What does being loyal to your credit card provider get you? Zilch. Nudda. Zip.
What does being disloyal get you? If you play your cards right, at least two first-class tickets around the world!!!
We’re about to show you how indulging in a spot of credit card hopscotch can see you notching up those frequent flyers faster than a red-eye flight to Melbourne.
No scams, no tricks, no buying a Porsche with the Amex…we’re talking an easy, straight forward strategy that virtually anyone can do.
How? Let’s start at the beginning…
WHAT ARE FREQUENT FLYERS?
Frequent Flyers (FF) is a Qantas rewards program where you accumulate points called Frequent Flyers. Points can be redeemed for flights, hotels, restaurants and more. You earn points by either flying with Qantas and their partner airlines, shopping at certain places or through the use of a linked credit card.
Now, seeing most of us don’t fly regularly, or like being told where to shop, the key to racking up the FF rests with something we pretty much all have and use – the credit card.
USING THE CREDIT CARD TO EARN POINTS
It’s pretty simple. Spend money, earn points.
Most ‘premium’ credit cards let you earn uncapped points equal to the amount that you spend ($1 = 1 point), while the more ‘basic’ credit cards give 1 point per $2 spent, plus it’s capped at 1000 points per month. This monthly limit doesn’t really affect you too much, as long as you can spread your bigger purchases out a little bit to reap the maximum reward. For example, if you’re looking to buy a $4000 bed, put down a $2000 deposit one month, and pay the outstanding balance the next.
Or, why not get an American Express card as well? Their points are uncapped, making it ideal for those bigger purchases, even cars!
THE BIG FISH – BONUS POINTS
OK, now you’re about to find out how to really send your FF points sky-rocketing.
They’re called Bonus Points, and could account for up to 70% of your FF total.
Think of Bonus Points as the bait that credit cards use to get you to sign up. Bonus Points can range from around 15,000 points up to as high as 75,000 points, and usually only require you to make a single purchase in order to redeem them, like using the card to pay for the groceries.
Now here’s when you can really play the field.
Why just sign up for one credit card, when you can have three or four, each with their own whopping amount of bonus points?
Keep each card for approximately 11 months and then close it, ensuring you don’t pay an annual fee for the start of the second year.
Once a card is closed, simply sign up to the latest FF credit card deal of the moment, reaping in thousands of bonus points again.
Unlike back in the early days of FF, the internet now lets you apply for credit cards online, making the application process much quicker and easier!
JUST HOW MANY POINTS ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
By playing your cards right, you can earn hundreds upon thousands of points by doing little more than changing credit cards annually.
Troy*, 38, from Perth, WA, has been playing the FF game since 1994, and since then has clocked up over 1,000,000 FF points. These points have taken Troy around the world TWICE in first class, and he was also able to fly a relative over from Melbourne in business class.
That’s some seriously good rewards for not a whole lot of effort.
THINGS TO BE AWARE OF
- Stay on top of annual fees – you often can’t avoid the upfront annual fee but make sure you cancel the card before 365 days to avoid paying it again.
- Frequent Flyer points can’t be used to pay the taxes and charges on your airline ticket.
- Keep a check of your credit rating. Apply for multiple credit cards too often and your credit rating can suffer.
- Don’t get sucked into cashing in your FF points for shopping rewards. 420,000 points might get you approximately $4000 to spend at Myer, but it’s much better value cashing them in for a first class ticket around the world.
- There is a joining fee to sign up to the FF program, but you can avoid this by finding a credit card that gives you the membership for free.
- FF points can expire, but only if you don’t earn any additional points within a year, which is quite unlikely.
YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE A GOAL
Before you start piling up the points, take a moment to set yourself a goal, such as “I want to earn a first-class ticket to fly around the world.”
Having a goal can not only help you to see the big picture, but it will also subdue the temptation to cash-in points here and there for items such as electrical goods or short-haul, national flights. These smaller rewards will only set you back in achieving that big holiday of a lifetime (until the next holiday of a lifetime, of course).
That said, if your goal is to simply take one short flight per year, then you’re better off sticking to one simple card, like the Woolworths EveryDay Rewards card, where points are accumulated every time you do the grocery shopping.
WHERE TO GET STARTED
- Citibank has recently come onto the scene with generous FF offers. We’re talking around 60,000 bonus points! Plus, if you’ve got an existing credit card debt and move it to Citibank, you get a 6 month low transfer rate of around 3%. And the best part? Citibank lets you earn UNCAPPED FF points!
- You can amalgamate credit cards like the ANZ Frequent Flyer Visa and American Express into one statement. It’s as convenient as having just one credit card, while the American Express comes in handy for clocking up the points for those big purchases, like an $8000 fridge. While the ANZ FF VISA has capped points, the American Express doesn’t. It’s the best of both worlds!
- The Qantas website shows you the latest FF credit card deals worth checking out – http://www.qantas.com.au/fflyer/dyn/memberSpecials/index
Please share any of your stories or wins you’ve had with travelling around the world on frequent flyers