Financial Advice Blog

How to travel the world in luxury for free

Australia's border is opening up and with so many reward programs for services we use every day, it's easier than ever to accrue points to travel for free.

As Australia approaches 80 percent vaccination rate, the government is preparing to safely reopen the international border.  This exciting announcement has many Australians planning a long-awaited holiday.  Travel provides numerous benefits, including improved mental health and wellbeing so desperately needed after a challenging couple of years.  But wouldn’t it be even better if you could travel in luxury for free?

Travel hacking is a term often used to describe making travel cheaper and one of the ways people do this is through reward points. With so many reward programs out there matched to services we use every day, it is easier than ever to accrue points to travel for free.  Here we share our tips so you can take-off faster!

Use a points-earning credit card

You can get huge points bonuses when signing up for a new credit card.  Some even reward you with enough air points for an overseas trip!  Most come with free lounge access and travel insurance for peace of mind too.

Be aware that many will waive the annual fee for the first year, but charge a high annual fee thereafter.  They often come with strict conditions too, so take time to read the small print.

But if you use your credit card wisely and pay off the full balance at the end of the month, you can accumulate points quickly.  Points Hacks provides comprehensive, up-to-date credit card comparisons so you can find a card that meets your needs and maximises your points.

A word of warning though – applying for multiple credit cards can impact your credit score and mortgage options. So before you go applying for as many as you can, research the one that works best for you and apply for that one only.

Sign up for reward programs

Travel in luxury for free simply by doing your weekly grocery shop?  Yes please!

Airlines have reward programs which are linked with major retailers, inlcuding supermarkets, petrol stations, and gas and electricity suppliers. By signing up to the reward programs and linking them to shops and services, you can rack up points even faster that you can redeem for first-class tickets, luxury hotels and incredible experiences.

Connect all services

Once you sign up to a frequent flyer or travel reward program, research the earning opportunities thoroughly.

Consider the stores your reward programs are connected to and plan your regular shopping from those stores.  For example, if you’re a Qantas Frequent Flyer member, you could do your grocery shopping at Woolworths, get your fuel from BP, and electricity and gas from Red Energy.

Also link your regular bills, such as utilities, insurances and pay TV, to the programs to accelerate your points.

Shop smarter

There is a way to earn points on almost anything you purchase if you’re smart about it.

If it’s date night, book a restaurant through Quandoo or a movie at Hoyts and travel there with Uber.  Or if you’re staying in, pick up a bottle of wine from BWS and order Uber Eats.

Often large retailers like Woolworths and Coles will have bonus points on certain items. At these times, buy those things (if you use them regularly) in bulk. Shopping smarter not only saves money, but will see you accruing points faster.

Once you’ve done your research and know where to shop, it’s simply a matter of changing your habits. Make sure you carry the rewards cards in your wallet or download the apps on your phone. Scan them everywhere you can and look out for bonus options too.

Don’t get so carried away you just chase points though.  Shop mindfully and don’t buy things you don’t need or value just for the points.

Shop online

If you do most of your shopping online, make sure you install the Qantas Online Shopping plug-in and get Qantas Points from thousands of stores.

Or shop from The Qantas Shopping Online Mall, which has a wide range of retail partners including David Jones, eBay, Net-A-Porter, Apple and Sephora.  Click on the retailer you want to shop with and you’ll be redirected to the store’s website, with a special URL so you can earn Qantas Points.

Stay healthy and active

Did you know you can even rack up Qantas points while you sleep?!

The Qantas Wellbeing app gives you points for participating in their Sleep Health Challenge and also measures your activity giving you points for keeping fit.

The earning rates are relatively low, but you may as well pick up points for sleeping and keeping fit right?!

A final word

With any type of loyalty program – be it through your airline, supermarket, or other retailer – your personal and shopping habit information is being collected.  In the case of Qantas Wellbeing, even data on your sleep patterns is being shared!

Loyalty programs are a major revenue-generating part of many businesses.  In some cases, airline frequent flyer programs generate more revenue than the airline itself.

If you’re not comfortable with sharing your personal information, the loyalty programs might not be worth it for you.  But if you travel frequently, manage your credit card well and are a savvy shopper. then accruing points so you can travel for free is a no-brainer.


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