In the 15 months since I discovered I could save a whole lot of money on flights by investing a little bit of time and money in the Australian frequent flyer market, I’ve accrued over 180,000 points.
I’ve also managed to book a business class flight to Europe with my points.
However I’ve done all of this without taking a single point earning flight. Most of my points have in fact come from credit card sign up bonuses and everyday spending on points earning credit cards.
But a lot of my readers are students and wouldn’t necessarily have the credit rating or certainty of income to be approved for a credit card. Thus I’ve decided to write a quick guide on ways to still earn points without a credit rating.
A lot of these tips I’ve mentioned before in previous posts on frequent flyer programs. However I thought summarising the non-credit options in a post would be helpful.
The first thing to do is to activate your Qantas Cash card.
It’s located on the back of your Qantas Frequent Flyer Membership Card and can be used just like any Visa Debit card. Qantas Cash works like many of the other travel cards in that you can load it with foreign currencies and earn 1 point per $1 spent in foreign currency.
However you can also load it with Australian currency and earn 0.5c per $1 spent in Australia.
Activate this card, load your own Australian dollars on it and start using it for absolutely everything you purchase. Need to fill up with fuel? Pay for it on Qantas Cash. Need to pay your phone bill? Need to buy groceries? Need to pay electricity and other bills? Pay for it on Qantas Cash.
I put absolutely everything on my points earning credit cards and you can do the same thing with the non-credit option of Qantas Cash.
It might seem like nothing to begin with but it will definitely add up to something in the end. And seriously- you have nothing to lose! It doesn’t cost anything to load or use this card. Although be careful not to use it for cash withdrawals!
Start grocery shopping at Woolworths and you can earn 1 Qantas point for every $1 you spend over $30. There are similar points to earn at stores like Big W as well. This was the first way I ever earned points- I had a BBQ to run for an event and put $600 worth of groceries through with my everyday rewards card.
This might not seem like a great return but every little bit adds up. Moreover, if you subscribe to their emails you’ll often find they run promotions that can earn you bonus points. For example today I received an email from Woolworths stating that any transaction over $30 this week comes with a 250 point bonus.
This is also the easiest way to join the Qantas program for free!
The Qantas Online Mall is a way to use your obsession with online shopping as a way to earn points. You log into the mall and can then choose from a wide range of retailers. These include David Jones, the Apple Store, Ebay, the Iconic, Forever New, Glasshouse Fragrances, Lorna Jane, Smiggle and Kogan. You can find the full list here.
Basically you click on a retailer and as long as you have cookies enabled any purchase you make will be tracked and you’ll be rewarded for it.
Each retailer has a different point return, with the best clearly being David Jones. Shop with them through the Online Mall and you’ll get 5 points per $1 spent. That is on top of the extra 0.5 points you’ll get per $1 spent for using your Qantas Cash card to pay.
I basically did all of my Christmas shopping through the Qantas Online Mall. They had a double points promotion then too so in combination with the points I earned on my credit card, I earned 11 points per $1 spent in David Jones.
I’ve probably managed to earn at least 20,000 points through the Online Mall, with 18,000 points coming as a result of buying my new Macbook through David Jones during aforementioned promotion.
Other retailers I’ve used have been Ebay, the Iconic and Booktopia. I’m waiting for another double points promotion to buy my camera through Kogan as well.
Well I clearly didn’t need Life and Income Protection Insurance. However I was able to earn a handy 20,000 points through Onepath by paying 6 months worth of premiums. It’s 10,000 points per policy.
If you choose the smallest premiums possible you’ll end up paying around $70 for both of these polices for 6 months. Given 20,000 points is valued at around $200, this is a pretty good investment and definitely one worth doing.
Obviously you don’t need any credit rating for this! If for some reason you want to invest in either of these insurances long time, you’ll also earn points on per $1 you spent on premiums.
By downloading the Qantas toolbar and doing 150 searches on it per month you can pick up an extra 150 points. It’s completely free and a good extra bonus of points.
Unfortunately this bank account no longer comes with the 10,000 points bonus it used to. However you can still put your savings into this account and earn points on your balance. It’s like interest but in points.
More beneficial is the 5 points per transaction on this particular card. Thus if you have a transaction for less than $10 you would be better using this card than Qantas Cash.
It will be up to you to decide whether earning points or earning interest is more important to your needs. For example you might only be a couple of thousand points off having enough for a flight and in that case this account will really come in handy.
There is a $5 fee if you don’t deposit at least $2000 into this account every month. SO be careful with that. You can get around this by literally transferring $2000 out and in of this account, so long as you have that many liquid assets.
Not a way that I have managed to earn points yet but it is good to remember that you won’t just earn points with Qantas but a host of their partners including Malaysia Airlines which seems to be one of the cheapest options to anywhere at the moment!
Build Your Credit Rating
Finally, even without a steady income there are ways to build your credit card rating so that you are approved for some credit.
The first credit card I was approved for was one with ANZ because I did all my regularly banking with them. They didn’t need proof of payslips or steady income because they knew that I had a fair bit of money in the bank and that I was depositing on a regular basis.
This can be hugely beneficial especially for people doing cash jobs, which is common amongst students.
The two I’ve found are easiest to be approved for are ANZ and NAB, with ANZ consistently offering the best points bonus. Thus if you don’t already bank with them it might be worth shifting your banking over as a way to move towards that credit card approval.
There are a huge variety of interesting ways to earn points, including on car hire and hotels booked through the Qantas Website. I’ve just mentioned the ones that have fitted my circustances and from experience have worked for me. You can browse some more ways that might fit you here.
Remember You Have Absolutely Nothing To Lose!
So long as you earn 1 point per year your points balance won’t expire. So there is nothing to lose with starting to slowly build your points balance now, even if you are not planning to travel in the near future.
Those extra points you earn now might also come in handy once you have a job that can support some credit cards!
Do you have any more tips for earning frequent flyer points? Comment below!