Every year I aim to earn at least 500,000 frequent flyer points through strategic credit card sign-ups and spending, shopping, flying and other means. In 2016, I aimed even higher and finished with a haul of 819,875 Qantas Points (plus a handful of Virgin Velocity points) – my best year yet!

As you can imagine, I’m pretty excited about all the stylish travel this will bring. That’s easily enough points for two business class trips overseas for me and my partner, plus some domestic upgrades.

Here’s where all those Qantas Points came from.

Credit cards

Credit cards continue to be the most lucrative source of frequent flyer points in Australia. I earned more than 600,000 points (i.e. three-quarters of the total) from credit cards in 2016. Much of this came from sign-up offers for several new cards, plus American Express ran a promotion during the year offering 45,000 points for referring friends and family, which helped boost my points tally.

As always, I channelled all of my everyday spending through high-earning credit cards, including various AMEXs and platinum Visas and MasterCards.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to maintain this level of credit card points earning. That’s because I’m going to ease up on new card applications and card earning rates are being reduced in response to new laws (I covered this in a recent post and outlined a strategy for maximising credit card points earning that will suit most people moving forward.)

Wine

My second biggest source of points was wine (!). The Qantas wine club, Epiqure, continues to regularly offer up to 10,000 bonus points for a case of wine, delivered to your door. That’s on top of the 3 points per dollar you get for your purchase. I earned more than 60,000 points this way in 2016.

The wine is not the cheapest but the quality is consistently great and, for me, the extra points more than make up for the slightly higher price than I’d normally pay. Virgin Australia also has a wine club, which I’ve started trialling thanks to a recent promotion.

Online shopping

I love shopping online – it’s so convenient, plus I earn up to 10 points per dollar by channelling my spending through the Qantas Mall and Virgin Velocity eStore, which link to big online retailers like David Jones, Asos, The Iconic and many others.

I easily earn over 40,000 Qantas and Velocity points each year this way for regular items like clothes, shoes, and personal and household products. I’ve covered how to do this in a separate post.

Other sources

Other notables sources of points for me in 2016 were:

  • hotel bookings – my partner actually handled all our hotel booking in 2016 so the points aren’t reflected in my account, but this was a great source of points for us – thanks to the Qantas Hotels portal, which regularly offers up to 10 points per dollar (Virgin also offers hotel booking options)
  • rent – our real estate agent allows us to pay rent via RentalRewards, earning 1.5 points per dollar with an AMEX (for a 1.76% fee, which I’m happy to pay, as it still works out at around 1 cent per point)
  • Qantas Cash – we use this debit card during our travels plus also for domestic purchases where credit cards aren’t accepted and for some business expenses.

Conclusion

In 2017, I will again aim for 500,000 points as I expect credit card opportunities to be less lucrative compared to 2016. It’ll be interesting to see how the changes in the credit card market unfold and I plan on blogging about this during the year.

I’m also planning on diversifying into other points schemes that will allow me to try new airlines – a blog post about this is coming soon!

As always, I’ll continue to post any great points promotions as they arise. To make sure you’re in the know, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook.