This isn’t what you think. We aren’t going to tell you that your travel is pointless unless you are blogging about it, taking breathtaking sunset photos, and constantly using the words “wanderlust” and “bucket list”. Everybody gets different things out of travel. It’s not up to us to recommend the best trip for you. We are talking about getting the most reward points out of your travels and potentially extending your current jaunt or subsidising the next one.
Back when we were in the corporate world, all those months ago, we had to do a fair few flights a year and so we joined with the airlines reward program. A few trips and we started to see the benefits. In fact, soon we were on flights that would have cost us $2,000 – for just $200. Here are our top tips for maximising points and getting free or discounted travel.
Join an airline with good partners.
We joined ours as it was one of the two in Australia (got to love a classic Australian duopoly) and at the time we were mostly taking domestic flights. However, when reviewing the list of partner airlines, we realised we could go to most places around the world and still earn points. Sweet deal!
Get a credit card linked to points.
If you can control credit card debt and pay it off every month, this is a great way to earn points. They will hit you with a higher annual fee ($50 more than standard card usually) and a higher interest rate. If you are sensible and can manage it though, you should get around one point for every dollar spent.
Use that credit card to pay for your flights.
When booking a flight use the reward card to pay for it. You’ll get points for the flights and then for every dollar spent on those flights. You’re basically doubling up. Ha!
Book through a travel site with their own rewards scheme.
Sites like Expedia allow you to book flights with marginal cost difference from the airline. In the booking you’re able to enter your reward program number. They also offer rewards for using them. So if you have a short stop and aren’t using Airbnb, just getting a hotel, you may have earned enough Expedia points to get that for free or discounted.
We certainly aren’t saying to book all your flights on the basis of points alone. Do the research and balance the cost versus the point potential. You’re smart kids, you’ll work that out. We are just saying that potentially one flight could have three lots of rewards. Add to this the chance of getting upgrades and lounge access (who doesn’t love a shower between connecting long haul flights?) and it is definitely worth consideration.