Woman whispering in mans ear that you can get qantas points for free

Complete Guide To Start Point Hacking in Australia 2023

31 Oct, 2023

author profile picture

Eva Mitchell

Are you curious about point hacking but not sure where to start? Or may be wondering if point hacking is even worth it for you? This complete guide to point hacking for beginners will answer all of your burning questions about getting into point hacking in Australia. Tim and I started point hacking in 2022 and have accumulated hundreds of thousands of Qantas points since then. We have used these points to purchase heavily discounted flights around the world.

You can read more about how we flew from Australia to Europe in 2023 using Qantas points we had accumulated through point hacking in the blog post below.

Read:

How to Book Cheap Flights to Europe using Qantas Points in 2023

 

Disclaimer: This post contains links to our preferred travel products and services. When you purchase through these links, your purchases can generate a small profit for us, without any added cost to you. This helps us to continue offering top-notch travel advice and savvy savings tips on how you can make cents of travel. Rest assured, we only share links to products and services that we personally love to use. We do not receive commission or benefit from any of the banks or credit cards mentioned and is entirely based on our experience.

Chapters

×

What is Point Hacking?

Credit card hacking, point hacking, travel hacking, credit card churning, travel points hacking, there are many different terms you may have heard thrown around, at the end of the day, they all mean the same thing. Point hacking is when you use credit cards to pay for your usual everyday expenses while obtaining maximum airline points to essentially fly for a heavily discounted price or sometimes even for free! 

Australia is a great place to start your point hacking journey as the banks have competitive credit card offers you can take advantage of. Over the past year before we set off to travel for a year, Tim and I jumped on the point hacking band wagon to accumulate as many points as possible with the aim to reduce the cost of our flights to Europe and back.


Is point hacking worth it? 

Yes, point hacking can be absolutely worth it! If you follow this beginners guide to point hacking, you could be racking up the points in no time. 

The most value you will gain from the points you accrue is almost always by redeeming them for cheaper flights or upgrading your seat. If you plan to fly locally or internationally in the next year or two, then point hacking is most likely to be worth it for you. 

Before we continue - we don't know your financial situation and are not financial experts. This blog is based on our experience only and when applying for any credit card you should do your own assessment, read the banks Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD), and consult a qualified professional if needed.


×

Beginners Guide to Selecting Your First Points Credit Card

Starting your point hacking journey can be confusing. That is why I have broken down each step for identifying and applying for a points credit card to make it easier to rack up thousands of airline points. These simple steps will have you well on your way to point hacking in Australia. 

  1. 1. Identify a selection of current credit cards with sign-up bonuses being offered by a variety of Australian banks, a good starting place would be to compare around 10 current offers.

  2. 2. Breakdown each credit card offer using this free excel spreadsheet. It is important you take into consideration the yearly fee, amount of points gained when you meet the minimum spend criteria within the specified time, if there is a cashback offer and if your income is sufficient enough to meet the minimum income requirement. 

  3. 3. The next step to finding the best points credit card to commence your point hacking journey is to identify the best value credit card sign-up offers. Do this by calculating how many points you will receive for the least amount of money spent and take into consideration perks such as lounge access or cash-back. You should now be able to narrow the potential credit cards down to the top two or three. 


  1. 4. From the top two to three credit cards you identified, you then need to identify if the minimum spend required to earn the points for the bonus sign-up offer for each card is achievable for you.  The minimum spend required should fall within your usual spending habits or you must be able to identify an essential significant purchase coming up within the minimum spend time period that you know will cover the minimum spend required for the credit card.

  2. I can’t stress enough that it is NOT WORTH signing up to a point credit card if you cannot meet the minimum spend criteria OR if you are spending extra money that you wouldn’t usually spend just to meet the minimum spend criteria. Remember that the idea of point hacking is to earn thousands of airline points for no extra financial spend.

  1. 5. Apply for the credit card that you have identified as offering the best value for you AND that has a sign up offer with a minimum spend that is achievable for you to meet. Most banks will have online credit card applications available however, if you haven’t been a customer of that particular bank in the past, it is likely you will have to make an appointment at a local branch to confirm your ID once your credit card application is approved. 
Here's a tip:

When filling out the online credit card application form, ensure you follow all requirements to access the sign-up offer. 

couple running in Sahara Desert


Once you submit your credit card application online, you will either get immediate confirmation or you may have to wait until your application is reviewed by the bank. If the bank needs to approve your application, they may contact you to ask for some extra details or to clarify certain answers in your application. 

From the day you receive news that your credit card application has been successful. Expect your new credit card to arrive in the mail within a two to ten business days. 

CONGRATULATIONS! You have officially started your point hacking journey! 


What to do once you meet the minimum spend criteria of your first points credit card? 

To accumulate the maximum points possible, once you reach your minimum spend and when you have been credited your bonus points, you can stop using that credit card and start investigating your options for your next point credit card by repeating steps one to five. This is why point hacking is often called credit card churning as you're churning through the cards!

Make sure to check out the banks latest deals as they're often updated regularly. Feel free to cancel the first points credit card after you've reached the minimum spend and received the points or at least cancel your credit card at the latest before the one year anniversary of the initial confirmation date. On the one-year mark, your credit card will be automatically renewed, and you will be charged the yearly fee again but, in most cases, you will not receive as many or any bonus points at all for the second year. 


Another important thing to consider when you cancel your credit card is that many banks will not honour sign up offers with any of their other point credit card applications when you have, or have recently had a point credit card with them. Often the stand down period for approval of another sign-up offer on a point credit card from the same bank is one or two years.  Check with each bank’s official website to understand their standdown period.


This means that the sooner you cancel your credit card with that bank, the sooner you can apply for another point credit card with a sign-up bonus in the future.


Important things to know:

  • BPAY, government payments, property rental or mortgage payments don’t count towards the minimum spend. 
  • Points credit cards are ONLY worth it if you pay them off in full each month!
  • Always perform your own assessment, read the PDS and TMD for the relevant product and seek professional advice if needed before making any financial decisions. 


×

Aren’t Credit Cards Bad Though? 

No, not all credit cards are bad. I always thought that all credit cards were bad before getting into point hacking in Australia. Growing up in New Zealand where there is little competition and limited options for points credit cards, my family’s belief was that credit cards are bad as they are seen as a fast track to accumulating uncontrollable debt. 

When Tim and I moved to Australia in 2022 and I started hearing and learning about point hacking, I was nervous to get into it because credit cards are bad right? Wrong! If you utilise point credit cards by taking advantage of sign-up bonuses, paying off your credit card in full each month, and researching each credit card, then points credit cards can be a real game-changer for traveling much more comfortably and cheaply. 

Travel Savings Tip:

Read more about how we saved almost $2000 flying to Europe thanks to point hacking here 'How to Book Cheap Flights to Europe using Qantas Points in 2023'

Many people think that credit cards are bad because they end up in debt with interest accruing on the negative balance pushing them further and further into the deep dark hole of debt. For maximising your accumulation of points, point credit cards are not designed to be used to purchase items you can’t afford. They are simply to be used like you would an everyday debit card, you should ALWAYS pay your points credit card off in FULL every single month! Point credit cards tend to have very high interest rates for negative balances which is why the banks offer you the points sign-up bonuses, knowing that if you don’t manage your payments well, then you may owe the bank more money in interest than the value of the points gained.


×

How We Decided On Our First Point Credit Card? 

Our First Point Credit Card: Commbank Ultimate Rewards Credit Card 

Bonus sign up offer: 70,000 points

Minimum spend: $3,000aud in 3 months

Fee: Monthly fee of % (fee waived if you meet the $2,000 per month minimum spend) 

We love the Commbank Ultimate Rewards Credit Card, it is the card that got us started on our point hacking journey and continues to provide us with benefits as we travel the world. There were many aspects about this card that we knew would fit our needs and be the perfect credit card to start our point hacking journey.


At the time of our application, our usual spending habits met the minimum income requirement for the CommBank Ultimate Rewards Credit Card. 


When we commenced our point hacking journey, our main goal was to be able to accumulate enough points to be able to save a significant amount of money on our flights to Europe in 2023. We knew we needed at least 90k qantas points to access points plus pay flights from Melbourne to Italy (read about it in the article below). Ultimately, the Commbank Ultimate Rewards Credit Card cost us $0 extra to gain 70k points! 

Read:

How to Book Cheap Flights to Europe using Qantas Points in 2023

 

Commbank do NOT charge international transaction fees when you use this credit card for overseas transactions or online purchases. It is also comparably cost effective to withdraw cash from some international ATMs when your account is in positives. The bank exchange rate for this card is close to the mid-market rate that you'd find on XE or Google and the cash advance fee was $3aud (now $4) which has ended up being cheaper than our Wise card most of the time. This was great news for us as we knew we would be travelling to Asia at the end of 2022 and then our year of international travel coming up in 2023. 

We liked that there was a monthly fee instead of yearly fee because the monthly fee is waived when you meet the minimum monthly spend, which we were meeting with our normal daily expenses at the time meaning we had a credit card with no fee. As of August 2023, the minimum monthly spend for the Commbank Ultimate Rewards Credit Card has increased to $4,000aud per month. This has been our go to card while travelling. Fulltime travel means we are constantly paying for accommodation, flights and other travel expenses. Luckily for us, these expenses exceed the increased minimum monthly requirements to waive the monthly fee. 


In my opinion, the Commbank Ultimate Rewards Credit card is the best credit card available in Australia for long term travel provided you meet the minimum monthly spend to avoid the monthly fee. This is why we rate it:


1. It has been our most efficient method of withdrawing cash from overseas ATMs

2. We have been able to receive 1.2 Qantas reward points for every $1aud spent overseas (i.e. for us, all of them!)

3. No international transaction fees (except the cash advance fee mentioned earlier)


I hope this beginners guide to point hacking in Australia has given you the confidence to give point hacking a crack! If you have any questions about point hacking, just drop me a comment below.    

All Blogs Home

A word from the authors

Eva and Tim are the creators behind this world-class travel finance blog.

In 2021 they decided to travel the world for an entire year and begun implementing savings strategies to achieve their goal of long-term travel. By May 2023, they quit their jobs to embark on their year-long adventure, sharing their invaluable practical and achievable savings, planning and travel tips they learnt along the way/with the aim to help others Make Cents of Travel.

You can find Eva & Tim on Tiktok, Facebook and Instagram as Make Cents of Travel.

About Us

Hello, Hola, Ciao! We are Tim & Eva, a couple of kiwis who have spent the last few years saving for and planning our epic year-long adventure around the world. Our goal is to inspire fellow wanderlust souls (just like you!) to Make Cents Of Travel by sharing our experiences and strategies we used to turn our dream of long-term travel into a reality.

2 comments

Kate

Hi thanks for this I was wondering if it was worth signing up for a credit card offer 🙂"

7mo

Reply

Eva

No problem, I'm glad you found this article useful!"

7mo

Reply

Leave a comment