Chances are you’re already earning Qantas or Virgin Australia frequent flyer points on the things you do every day, but why not make it your New Year’s resolution to really push that to the max?
Here are our top five ways to boost your frequent flyer points without spending a dollar more.
1. “Do you take American Express?”
American Express cards typically earn more points per dollar than their Visa or MasterCard counterparts, so asking that simple question could double or even triple your points haul.
To compare, the NAB Velocity Rewards Premium AMEX reels in 1.5 frequent flyer points per dollar spent, while the attached Visa earns just half a point per dollar.
At those rates, a $250 transaction would amass 375 frequent flyer points on the American Express or a mere 125 points on the Visa, so don’t commit a ‘frequent flyer faux pas’ by swiping your Visa when you could be using your AMEX.
You’re of course bound to encounter the odd American Express surcharge – and need to decide if it’s worth the extra points you’ll pick up – but you’ll find that most major retailers and many independent outlets and restaurants accept the card surcharge-free.
2. Use the right card at the right time
Don’t just settle for a store that accepts your AMEX – many cards also deliver bonus points at various merchants, so investigate where you could be earning more and then spend accordingly.
It’s common for direct-earning Qantas or Virgin Australia frequent flyer credit cards to deliver an extra point per dollar spent on airfares with the respective airline: an easy one to remember as the airline logo likely appears on your credit card.
Groceries, petrol, restaurant dining and transactions made overseas are also great ways to earn extra points if you have the right credit cards.
For example, HSBC’s Qantas Platinum Visa awards double points on all foreign spend, the Qantas American Express Ultimate card serves up three points per dollar at restaurants and the American Express Platinum Edge gives triple points at supermarkets and double points at the bowser.
3. Look for ways to ‘double dip’
After optimising your credit cards, it’s time to explore ways to ‘double dip’ on frequent flyer points – that is, earning points from both a merchant directly and also your credit card.
Heading to the shops? Buy what you can from Woolworths, Big W and BWS, swipe your Everyday Rewards card and pick up between 0.5 and one Qantas Point per dollar spent (above $30) atop what you’d normally earn on your frequent flyer plastic.
That $30 shop at Woolies also gives you a fuel voucher that can later be swapped for two Qantas Points per litre when you fill up your tank at Caltex Woolworths outlets – again in addition to your usual credit card earn.
Another oft-overlooked way of earning extra points is to make your restaurant reservations via the Qantas or Velocity websites for a bonus 150 Qantas Points per diner or 300-500 Velocity points per booking.
4. Shop online via the Qantas Mall and Velocity eStore
Among the list of partners are big name retailers such as Apple, Microsoft, David Jones, eBay, Macy’s and Adairs – all of which dish out bonus points with either one or both airlines.
Buying an iPhone 6? The 64GB version retails for $999 and can be bought at the Apple Store: a frequent flyer partner of both Qantas and Velocity.
At two points per dollar, that doubles to an easy 1,998 points with either airline, plus what you’d earn by paying for the latest pocket gadget with your points-earning credit card.
(Note that some Apple products can also be bought through David Jones, which earns you 5 Qantas points per dollar compared to just 2 Qantas points per dollar at the Apple store.)
5. Choose an airline alliance and stick with it
Where price and schedule permits, always opt for the same airline and their web of partners to build a sizeable points balance in a single frequent flyer account – making it easier to unlock business and first class awards and upgrades.
For Qantas loyalists, that means flying with the Red Roo, Emirates, Fiji Airways and Oneworld member airlines such as British Airways, American Airlines and Cathay Pacific.
In the Velocity camp, book instead with Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Delta, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, Hawaiian Airlines and Airberlin – all of which award Virgin Australia Velocity points.
Where travel with another airline is necessary, look for Star Alliance members such as United, Thai Airways and Air Canada, which also allow you to earn Velocity points indirectly through Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer scheme.
And as you begin to travel more, you’ll generally build status credits and climb the frequent flyer ladder, unlocking perks such as even more points when you fly, along with other niceties such as lounge access and priority boarding.
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