How I Earned 200 000 Frequent Flyer Miles in 6 months

 Hi Frugalistas!

I love frequent flyer miles, but my number one rule is to never spend money just to get the miles – it’s cheaper just to buy the plane ticket and be done with it.  Here’s how I’ve earned 200 000 (yes, 200 000!) frequent flyer points without spending a penny more than I would have anyway!

My Mileage Programs

I belong to three rewards programs:

  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Etihad Guest
  • Virgin Australia Velocity

Qantas is a member of the One World alliance, and I can earn and spend miles on Etihad for Virgin Australia and vice versa.

My Credit Cards

I have an American Express Platinum card that earns 1.5 rewards points per dollar spent.  The rewards can go onto any of my mileage programs.

In addition, I have a Visa card linked to my Virgin Velocity membership that also earns 1.5 rewards points per dollar spent, and a Virgin Velocity American Express card that earns 1.5 points per dollar spent, but 3 points for dollars spent on Virgin Australia airfares.


My Extras

In addition, I have a Woolworths Everyday Rewards card that is linked to my Qantas account.  This is a straight loyalty card that earns 1 point per dollar spent over a $30 threshold.  We do our grocey shopping at Woolworths, so this is easy to do.  I am a member of the IHG Priority Club for hotel stays at any hotel in their chains, and I do market research surveys for e-Rewards, an online market research firm.  This is linked to my Etihad Guest account.  Qantas has a wine club which I belong to that also earns points for my frequent flyer account and I have an Avis Preferred membership linked to my Qantas program.

Get set…….

How I Work it – Without Spending an Extra Penny!

Every week my family shops at Woolworths, earning at least 200 points per week for my Qantas Frequent Flyer membership via my Everyday Rewards Card.  They also have regular “bonuses” where you get extra points for buying certain categories of products.  I only ever buy what we can use and what we normally put in our trolley – never things just to “get the points”.  In total I earn about 1200 Qantas frequent flyer points per month without trying.  The wine and car hire are just used when we genuinely need them, and if they are what we want to purchase (I would never buy more expensive wine just to get points for example).

All my purchases go on my American Express Platinum, unless the vendor does not take Amex, in which case I use my Visacard.  The reward points from the American Express card just stay on my account until such time as I want to use them.  I did transfer 50 000 points to my Etihad Guest account as Amex were having a promotion of a 20% bonus to celebrate Etihad joining the program, making my 50 000 worth closer to 70 000, without spending anything!  If I book a Virgin flight (domestically we use a mixture of Virgin and Qantas) I use the Virgin Velocity card and pocket the extra points.

I did treat myself to a one way first class Etihad fare to Europe during this time, but used reward points to pay for my trip home again.  With my Gold Status bonuses, I earned just on 27 000 points.  Although I have over 130 000 points in my Etihad Guest account, this is the only points earning flight I have taken.  The rest of my points have been accumulated by being savvy and going about my ordinary business.

Along the way I do market research surveys online and have earned about 4000 points in the past 6-8 months doing this.  I also buy from my programs’ online stores – but only if it is goods I would normally buy and only if the price is right.  I’ve earned about 30 000 points doing that in the past six months.  If I stay in a hotel in my travels, I am not obsessive about staying in an Intercontinental member (I’ve written previously about the sorts of hotels I love) but if I am looking at a chain hotel, I will book one of their portfolio (usually a Crowne Plaza).

My Tips For Accumulating Frequent Flyer Miles

1. Remember, frequent flyer mileage reward flights are only free if you haven’t spent more than you would have normally to earn the points to fund them.  If you buy things just to earn points, you are probably wasting your money, and should have just bought a plane ticket.

2.  Spent a bit of time browsing your airlines’ website and workout how you can increase your points balance within your normal spending habits.

3.  Make sure you understand the rules of how your program works, particularly how long your points can accumulate for before they expire.

4.  For websites that specialise in maximising your frequent flyer points, check out Travel Hacking Cartel, The Points Guy or Google “Travel Hacking” (the cyber term for maxing your frequent flyer mileage).








Tags: , , , , ,

11 Comments on “How I Earned 200 000 Frequent Flyer Miles in 6 months”

  1. Christina 05/06/2012 at 3:54 pm #

    I do the eRewards as well!! They add up pretty fast.

  2. Geek Goddess 05/07/2012 at 9:25 pm #

    I use my American Express cards and transferred points to Continental. I got some pretty cool trips to Europe that way. Then United bought them out, and discontinued the Amex rewards. It’s pretty much United where I am and where I travel to business, so I’m stuck. Another United fail.

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 05/07/2012 at 9:28 pm #

      Hearing lots of United horror stories at the moment – so you have my sympathies!

      Thanks for dropping by!

  3. margieinitaly 25/10/2012 at 7:55 am #

    Great tips and I love the photo of the gondolas in Venice!

  4. Diane Taylor 05/08/2013 at 11:29 am #

    I’m trying to save for a dream one-way trip back to the States from Australia in 18 months with hubby and we want to fly first class so I have a lot of saving of FF points to do! We’re linked with Everyday Rewards and do our best there and with Caltex for our petrol, shop at Big W etc, when we can too. We also have a linked Amex card and do as you do.

    You mentioned you also do market research to earn points. I can’t find anything regarding this for Qantas. Can you advise or point me in the right direction?

    Thanks heaps – your article was very helpful!

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 05/08/2013 at 12:23 pm #

      Hi Dianne. The market research is through a company called e-Rewards. Unfortunately Qantas is not a partner for that program. I put any points I get through that program on my Etihad account, then top up that account with purchases through their shopping mall and transfers from Amex.

      Good luck, and enjoy the experience once you get there!


  1. What I’ve been doing this week – redeeming frequent flyer miles | frugalfirstclasstravel - 03/02/2013

    […] If you’re curious as to how I come to have so many points, check out my post on how I earned 200 000 frequent flyer points in 6months here. […]

  2. How I paid just $925 for my first class airfares and Railpass for Europe | frugalfirstclasstravel - 04/08/2013

    […] How I saved 200 000 frequent flyer points in 6 months […]

  3. Forget someday: how to save to travel now | frugalfirstclasstravel - 05/02/2015

    […] written extensively about travel hacking strategies and techniques in other […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: