Aussie mum Adele has been using frequent flyer points for more than a decade and, with her savvy techniques, has managed to fly her family all around the world – business class.
“I love the idea of getting something for free, and the idea of being able to travel luxuriously for a fraction of the price that it would normally cost was something that was very attractive. So, I started to research ways to achieve that,” Adele told Yahoo Finance.
The first trip Adele managed to score was around Asia when her daughter was just 18 months old. From there they travelled to Italy and Paris.
After that, Adele said she was hooked, and managed to save enough points for a trip around the world.
“That was really what got me started blogging about it and that’s why I started , because I was essentially looking to educate other people about how they could do the same thing,” she said.
And it’s not just flights Adele is saving on. In fact, on one of her travels, the family managed to get $10,000 worth of accommodation free.
Top tips to earn points
So, how does she do it? Adele said her main tip to people was that opportunities to gain points were usually right in front of your eyes.
“You can find points through most expenses, whether it’s groceries, paying for a streaming service or car insurance,” she said.
“So, there’s always the ability to find points on purchases, and it’s just a matter of making sure that you’re shopping around to get the price.”
Adele’s other top tip is making sure you’re being flexible so you can nab the best deals.
“Somebody who’s looking for first class flights to London on a Saturday in June – peak travel season – is probably going to miss out. But if you can be flexible with your dates and be creative with the routing, then that’s probably going to stand you in good stead to finding good seats,” she said.
Lastly, Adele said it was all about the effort. She said you wouldn’t find the best deals without putting in a little time.
“I’d say even just 20 or 30 minutes every month, just keeping track of what offers are out there and watch what you can do in terms of bonus-point offers that can certainly help to grow a balance over time.”
How to get started building points
The main thing Adele suggested was finding the right credit card for you that offered points on purchases – but again, flexibility was key.
“There are so many products on the market and a lot of different offerings. The first thing to bear in mind is certain cards aren’t going to work for everyone. If you’re not able to pay your card off in full every month, the rewards points aren’t really worth it,” she said.
“But, for those who can, I like to tell people that it’s important to look beyond the bonus points offered to the ongoing benefits.
“My personal card is the American Express Platinum Card. And I chose that specifically because it has a flexible points program. What that means is that I can earn points into American Express membership rewards, and then I can choose to transfer them to about 10 different airline programs and also a couple of hotel programs.
“So, it’s always a bit like investing. You wouldn’t put all of your money in one stock and it’s the same with airline programs. Having diversification is quite important.”
Top tips for boosting your points
American Express vice-president, loyalty and partnerships Liana Kohn-Gardner told Yahoo Finance the best way to boost your points was firstly understanding how and where you spent your money.
“Some loyalty programs assign different point values based on where you spend. For instance, and depending on what American Express Card you hold, through American Express Membership Rewards you can earn up to three points for every $1 spent at major supermarkets and selected restaurants, 2 points per $1 spent on travel and at major petrol stations and 1 point per $1 spent almost everywhere else,” she said.
“Using your credit card in places that earn the highest amount of points is a way to see your points quickly add up.”
Other loyalty programs on the market offered a flat earn rate, so the value of your points wouldn’t change, Kohn-Gardner said.
“And don’t forget there may be a limit on the number of points you can earn if your program has points caps,” she said.
Another strategy to boost your points is to set up your credit card as your default payment for recurring purchases like TV streaming subscriptions or even daily public transport.
“Once set up, you’ll earn points without even needing to think about it,” Kohn-Gardner said.
Finally, look for special points offers that may appear throughout the year that can turbo-charge your points balance.
“These often see you earn more points when you spend at certain retailers or industries like dining,” Kohn-Gardner said.
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