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EXPLAINED: How to fly for free via point-hacking

There are seven ways to live like this for free. (Image: Getty)

There are people who fly to exotic locations for free – or almost free – but they’re not doing anything extraordinary for this privilege.

Travellers who use deliberate strategies to accumulate large totals of frequent flyer points are called "point hackers". But how do they do it?

Expert from website, Daniel Sciberras, said that harvesting a lot of frequent flyer points need not take extreme effort.

"It’s all about working smarter, not harder," he said. "You can incorporate point earnings into your daily routine by leveraging credit card spending.

"However, it’s important that you pay off credit card bills on time so you aren’t incurring interest at the expense of earning points – a habit that the majority of our community do."

Sciberras revealed to Yahoo Finance eight secrets to point-hacking for our readers to practise every day:

1. Join a shopping rewards program

This is one of the easiest ways to earn flyer points while not doing anything differently day-to-day, said Sciberras.

"When you shop at Woolworths, BWS and Big W, you’ll earn one Woolworths reward point for every $1 spent. Collect 2,000 of these points, and you can convert them to 1,000 Qantas points."

At Coles, Target, Kmart and Liquorland, the Flybuys program offers a similar deal, with 2,000 points able to be converted into 870 Virgin Australia Velocity points.

"On a $2,000 monthly spend, this equates to 5220 points in six months, with Flybuys also frequently offering bonus points offers."

2. Switch electricity or gas provider 

Some energy plans dangle airline points as a sign-up incentive.

"If you’re a Qantas frequent flyer member and sign up for their Red Plus energy plan, you’ll earn up to 7 points for every $1 spent on your bill when you pay on time," Sciberras said.

"Plus, when you sign up, you’ll instantly score 10,000 points for electricity and 5000 points for gas."

3. Get a new credit card with bonus points 

This is a way to bag a whole pile of points in one go. 

Yahoo Finance last week reported an American Express card that hands out 100,000 Qantas points for new customers. This is enough to redeem both a flight to London and Los Angeles.

Sciberras recommends going for a credit card that's offering a high amount of sign-up bonus points and a conversion rate of at least one airline point per $1 spent.

"For example, the ANZ Frequent Flyer credit card gives you 120,000 bonus Qantas points when you spend $4,000 on the card within the first 3 months.

"You will earn one point per $1 up to $7,500 per statement period, and 0.5 Qantas Point per $1 after that, and also receive $275 cash back on the annual fee in the first year (ie effective annual fee of $150), discounted Qantas Club membership plus two additional complimentary Qantas Club passes."

4. Shop at partner retailers

Between Qantas and Virgin Australia, there are many retailers that offer points in return for purchases.

"When you shop on Qantas Shopping, you could earn points through spending at David Jones, where you’ll earn five points per $1 spent. 

"Through the Velocity e-Store, you can earn four points for every $1 spent at The Iconic. Look out for bonus point offers as well throughout the year, such as the current double Velocity points promotion at the Velocity e-Store until 10 March 2020."

5. Get fit!

Signing up to a gym membership or buying exercise equipment is a great way to bag a bunch of airline points, according to Sciberras.

"Become a member at any Virgin Active Australia club to receive 3000 Velocity points if you visit at least three times per week for the first 12 weeks," he told Yahoo Finance.

"Alternatively, workout from home and earn six Qantas Points for every $1 spent shopping at PTP on resistance bands, core balls and pilates accessories."

6. Watch a movie

One particular cinema rewards program has an excellent conversion rate to airline points.

"Become a Hoyts Rewards Plus member to earn two Qantas Points for every $1 spent on your movie ticket or at the candy bar," said Sciberras.

"Plus, you’ll get 500 points on your birthday and a choice of a small popcorn or choc top for no cost at all."

7. Wine and dine 

Eating and drinking could land you frequent flyer points, believe it or not.

"Next time you’re planning a dinner out with friends or family, use the Qantas Restaurants portal to earn 100 points per person per booking, every time you dine," Sciberras told Yahoo Finance.

"This means if you book a table for eight, you’ll earn 800 Qantas points."

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