit cards will wave the annual fee or offer a reduced fee for the first year. Some offer cash back, which brings the fee back down to the same as a mid-level card.
A lot of the savvy frequent fliers credit card churn: “you get a credit card, get the bonus points and then cancel it before the annual fee”.
Most credit cards have an exclusion period. If you get a card and you then cancel it, you may have to wait 12-18 months before you can apply again.
“But there’s nothing stopping you from applying for a card, collecting the bonus points and then cancelling it and getting a different one with more sign up bonus points,” Daniel says.
The only thing to consider is that every time you apply for a credit card, it will be a credit enquiry. That could affect your credit score and your ability to get a home loan or other lines of credit.
“Just be careful and sensible about it. Since the 1st of January it is going to get a bit tougher, they will look at your credit limits”
Reward Haul: 120,000 x 2 = 240,000
Trying to decide between Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon? Like the idea of meal planning?
“With Hello Fresh you can earn 5000 points on your first purchase, you can earn another 5000 bonus points on the second box and a further 5000 points when you order your tenth,” Daniel says.
What’s the catch?
You have to continue with Hello fresh for at least 10 box orders. You should check whether the meals are right for you. Will the kids enjoy them? Will it really save you time? Does it cost more than just doing groceries at Coles or Woolworths? And would you be missing out on more bonus points from not shopping at the supermarket?
Reward Haul: 5000 x 3 = 15,000
Some banks offer bonus frequent flier points on home loans.
“Virgin Money earns you 10,000 Velocity Points for every $100,000 you borrow, plus 30,000 points every three years you are a customer,” Daniel says.
“At Macquarie Bank, Qantas Frequent Flyer members are eligible to earn 80,000 points up until 31 March 2019 when your application of at least $150,000 is approved. You can also earn 25,000 Qantas Points on the third and fifth anniversaries of your loan.”
What’s the catch?
It’s a home loan. You need to have a great credit rating to get one at the moment. You always need to check the rate and the cost, not just over one year, but over the lifetime of the loan. An 80,000 reward haul could cost you thousands in extra interest. So shop around and find the best deal. If that comes with bonus frequent flier points, then do it.
Reward Haul: 80,000
You could be earning frequent flier points every time you shop online. But to do it, you need to go through the airline websites.
Qantas has Qantas Shopping. Velocity has the Velocity E-store.
“Log in and make sure you have cookies enabled to be tracked, go to that particular retailer and hit shop now, it will take you to that website and then you are shopping as anyone going direct to that retailer’s website anyway,” Daniel says.
This simple points hack will significantly increase your frequent flier points earn.
“I bought an Apple watch, and instead of getting two points per dollar, I got six,” Daniel says.
“Buying a new iMac Pro can earn you 14,598 Qantas or Velocity Points.”
The trick is to get yourself into a routine and habit when it comes to the online mall. Every time you go to buy something online, check Qantas or Velocity first.
The other way to earn points is to sign up to frequent flier partners such as Woolworths. Check the app for your credit card and the airline. On the Qantas app you can activate bonus offers – use your credit card at any of the retailers and you get bonus points.
What’s the catch?
Always check that you are not spending more than you should just to chase the points. Compare the products you buy and check whether the points haul is worth it.
Reward haul: We will go with 5000 – it depends on how much you buy each month.
The Qantas wellness app gives you points for sleeping. We are not joking. Frequent flier members download the app and set a bedtime routine. At least 30 minutes before your determined bedtime, you need to put the phone down and leave it alone. Do not touch it until the morning.
The Sleep Health Challenge will give you five points per night for a month if you can do it. After that, you will get 0.5 points unless you have a Qantas Health Insurance policy.
What’s the catch?
You are going to have to make sure you put your phone down each night and expect marketing from Qantas for health insurance.
Reward Haul: 5 points X 30 days = 60 points.
You can earn up to 100,000 Qantas Points when you sign up to Qantas Assure health Insurance by 10 February 2019.
Virgin also offers car insurance. You can earn 20,000 bonus Velocity Points and get an additional 5000 points if you hold the insurance for more than 65 days. If the policy is still active six months down the track, you’ll earn another 15,000 points.
What’s the catch?
Check the cost and the inclusions on these policies carefully. You could end up paying more than you should just to collect reward points.
Reward Haul: 100, 000
Electricity and Gas
Families who sign up to a Qantas Red Plus energy plan with Red Energy will earn up to 10,000 and 5000 points for electricity and gas respectively. Link your Frequent Flyer number to the account to start earning 7 Qantas Points per $1 on your bills when you pay on time.
What’s the catch?
Again, you need to carefully asses the cost of this plan. Can you get cheaper gas and electricity elsewhere? Would the money you save over a year or two actually cover the cost of the flights?
Reward Haul: 15,000
Is it worth it?
Certainly, Daniel is right, you can early enough reward points to fly a whole family to Hawaii fairly quickly.
The biggest question is whether you will actually pay more in the cost of the services than the cost of the flights.
“Don’t go and pick a certain product just for the frequent flier points,” Daniel says.
You should only go for a bonus point haul if you have shopped around and it is a good deal.
“Don’t change your spending habits simply on the back of frequent flier points. The general rule of thumb, we value points anywhere between 1.7-2.9 cents per point. If you are paying any more than that, you need to think – is it worth it?”
Too hard? Want to book a package deal? Check out these cheap holiday packages.