I was pretty excited to hear last week that Qantas is offering up to 100,000 points for opening a forex trading account with the firm, Pepperstone. I’m a currency trader so this is a no-brainer for me – I’m going to get 100,000 Qantas Points for very little effort!

But it also prompted me to think, what about people who don’t have any experience with trading? Will this offer entice some of them to open an account? It’s pretty common for people to toy with the idea of making extra money on the side by trading the markets, and this promotion might just tempt them to finally give it a go.

To qualify for the bonus, you have to trade at least 5 lots of forex, as outlined in the terms and conditions. If you’re an experienced trader, that’s unlikely to be a problem. But if you’re new to trading, the odds are very high you’ll lose money.

Trading is hard – in fact, it’s one of the most difficult things you could ever try to do. Research suggests that up to 95% of new traders fail because the odds are so heavily stacked against them in the markets.

Consider this: the markets are a competition in which you’re up against some of the smartest and most experienced traders in the world. Markets work by transferring wealth from one person to another – it’s a zero sum game. Newbie traders are very predictable and therefore easy pickings for the pros, plus they make a range of other mistakes that lead to losses. As a result, it’s virtually unheard of for new traders to be profitable from the outset.

Now, I suspect some of you will think, ‘hey, I’m happy to take a small loss to get 100,000 Qantas Points’. In theory, you could get in and out of a single 5-lot FX trade quickly to qualify for the bonus with a modest cost. But I urge you to be careful as things might not go to plan, and you may fall foul of the terms and conditions. I’m not sure but I did notice the statement in the T&Cs that:

Eligible Clients who partake in this program do so in good faith. Pepperstone may, at its sole discretion, withhold any Qantas Points awarded to Eligible Clients who abuse this promotion or breach any applicable Terms and Conditions, and/or exclude such Eligible Clients from the promotion.

If you’re an experienced trader, this Pepperstone offer could be a good opportunity to earn a stack of points by switching some of your business over. My initial impressions of Pepperstone’s platform, spreads, execution speeds and other features are pretty good.

However, if you’re new to trading, the risks of losing money are high. Those bonus points may come at a cost that’s significantly greater than you think.