Frequent Flyer Points and Travel Hacking: My top 16 tips

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The only way I can describe Frequent Flyer points is AWESOME!

They allow you to travel around the world for a fraction of the price you would have otherwise.If you are interested in personal finance / FIRE, but also love to travel then “point hacking” is for you.

In Australia there are two main programs:

  1. Qantas Frequent Flyer

  2. Velocity Rewards (by Virgin)

They each have their pros and cons. Qantas points are easier to come by, but the taxes are usually lower on Velocity.

Here are my top tips for acquiring and redeeming frequent flyer points:

  1. Take advantage of credit card sign up’s offering stacks of bonus points at a great cents per point rate

  2. Make sure you are eligible for the bonus points (meeting the minimum spend in the time frame and ensuring you haven’t had a card with the lender for a while (usually 12 months, 18 months for Amex and once only for Qantas Money (booo)

  3. Add to your calendar when you should be receiving the points. More than 50% of the time I don’t receive the points when they are due (bank not keeping their word - how surprising #bankingrc)

  4. After you have the bonus points, cancel the card ASAP. This minimises the time until you can apply for a card with the same bank again

  5. Always pay your credit card balance in full so you don’t pay any interest

  6. If you have a mortgage, refinancing can yield a ton of points (a couple of years ago I received 250K velocity points for refinancing)

  7. Frequent Flyer points expire after a period of no account movements (earning points or redemptions)! Qantas after 18 months and Velocity after 24 months

  8. Follow points sites that post more often than I do. www.pointhacks.com.au and www.ausbt.com.au/ are my top two

  9. Do not redeem the points on anything except flights (unless you work for an airline and get cheap flights)

  10. Always analyse the effective cents per point on your redemption. Look up the real price for the flight and take away taxes on the reward flight. Take this number and divide by the number of points to redeem. This is your effective redemption value per point.

  11. Stay in an AirBnB instead of a hotel to save signifcanly

  12. Book ‘classic’ rewards and not any seat

  13. Book your reward seat well in advance or last minute to get better seat availability

  14. If you want to try business or first class, but don’t want to part with thousands of dollars, points can make this achievable. Business class seats generally cost twice as many points as economy. However as I am sure you are aware, business costs much more than twice economy! I just looked up Qantas First class MEL to SIN. On SkyScanner it is $3,378. Using Qantas Points it is 90,000 points plus $325 taxes. This works out to an effective redemption value per point of 3.4 cents. This then values the 250,000 points I received for refinancing at a whopping $8,500!

  15. Always do the numbers to ensure you are acquiring points at a low rate and utilising at a high rate

  16. Make sure you don’t hoard too many points. The points to redeem rewards go up over time, so your points effectively depreciate or have less buying power (like if you leave money in the bank, inflation will reduce your buying power over time)

What do you think? Do you agree wit the tips? Any tips you would add?

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