Starting out and looking for advice

Hi all,

Introduced to this website by a friend, and starting the journey on how to best earn points and rewards. Suffering information overload! I think I understand most of the incredibly helpful information shared here, but some of the subtleties I’m not 100% sure of.

My goal is to be able to save up enough points to take my partner to Europe in a few years time in business class, probably via Singapore Airlines (though have heard good things about Emirates and Qatar Airways). Whether this is return both segments, or just the longest leg both ways, not sure how this would work.

I signed up for an Amex Explorer last month, in part for the point bonus. My average spend per month would be about $3000, assuming I can put most of my spend here. Will need a Visa/Mastercard for what can’t go on Amex, and this is where my question lies… Qantas or Velocity?

I think my answer should be Velocity, because of the KrisFlyer angle. I’d estimate I spend about $2000/year on domestic (economy!) Qantas flights, which together with the significant point bonuses on offer across the banks is I think what is giving me pause. Though I guess I wouldn’t be earning too many points from the flights…

What would you guys recommend? Any insights on what the best card for my needs would be? I was thinking if Velocity, then the Virgin Money High Flyer Visa… else it would be the NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Visa.

I also realised after I signed up for the Amex Explorer that the Amex Platinum Edge has a higher earn rate at supermarkets/petrol stations, which then also transfers at higher rates given the Ascent vs Gateway program angle. Is it overkill to get a Platinum Edge as well?

Thankyou in advance

Hi L-Plates, welcome to the site and happy Point Hacking. Unfortunately, we cannot suggest or recommend which credit card to apply for or which credit card is best (we get asked this a lot) as this constitutes giving personal financial advice and it is against our operating policies to do this. Otherwise, run the risk of losing our license to operate.\r\n\r\nHowever, our purpose is to help educate the general public and people like yourself how to navigate the points field to fly premium seats cheaper. Personally, I recommend checking out the credit card offers page and master credit card table to help make choosing a credit card easier. Personally, credit card sign up bonuses is ~80-90% of how I earn my points.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAny general questions, please feel free to ask :). You are pretty on track by the sound of it.

Hi L-Plates,

Welcome to the world of point hacking!

I think you’re definitely on the right track to get yourself and a partner to Europe and back in Business Class. I also think that Singapore Airlines is a good choice. You’ll need a minimum of 420,000 KrisFlyer miles for your trip – definitely do-able over a 2-3 year timeframe. By contrast, you’ll need over 500,000 Qantas points for the same trip and even more if you use those points on Qatar.

The AmEx Explorer is a fantastic card which will take you a long way towards getting your points. See if you can become a Local Champion as well, which over time will net you an extra 10,000 Membership Rewards points. I’m Local Champion at my local supermarket, which means that all my supermarket spend gets me 3 MR points per dollar.

Yes, your second credit card should be a Velocity-earning card, given what you’re aiming for. I’d personally get a Virgin Money High Flyer Visa, but wait for a 120,000-point sign-up bonus – these happen a few times every year. Those 120,000 Velocity points will convert to almost 90,000 KrisFlyer miles.

If the $289 annual fee for the High Flyer Visa is too high for you (though I think you get a $129 travel credit included in that), you might also like to consider the humble Coles Rewards Mastercard. It has a fairly low annual fee (I think $99) and, if you wait for the 15% bonus transfer deals which happen 3-4 times per year, an effective earn rate of 1 Velocity point per dollar spent. I’d also consider joining Flybuys because they have fantastic bonus point offers, especially if you do your grocery shopping at Coles.

Of course, if you switch to Virgin for your flights, that $2000/year spend will net you at least 10,000 Velocity points/year. And if you want that business class trip, those points will be very useful!

Finally, no, it’s not overkill at all to get a Platinum Edge for your supermarket and petrol spending. If you’re Local Champion at your supermarket, you’ll be able to get 4 FF points per dollar spent on groceries, on top of the extra points you’ll earn from the supermarket’s own rewards programme (FlyBuys at Coles or Woolworths Rewards at Woolies).

All the best – your goal is well-and-truly achievable!

Thanks sixtyeight for the detailed reply!

Its gratifying to see I’ve got the broad gist of how to achieve my goal, and will definitely follow the tips you’ve given. Looks like I need to lodge an application for the Platinum Edge pronto! My local supermarket is a Coles, and do already have flybuys, so will keep an eye out for those bonus offers as well as look into the Local Champion program… hopefully not too many point hackers out my way :wink:

My partner and I pretty much had the same goals as you less than a year ago; to gather enough points for a return business class flight to Europe (Italy in our case). We decided to fly Singapore too, because of the high redemption availability and their partnership with Velocity meant we could earn points on Amex as much as possible, but on the Virgin High Flyer visa card where Amex isn’t accepted.

Happy to say that we’ve now collected enough points to redeem the flights (only started taking this seriously last August), and it would’ve been impossible without the help of this site!

Here are some things we’d learned along the way:

  • don't be shy about applying for cards just to get the bonus points and canceling once you've collected the points. Obviously, you can't do this too often (credit history takes a hit and there are only so many good offers to apply for at a given time), but one every few months, spread between you and your partner has been acceptable for us.
  • Amex local champion is great, but also check out Amex offers for extras and bonuses. They often offer cash back on specific retailers, but today they had an offer of xxxx bonus points if the total spend within a month is $xxxx.
  • sign up for a free account on Award Wallet to keep track of all your points activity. This is especially handy when you have multiple cards to keep track of between you and your partner.
  • we discovered that flying from Melbourne to Istanbul on Singapore business only costs 78,000 points one way per person. This is a lot less compared to Melbourne to anywhere in Europe for 105,000. Since a cash flight from Istanbul to Italy (our ultimate destination) is very cheap, we decided to save some points by going to Istanbul first and doing a few days as a stopover there before moving onwards to Italy. Note that we'd always wanted to go there, so we're not doing this just to save points, but a handy thing to know anyway!
All the best to you achieving your goals -- it sounds like you're well underway, and I'm sure you'll have a wonderful trip :)