Smart spending can really broaden your horizons. Picture: iStock
Smart spending can really broaden your horizons. Picture: iStock

Hack your way to an island escape

SWITCHING superannuation or energy providers can be a ticket to an island holiday, as long as you do it right.

Web platform Point Hacks has mapped out 10 ways families can earn free return flights to Fiji, Thailand or Bali by March next year, by tweaking everyday finance habits to boost credit card rewards points earned.

Point Hacks analysed rewards programs from Qantas, Virgin and Singapore Airlines and found a number of ways to earn the 145,000 to 225,000 points needed to get a family to the destinations from Sydney or Melbourne, and some are surprising.

1.Super hero

Switching your superannuation to the Virgin Money Super fund will earn you 1 Velocity point for every $5 in super contributions up to 250,000 points. Meanwhile, Qantas offers bonus points for signing up to health insurance and for daily healthy activities like walking, or swimming.

2.Power play

Switching household energy plans to Energy Australia can earn you 10,000 Velocity points, plus another 2000 a year.

Make slight changes to the way you spend your money and this could be you.
Make slight changes to the way you spend your money and this could be you.

3.Extra click

Beginning an online shopping experience at Qantas Mall or Velocity eStore rather than going directly to product sites can earn big points, said Point Hacks spokesman Daniel Sciberras.

"Say you want to buy an Apple product, go to the Qantas or Velocity site first and you then get directed to the Apple site," Mr Sciberras said. "The exact same transaction then gets you a whole lot of rewards points… potentially a few thousand for a new iPhone."

4.Home delivered

First time users of Deliveroo can earn 1000 Qantas points, with smaller bonuses for regular customers.

"If you get takeaway once a week, in six months you'll earn 2200 points," Mr Sciberras said.

5.Points pooling

Qantas and Velocity will allow family members to transfer up to 600,000 and 500,000 points to each other respectively per year, meaning one person can claim the accumulated rewards.

6.Switch bonus

Consumers can earn 75,000 bonus points or more by switching to a new credit card.

"We love this hack because it will get you almost halfway there in point earnings," he said. "The NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card and the St. George Amplify Signature Visa card each offer 90,000 bonus Qantas Points for new cardholders. The Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Card offers up to 80,000 bonus Velocity Points on sign up."

7.Higher earning cards

AMEX offers high point-earning cards through the AMEX Explorer Credit Card and the AMEX Qantas Premium card, but AMEX is not widely accepted, so check for Visa or Mastercard options with big points.

8.Transaction accounts

"Credit cards aren't for everyone," Mr Sciberras said. "For those who don't like them, Bankwest has a transaction account that earns around five points per transaction and 12 points for every $100 in your account."

9.Shopping rewards

Rewards programs like Flybuys can turn weekly supermarket shopping spend into airline points, with 2000 Flybuys points convertible into 870 Velocity points for example.

Credit card rewards points can be your ticket to paradise if used well.
Credit card rewards points can be your ticket to paradise if used well.

10.Howdy partner

Shop with retailers that have partnerships with points programs. Spending $2000 at Woolworths outlets, including some Caltex service stations, will earn 870 Qantas points, for example; while buying petrol at BP earns two Velocity points per litre of fuel and dollar spent in store.

Finder.com.au research has found Australian credit card holders have spent $530 each on average over the past 12 months on unnecessary items, in order to chase rewards points. Clothes, accessories, dining out and groceries were the items of choice and Finder spokeswoman Bessie Hassan said spending more than normal to earn points was counterintuitive.

"You need to be sure the value of the reward you get will outweigh any costs," she said. "Consider the points per dollar value, point expiry date and any bonus point offers that apply.

"Don't be tricked into spending more money with little benefit."



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