Back in January, I wrote about how I earned 800,000 points in 2016 and that I doubted I could match that feat this year because of the looming changes to the credit card market.
The other day, I did a quick tally of the points I earned so far in 2017, and I was pleasantly surprised, as it looks like this is going to be my biggest year yet.
In fact, with my partner also playing the points game now (thanks to some ‘prompting’ from me), I worked out that our household earned over a million points in just a six month period (1 January and 30 June) – yes, a million points in six months!
It took a little bit of work and some luck, but it shows what’s possible if you put your mind to it.
If you’re curious about where those points came from (or you’re after some inspiration) here’s a rough breakdown.
Credit card bonuses (320,000 points)
At the start of the year, I thought the impending changes to credit card laws would spell the end of huge sign-up offers. To take advantage of the good times while they lasted, my partner and I each took out two new cards in early 2017, earning as much as 100,000 points per card.
Now that the new laws have taken effect, we’re still seeing big bonus offers in the market, which is a little surprising. I’m not sure if this will last or if credit card issuers have simply delayed an inevitable reduction in sign-up bonuses.
Regardless, if you’re thinking about getting a new card, it might be wise to act now. You’ll find some great offers at the bottom of this post.
My partner and may get another card each this year … if we feel our credit files can bear it!
Personal and household spending (100,000+ points)
We’re always trying to maximise the points we earn on everyday spending. Our main tactics are:
- paying for goods and services with high-earning credit cards wherever possible (so long as any surcharge is reasonable)
- buying personal and household items online, through retailers connected to the Qantas Mall and Virgin Australia Velocity e-store
- earning FlyBuys at Coles and converting them to Velocity Points
- paying rent by credit card through RentalRewards (you need a high-earning AMEX to make the fees worthwhile)
- buying wine from Qantas Epiqure (earning up to a whopping 10,000 Qantas Points per case)
- booking holiday accommodation through Qantas or Virgin Australia’s hotel and airbnb booking portals.
We also earn points in many other little ways, but these were the most lucrative sources for us.
Business spending (~300,000 points)
My partner and I are fortunate in that our businesses are performing well and almost all of our suppliers accept payments by AMEX card. Some agreed to make special arrangements, which also helped.
We use high-earning cards that bring in 1.5 points per dollar, like the Qantas AMEX Ultimate card or AMEX Explorer. (AMEX allows you to put business expenses on a ‘consumer’ credit card, which is handy if you have a spare card and/or don’t want another application on your credit file).
Even with modest fees or surcharges, putting business expenses on a high-earning AMEX card can be a very lucrative way to earn points. I’ve written before about how I work out if a fee or surcharge is a good deal.
One-off promotions (~300,000 points)
There were some big one-off deals earlier this year that my partner and I took advantage of.
The most notable was the promotion Qantas ran with the forex broker, Pepperstone, offering 100,000 Qantas Points to open a forex trading account and make some trades (something we’re both experienced in, so it was a no-brainer).
We also took advantage of offers for life and health insurance policies (earning up to 30,000 points each) and some other smaller promos.
Qantas and Virgin Australia seem to have ever-expanding commercial partnerships, which hopefully means great offers like this will continue to pop up.
By channeling our personal and business spending through high-earning credit cards, taking out two new cards each and making the most of one-off deals, my partner and I earned over a million points in just six months.
This may look like it took a huge amount of effort, but that’s really not the case. We make earning points part of our routine, and where some extra work is required, we always make sure the rewards are worth it.
So far this year, points have taken us to Japan in business class with Japan Airlines, my partner to Europe in business class with Emirates and Cathay Pacific, and we’ve upgraded to the Qantas Business Suite on numerous domestic trips.
And we have many more stylish adventures planned for the months ahead.
If you’re looking to supercharge your points balance, check out our credit card sign-up deals, here.
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