For the average traveller, exploiting those common frequent flyer redemption offers are more time consuming than they are enticing. But Point Hacks Executive Director, Edward Alder, says they're still a fast-track to luxury travel.
"We have a guy in the office who will keep an eye out for supermarket special offers," said Alder. "If he sees a promotion on Woolworths toilet paper, he'll race out and buy a month's supply."
You may not think that's a ground-breaking tactic, but strategy yields healthy dividends when teamed with the appropriate credit card; one that offers rewards points on purchases.
"It's called a double or triple-banger," said Alder. "If people keep their eyes peeled for promotions, they're getting points through Woolworths Rewards on top of points through their credit card."
Why would you bother going to all this trouble? Luxury, friends. To be more precise, luxury travel with any number of airlines.
Just imagine cruising a mile overhead, a glass of French champagne in your hand as you lie in a flat-bed seat, having just dined on an a la carte menu designed by a celebrity chef, before snuggling into your Saks Fifth Avenue bedding set for a long nap. Have we got your attention?
"For me, it's one of the great rewards [of point hacking]," said Alder. "There's nothing nicer than getting the chance to share the redemption with a partner or family member. It enables people to have fantastic experiences that are otherwise unaffordable."
"Living so far from the rest of the world, and with Australians being such active travellers, [frequent flyer points are] an amazing and very valuable currency that can give people this potential."
No credit, no worries
Many airlines have a web of partnerships with a variety of online, and bricks and mortar, stores, allowing you to earn points with every dollar you spend.
For example, you can link your Qantas and Woolworths Rewards accounts to receive Qantas points for simply doing your weekly grocery shop.
In fact, just about most expenses in your life will earn you frequent flyer miles. From petrol, groceries, hire cars and gym memberships; to alcohol, parking and even household utilities.
Qantas even has a smartphone app that earns you points for daily exercise.
Miles or status?
Alongside the accrual and redemption of miles, sits frequent flyer status - silver, gold, platinum and beyond - and the many benefits available at each level; such as airport lounge access and priority boarding.
The allure for status strong but what you aren't told is it's a constant struggle to maintain.
"It's gamification at its best," said Alder. "Unless you have corporate backing, status is hard to attain and retain because it's only really achieved through flying in premium cabins; you have to earn it every year and you can lose it every year."
"On short-haul legs, you only really earn 20 to 40 points each way. You get more on longer legs, like Africa or the Middle East, in a premium cabin, but if you're on a cheap business class fare, it could be less. So long as you're able to achieve them, frequent flyer points are a better currency."
Be credit smart
Sure, the thought of maxing out your plastic to attain miles sounds absurd. But the trick is not to change your lifestyle or budgetary habits. Bills, groceries, petrol, Netflix – put it all on your plastic, then pay it off with the same cash you would've used in the first place within the card's interest-free period.
"So long as you manage your credit properly and don't get yourself into debt and pay off your balance, it's not a silly strategy," said Alder.
"The majority of customers we know – about 82 per cent, from our surveys – pay off their card every month. Any Australian who is spending money week-in-week-out should be using a frequent flyer credit card, because you are losing a discount [on travel] every time you don't.
"We've got multiple experiences of people on reasonable or modest incomes who take they families to far-flung areas of the world in business class. By optimising their expenses like this, they can earn around 10,000 points per month."
Executive Style advises you use credit smartly. For advice on borrowing and budgeting habits, consult Money Smart at www.moneysmart.gov.au.
Do you have a hack to earn frequent flyer miles in record time? Tell us in the comments below.