A guide to point hacking travel

Most major airlines offer rewards programs travelers can use to score free flights and accommodation. And many credit cards link with these rewards programs to super-charge your points balance. 

Here’s how you can use some popular point hacks to maximise the rewards you’re getting for your spend.

Key Points

  • The right credit card can give your frequent flyer points balance a serious boost. 

  • Some cards offer huge sign-up bonuses with up to 100,000 points awarded. 

  • The number of frequent flyer points you earn on eligible purchases varies between cards. 

  • Compare Club makes it easy to find the most appropriate frequent flyer card to send your points balance soaring. 

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Why point hack for free travel? 

Many credit card providers partner with airline rewards programs to offer their customers frequent flyer points on the money they spend on their card. 

But not all frequent flyer credit cards are created equal. Some credit card providers offer huge one-off sign-up bonuses. Others offer more points per dollar you spend. 

A good points hack is all about finding the frequent flyer credit card that offers the best overall points deal for you, while minimising program participation costs. Compare Club compares more than 80 credit cards side by side to help you find the card that will get you flying faster.

What are the best credit cards for point hacks?

As always, best is subjective and it depends on the way you prefer to point hack.

There are two main ways point hackers use credit cards to rack up reward points. 

The first is with sign-up bonuses. Some frequent flyer credit cards offer a one-off points bonus when you sign up for their card and meet the spending criteria they set. 

The other way to earn points is via the money you spend on your card. Frequent flyer credit cards offer a set number of reward points for every dollar you spend on eligible purchases. But the number of points you get for your spend varies between different cards. 

Compare Club can help you find a card that provides the best of both options. For example, the American Express Qantas Ultimate Card is currently our top pick for point hacks. It offers 100,000^ bonus Qantas points when you apply online and spend $3,000 on your new card within the first three months. You also earn 1.25 Qantas points per dollar spent on eligible card purchases. 

Compare Club takes the hassle out of finding the best credit card for point hacks. It’s free to use, and comparing cards won’t affect your credit score. 

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How to point hack for more frequent flyer points

  • Consider big sign-up bonuses

Large points bonuses when you sign-up for a new credit card are the best way to get your point hacks off to a flying start. Many point hackers sign up to multiple cards to collect several sign-up bonuses. 

So let’s say you start with 100,000 bonus Qantas points when you sign up for the American Express Qantas Ultimate Card. Then add 70,000^^ bonus Qantas points with a new Westpac Qantas Altitude Premium Card.

That’s easily enough Qantas points to get you a return business class flight between Sydney and London*. 

  • Factor in any ‘free’ extras

Some credit card providers will sweeten the deal with special travel extras on top of the frequent flyer points you earn. For example, the American Express Qantas Ultimate Card offers $450 annual credit you can use on eligible domestic or international Qantas flights.

  • Research new credit card offers

From time to time, credit card providers may offer special promotions to encourage people to sign up to one of their frequent flyer cards. So keep your ear to the ground, and check in with Compare Club regularly to seize any special points offers or limited-time sign-up bonuses that will super-charge your point hack. 

  • Use your card for everyday expenses

Airline reward points are awarded per dollar you spend. So using your credit card to cover as many of your everyday expenses as possible will help you rack up the points. Consider paying for your groceries, petrol and recurring bills with your credit card to quickly build your points balance. 

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  • Shop at partner retailers for extra points

Airlines typically partner with certain retailers. These partner retailers often offer more points for your dollar spend. So it pays to know — and shop with — retailers who partner with your airline rewards program of choice. 

  • Research other points-earning programs

You can boost your frequent flyer points balance with other points-earning programs. Flybuys, for example, partners with more than 20 retailers that offer points for every dollar you spend. You can then transfer your Flybuys points to your Velocity Frequent Flyer account to top up your points balance. 

  • Pool points with family members 

Do you have any family members who aren’t enthusiastic travelers? You can recruit them to point hack on your behalf. Qantas allows rewards customers to transfer their points to an eligible family member. So get your non-traveling family member hooked up with a frequent flyer credit card and they can send their sign-up bonus and points they earn on their regular daily spend your way. 

  • Spend your points wisely

Carefully consider how you spend your reward points to get the best value. For example, splashing out on products in rewards stores may offer less value than using your points on flights and accommodation. 

To find out, divide the number of points the product costs by its retail price. This will tell you how many points you’re spending per dollar of the product’s retail price. Do the same calculation for flights and accommodation, and you’ll see where the better value lies. 

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What are the risks of point hacks? 

Good point hacks come down to being smart with your spending, paying your credit card bills on time, and factoring in interest-free periods, interest rates and any annual fees associated with your frequent flyer card.

Deliberately over-spending just to boost your points balance will likely leave a jet-sized hole in your budget. And letting your credit card bills build up will increase the interest you pay, and could come with penalty fees that will eat into your hard-earned holiday savings. 

Also be aware of any annual fees your credit card provider charges so you’re not hit with unexpected expenses, and know the interest-free period they offer and the interest rate they charge. These all vary between cards, and can affect the overall value you’ll get from your point hacks. 

Compare Club can help you find a frequent flyer credit card with low interest rates and annual fees. We compare a range of credit cards side by side, so you can find the right one for you and point hack with confidence.

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This guide is opinion only and should not be taken as financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.

^Compare Club compares over a range of credit cards from Big Banks, Specialist finance providers and directly from payment issuers. Compare Club doesn't compare all cards on the market and not all cards are available to all people. Our panel of credit cards will change over time. Customers should consider their personal circumstances before applying for credit.

*Return business class flights between Sydney and London require 147,000 Qantas Points according to the Qantas Points Calculator as at 16 June 2022. Taxes, fees and carrier charges are payable in addition to the points required. 

^Offer is available to New Members only.

^^Offer is available to New Members only.