Purchasing discounted gift cards to "supercharge" loyalty-program rewards points has helped an Aussie mum save a handy $2,000 per year - and now she's using her points to fly her family to Hamilton Island free.
Rewards-scheme devotee and mother of three Julie Wang said she was inspired to embrace the "rewards way of life" at a young age and said people should "always sign up to loyalty programs".
"When I was young, my mother received a $10 Myer gift card from her Myer One loyalty program, and she let me buy chocolate from Myer. Free chocolate! I thought it was amazing," Wang recalled.
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Now a member of no less than 50 loyalty programs, Wang explained to Yahoo Finance Australia that she joined them over a number of years, revealing, "every time I make purchase at a new retailer, I join their loyalty scheme, if they have one".
This first rewards-earned trip for Wang was paid partially with Qantas Frequent Flyer (QFF) points and the remainder with American Express (Amex) points.
Her QFF points were accumulated by using a range of promotions, and the Amex points via credit card transactions, she explained.
Top 5 ways to 'beat the system'
With the rising cost of living affecting families across Australia, many like Wang are focusing on rewards programs for extra hip-pocket savings, but not all are making the most of their memberships.
According to data from gift card company Blackhawk Network, the average Australian is signed up to four or five loyalty schemes, but only 46 per cent of people actively use them.
Yahoo Finance asked Wang what her advice was for fellow consumers when it came to loyalty programs.
1. Understand the benefits
"Have a good understanding of how each retailer's point system works and their conversion from loyalty points to dollar discount.
"For example, 2,000 Everyday Rewards points equals $10, and 2,000 flybuys points equals $10."
2. Join multiple programs
"Always sign up to loyalty programs.
"There are so many out there now, not just retail but insurance companies and even commercial suppliers.
"Few people know this, but they do not call or spam you and most webmail hosts [send] promotional emails to its individual folder, away from your inbox."
3. Keep up to date with promotions
"Do read your promotional emails; just the subjects will do.
"They'll usually indicate whether there is a gift voucher or discount code inside.
"If you think a certain brand has a very beneficial program (for example, birthday gift vouchers, referral vouchers) then get a household member to sign up as well, to take advantage."
4. Buy gift cards at reduced prices
"Purchase gift cards that go on sale.
"Check supermarket catalogues each week. A lot of physical gift cards earn you bonus points, which can be converted to discounts.
"If you are certain you will be purchasing from a particular retailer that has a gift card on discount, purchase the amount that you're likely to make use of."
5. Plan ahead
"Plan and think of ways to increase your discount further.
"For example, waiting until a special occasion like Easter, end of financial year, Boxing Day etc, where companies are likely to have a promotion.
"And [make] use of discounted gift cards combined with loyalty points."