There’s something strangely thrilling about watching your frequent flyer points increase; it’s almost as exciting as seeing your savings account tick over. The promise of free stuff is a massive drawcard, with most of us trying our best to score everything from free flights to lounge access to discounted accommodation.
According to independent rewards platform Point Hacks, 2019 is set to be a massive year for point-earners, with the launch of rewards credit card deals, airline cabin upgrades, and new airport lounges dominating the travel news space.
So, how do we accrue more points, and fast? Here are our top 5 frequent flyer hacks you need to know about.
#1 Compare Credit Cards
Credit cards have to be the fastest way of earning frequent flyer points, so researching the pros and cons of a variety of card providers is a good place to start. Most will offer a points bonus when you sign up, and then you earn additional points for every dollar you spend on your card. But before you jump at the biggest shiniest offer, be sure to check the annual fees and interest rates and make sure they don’t outweigh the benefits.
#2 Choose The Right Frequent Flyer Program
When choosing a frequent flyer program, first look at all the different ways you can earn points, as well as the airline’s partners. For example, Qantas is part of the OneWorld alliance, which means you can also earn points when you fly with any airline that is part of the group. These include Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Qatar and American Airlines, to name but a few. And depending on your frequent flyer status, you can receive benefits including priority boarding, extra baggage allowance, and access to business class lounges using your points. Most programs also have arrangements with hotels, car rental services, and holiday tour groups, so you can earn extra points simply by booking through these partners.
#3 Shop With Retail Partners
Once you’re a part of a frequent flyer member program, you can collect points by shopping with retail partners. Just be sure to read the fine print, as you may have to shop through the program website rather than directly with the retailer. Currently, Qantas is affiliated with big brand names such as David Jones, The Iconic, and Apple, while Virgin has program partners including ASOS, Appliances Online, and Bonds. Just when we thought shopping couldn’t get any more tempting…
#4 Pool Your Points
Pooling points with family members is an excellent way of increasing your points count, faster. Depending on the airline you can transfer frequent flyer points into one account, reaping bigger rewards for everyone in a much shorter timeframe. Upgrade to business class? Why yes, thank you. Just be sure to check for any restrictions around transfers, as there can be a limit on the number allowed per year.
#5 Watch Out For Expiration Dates
As unfair as it might seem, some frequent flyer points have an expiration date, particularly if you’re not active enough in the program. Qantas points won’t expire so long as you earn or use points at least every 18 months, whereas Singapore Airline Krisflyer points will expire 36 months after they are accrued. That said, the thought of not travelling for three years is probably scarier than losing your points. However, if it’s looking like you might come close to losing your hard-won points, check out some last minute deals for flights. Often business and first class seats become available at a discounted rate as the flight date nears if not booked out, and who doesn’t love a spontaneous trip with a nice upgrade? And if all else fails, get a frequent flyer linked credit card so you can earn points while on the ground.
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Image credit: Ross Parmly