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How to hack your way to a family holiday

Lucy Dean

Tropical weather, fruity cocktails and … expensive flights. It’s a problem facing a lot of Aussie families yearning for an island escape, but savvy points redeemers can find solutions.

Holiday-makers could earn free return flights to a major island by March next year for their whole family, if they’re smart with their points, frequent flyer points platform, Point Hacks has said.

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“Fiji, Thailand and Bali are some of the best travel destinations to get awards flights for, as the points requirements are relatively low and flights are generally available,” Point Hacks’ spokesperson, Daniel Sciberras said.

“The first step to achieving the required points is to set up your strategy: join your chosen rewards program, assess the credit cards that will earn you the most points – keeping in mind the annual fees – and get your whole household involved in leveraging your normal household spending into point earnings over the next six months.

“Then use any combination of our hacks to boost your points further. Be aware that you can earn the required points in six months, but the transfer of those points into airline rewards may take another month.”

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For a family of four to fly economy from Sydney or Melbourne to Fiji, Thailand or Bali, families will need to accrue between 145,000 and 225,000 points. It sounds like a lot, but according to Point Hacks, it can be done.

Walk me through it

  1. Get the family involved

Supplementary rewards credit cards for you and your partner, or family pooling strategies could help you on your way. Qantas and Velocity allow family members to transfer 5,000- 600,000 and 5,000-500,000 respectively, while Velocity also allows savers to set up family members as contributors and you as beneficiaries so you earn points as they fly.

2. Switch to a rewards card

The NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card and the St. George Amplify Signature Visa card both offer 90,000 bonus Qantas Points to new cardholders, while the Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Card offers up to 80,000 bonus points.

However, savers should be careful to ensure they’re not paying the price for a rewards card. Recent research from Mozo revealed the average rewards credit card is delivering just $21 in rewards, after an annual fee of $182.

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3. Look for higher-earning cards

AMEX generally offers the highest point-earning cards but it’s not widely accepted, so savers may also need a Visa or Mastercard. However for every $1 spent on the AMEX Explorer Credit Card, savers can transfer up to 1.5 Velocity Points or KrisFlyer Miles. The AMEX Qantas Premium card also offers 1.25 Qantas Points for every dollar spent.

The same warning applies here; savers should be careful to ensure their points card is actually worth the effort. The Mozo research revealed the average return enjoyed by rewards card-holders has fallen 70 per cent in the last two years.

4. What about an everyday transaction account that earns points?

Point Hacks suggested savers pick a transaction account to deposit your pay into and for daily transactions.

“The BankWest Qantas Transaction Account will earn you 12 Qantas Points for every $100 in savings kept in your account, and 5 points each time you use the debit card – a great option for small purchases like a $3.50 morning coffee,” Point Hack’s experts said.

“If you have $5,000 deposited into your account each month, and use your card every day, you could earn around 4500 points in six months.”

5. Join a shopping rewards program

This way, you’ll earn points as you shop. Based on a $2,00 monthly spend at Coles, earners will accrue 5,220 points in six months.

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6. And shop through partner retailers

The experts suggested savers shop through retailers with airline partnerships, like Qantas’ Woolworths, BWS, BIG Q and Caltex Woolworths service stations.

7. And look at their online sites too

“Qantas Mall and Velocity eStore offer high point earnings on every dollar spent on numerous popular sites such as eBay, David Jones, Woolworths, Country Road, Priceline Pharmacy, Menulog and Cotton On.

“Log in with your rewards membership, choose the retailer, get directed to their shopping site and you can shop online as normal to earn two-10 points for every $1 spent, depending on the retailer.”

8. Earn points for getting home delivery.

Yup! Deliveroo offers 1,000 Qantas Points when users sign up and an extra 200 for ordering four times a month. That’s 2,200 points in six months.

9. Look at your energy plan

“Switch your household energy plan to Energy Australia through the Velocity program and earn up to 10,000 points, then 2000 anniversary points each year,” the experts suggested.