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How to maximise your frequent flyer points with Steve Hui, the Points Whisperer

When it comes to airline loyalty schemes, it’s a jungle out there. But if you put in the effort, Steve Hui of iFLYflat says the rewards are worthwhile. Signature chats with the Points Whisperer.

How can you take full advantage of credit card and frequent flyer points?
The key is in understanding the basic concept of ‘earn and burn’, which means treating points as a form of currency. Earn as many points as possible with low cost and low effort, and then spend them on something valuable, whether that’s in terms of monetary value or on an experience. Many people are focused on earning frequent flyer points, but don’t have a plan on what to use them for.

Do many people’s frequent flyer points remain unused?
Based on the American Express Rewards Rethink research, 27 per cent of Australian credit card holders had not used their rewards for anything in the past two years. I would say over 80 per cent of people don’t know how many reward points they have, especially if they have multiple cards and airline programmes. If they don’t know how many points they have, they also don’t know what they can spend them on.

How can frequent flyer points be maximised for travel?
Do your research. People tend to earn points first and then ask questions later. This means they don’t know how long it will take to earn the points, and hence do not align their efforts to get their required points. Secondly, it’s important to remember that each rewards programme is different. Plan ahead and decide where you want to go and what credit card you will use when you want to convert your points with an airline partner. If you don’t have a set destination in mind, choose a credit card that gives you flexibility with how you use your reward points.

What is the best way to use frequent flyer points?
One way is financial. The best value is to earn points at a low cost to yourself, and then use them for something of high value. In my opinion, the best way to use points is for a full-redemption business-class flight. The other way is based on experiences. My opinion is that travel is the best experience in the world, and points enable more of it.

Which credit cards have the best points programme and why?
The best ones give you the most flexibility regarding how you choose to use the points; the ones with the most airline or hotel partners to transfer the points to and programmes where your points don’t expire. There are over 400 credit cards offered in Australia and each one has different benefits, so it depends on your lifestyle and spending habits.

Why did you launch iFLYflat?
I realised people weren’t paying much attention to their reward points, and certainly weren’t making the most of them. iFLYflat helps consumers and businesses avoid missed opportunities.

Steve Hui Points Whisperer iFLYflat

on managing frequent flyer points and making the most of rewards on offer

To reap your rewards, you firstly need to understand the often-complex navigation of points schemes, and then set yourself some goals and plan ahead. Here are some helpful tips and tricks when it comes to earning more frequent flyer points, and using your credit cards more effectively.

1. Not all reward cards and reward programmes are the same, so the choice of your reward credit card is critical. Some cards can earn double or triple the points on the same spend with no additional effort so it’s best to consider getting a card that earns more points for every dollar spent.

2. Seek to redirect your existing payments to be paid by reward credit cards. I’m not advocating spending more, it’s just about putting your existing everyday purchases on your credit card, rather than using debit cards or cash, which don’t earn you any frequent flyer points.

3. Choose to do business with shops, cafés, bars, restaurants and suppliers that accept your preferred card. If they don’t, let them know you would want to use it – most business owners otherwise wouldn’t know, and would consider accepting it if customers wanted it.

4. Offer to pay the bill when you’re out with friends – for example, at a restaurant – on your own credit card or mobile wallet and simply ask your fellow guests to pay you their portion in cash. That way, you earn a higher number of reward points without spending more yourself.

5. Now you can pay Bpay bills with your AMEX to earn points by using a company like Sniip payments or pay with AMEX for any business invoices to a supplier that accepts EFT by using companies like B2bpay, Payment Logic, Rewardpay or Yak Pay.

Lead image source: Qantas