One of my goals for this year was to look into frequent flyer and rewards points. As someone who flies internationally to visit home every single year, you’d think I’d have looked into this sooner. But alas I kept finding it too hard and quite frankly there wasn’t enough immediate free business class flights to hold my attention for long.
Firstly, I must express an extreme distaste for the frequent flyer arena. WHY IS IT SO CONFUSING AND WHY CAN’T YOU JUST TELL ME HOW I CAN GET FREE STUFF? I suppose that question kind of answers itself – the airlines don’t want to give you free stuff. Ok fine whatever.
But I figured that since I chose my life partner to be someone from the opposite corner of the earth to me, travel is going to be a big part of our lives for a long time. So it’s kind of worth giving it a shot.
I recently joined the Velocity Frequent Flyers rewards program, and have racked up almost 100,000 points in just a few months – and here’s how you can too. Their program is substantially simpler than most I’ve looked into, so yay for easy-to-understand guides on their shiny new website.
One thing I did realise is because I always book my international flights in economy class and often through a travel agent with a sale fare, the fare type I’m booking doesn’t tend to rack up a whole lot of points with many airlines. The non-refundable, non-amendable fares that normal human beings can afford don’t always accrue miles in the same way as standard economy seats – so I looked into other ways of getting points, as that seemed to be the best way to make any sort of progress.
Get a Bonus with a Credit Card
Okay, okay before you throw me to the wolves, yes, I know I’m a finance blogger and here I am advocating getting a credit card for points. In fairness, I haven’t ever outwardly demonised credit cards – I actually think they’re awesome when used properly. But in case it wasn’t obvious, please skip this part if you have any kind of problem history with credit cards, struggle to control your spending, or are already in substantial debt.
But, if you’ve passed the mental test and you trust yourself with credit, getting a bonus chunk of points for opening a new credit card can kick start your journey to points glory. Points Hacks has some amazing exclusive deals that are often offering far more in bonuses than with banks directly. The bank usually attaches a minimum spend criteria to qualify for the points, but often this amount is totally achievable. I recently got 80,000 bonus Velocity points from ANZ through Points Hacks, just by spending $1500 on a flight I was going to book anyway, and paying it straight off.
Earn Points on Everyday Spending
I recently switched all my monthly direct debits to the ANZ credit card I took out to get the bonus points. I previously paid my bills money into my bills account, but now I just pay it off the credit card, so I’m earning rewards points by paying my bills. It doesn’t seem like much, but if I’m paying them anyway – and will continue to do so for years to come – I may as well rack up some rewards. I am collecting ANZ Rewards on this card, but they can be converted to Velocity points at a good conversion. You can either convert your bank’s rewards points or find a credit card that earns Velocity points directly. I would have done this if the bonus wasn’t so amazing on the ANZ card!
Convert Points from Other Rewards
I recently converted our modest 6000 FlyBuys points to Velocity points – and I did it during their promotional period during which they’re giving away bonus points to Flybuys conversions. At the end of the promotional period, everyone who has transferred Flybuys to Velocity points wins a share of 10 million bonus points! Sometimes there are promotions offering a % extra on top of your transfer, too. I plan to continue converting my Flybuys points into Velocity points now I’m making headway on the balance, too. Our Flybuys rewards are so low because we eat fairly cheaply at home, and it’s just my partner and I. We don’t rack up the spend to cash in on huge rewards, so I’d rather they went towards building up our Velocity account.
Keep an Eye on Bonus Points Promotions
Stay in the loop with Velocity and keep your eyes peeled for when they’re offering bonus points on certain spends. They’re currently offering 100,000 points for eligible Hyundai SUV purchases. Okay, I know that’s a fairly extravagant purchase, but look, you MIGHT have been buying one anyway.
Ditch Your Travel Card and Use the Velocity Global Wallet Overseas
When I joined Velocity, I was given the option to also open a Velocity Global Wallet. As I travel overseas at least once a year to visit my family in the UK – and have a US trip planned in September – I opened one. Essentially it’s a points earning pre-loaded card (yep, points without having to use credit!), and you can load it with Australian dollars or foreign currency. You’ll earn 1 point for every equivalent $1AUD spent overseas, and 1 point for every $3AUD spent in Australia. The overseas earn rate is pretty generous – especially for a preloaded card, no credit demons in sight!
Shop With Partners and Use Points Stores
Many frequent flyer and rewards programs have bonus points e-stores or partner offers that can score you extra points. Velocity has a number of partners that will offer rewards points when you shop with them, so make it your mission to familiarise yourself with the list and consider switching some of your everyday purchases to rewards partner retailers to earn more points. The Velocity eStore also has tons of your favourite retailers all offering Velocity points on your purchase.
Fill Up at BP
If you live or work near a BP petrol station, fill up there to score 2 Velocity points per litre and 2 Velocity points per $1 spent in store. It’s these regular transactions that will add up over time! If you’re spending just $50 a week on fuel, you’re looking at around 3500 points per year (depending on how many litres you’re able to get for $50!)
Win Extra Points
I recently scooped 5000 Velocity points as part of their #Earnbassadors program for creating a video about earning points as an expat. The competition is still open, and the social media team are trawling the internet for user content that promotes Velocity (yes, this blog is another entry, as there are unlimited entries per person!). People have created blogs, videos, photos, and songs about all things Velocity, and are getting free points in return! Find out more here.
It’s quite weird that this is the last tip on the list, but for most people, flying is the thing they do least often! That said, if you’re racking up Velocity points, it’s worth checking out how many points you could earn by booking with Virgin Australia. Often, their fares are the same as more budget options like Jetstar, and you’ll be adding to your stash while heading on holiday. Velocity are one of the few rewards programs that are actually pretty upfront about how many points you earn on which routes. Check out their breakdown here to see what your trip is worth.