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Breakfast Buffet at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

Buffet Breakfast at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

The Reserve Bank of Australia have recently imposed changes in regards to Interchange Fees for Credit Cards. What does this mean? In basic terms – the majority of credit cards will earn you less points, less benefits and less value. So what are you going to do from these changes? Are you going to give up and say everything is too hard? Might as well pay full cash for holidays?

To myself – these changes present extremely exciting new opportunities! What you can’t earn on the credit cards you used to be able to earn makes my mind formulate other strategies of multipying my points.…

When I speak to my friends about booking trips using their credit card points or frequent flyer points - they always seem to leave it to the last minute. Even booking a holiday with cash which majority of people do - they do the same thing - book last minute. Why?

I believe it is because they fail to plan early. By giving yourself plenty of time to book ahead – I personally like to do it 12 months ahead – the opportunities and award seats available are much greater than the last few weeks before departure.

Booking with points or miles for award seats are best done months away before you decide you want to fly. Yes you need to be flexible especially in terms of booking the award seat – but there are many more options available and if you know the airlines which have a good number of seats available – then you can time it just about right.

For example I was able to book my family of four to go to the Maldives in January on Singapore Airlines Business Class flying out of Sydney. It was quite easy because I knew Singapore Airlines released seats about 350 days out. Knowing the routing rules always helps – booking in advance lets you research your options that the frequent flyer program you wish to fly on with a better chance of securing the seat. I’ll bet you now there is no chance you can get 4 Business class seats all on the same flights because the time I booked it was peak time and the award seats would have been picked up already.…

Pointshogger-Logo-Full

Recently during my trip to Dallas to attend Frequent Traveller University I met a couple of great Canadian bloggers known as Pointshogger (http://pointshogger.boardingarea.com/). 

They kindly shared some of their insights into the way that they accumulate and then burn points. For you Canadians out there - I highly recommend you visit their site as they provide the most up to date and informative articles in regards to anything points and miles related.

 

Below is an interview to understand what Pointshogger do and how it can help everyday Canadians travel better for less:

 

1. Can you explain what Pointshogger do and the philosophy in points and travel?

 

Pointshogger is a Canadian-centric blog that teaches people who want to learn how to maximize the rewards they earn when spending their money. We like to think of ourselves as the "one-stop shop" for our readers to learn about anything points-related. We hope our blog will one day serve as a database about every major loyalty program offered in Canada so that any people can get the best return possible for every dollar that they spend.

What I would like to talk about in this post is that your success in accumulating the points and miles to receiving that great business or first class for yourself or your family comes down to if you believe you can do or not.

I see this very similar to financial goals that I have put on myself. I've given myself a goal of being financially independent which is that I don't have to rely on a job. My goal is to achieve this goal within 10 years – this is using investment techniques and planning. I am able to do this as I constantly educate myself in regards to finances – being financially literate.

In terms of points and miles – this is very similar. I've met many people who would love to fly business or first for their family but haven't the faintest idea how to do it. Most people think about how people can even afford business or first class?

Even after explaining to them how I do it – they are fascinated by the concept – but I don't believe that they themselves believe they can do it. So next thing I know when I speak to them in a few months time – they've booked a trip by themselves – probably paying more than what I would have paid – but also flying in coach and staying in 3 star hotels.

It just astounds me that people know I can help them improve their holidaying experience for free because they are my friends – but just cannot be bothered picking up the phone and have a talk on how to do it.

It comes down to the mindset and the will of a person I believe. My mindset is that every time I spend money – I want to get the best bang for my money in terms of cash back, discounts and points maximization. My mind is thinking everyday of how I can obtain more business and first class flights for my family.

Over the last 8 years my family has been able to fly business class overseas every year due to my due diligence in understanding how to maximize the points and also understanding that every dollar I spend is an opportunity for me to increase my points.

The difference between myself and the next person in terms of accumulating and then redeeming the points for the best value product (i.e. business or first class) – is that I can extract more than 100x value.

I remember my friend who was with me shopping one day said not to worry about how much points I can get when buying an item. Are you kidding me! That's what irritates the heck out of me – people who don't use their mind (the greatest leverage in the world) to extract the best value.

By having the right credit cards, shopping at places which provides you the most points, understanding what your ultimate goal is and using your mind as the greatest leverage tool that God has given you – you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.…

Recently in April 2015 for about 2 weeks there was a special on Qantas Mall where it was offering double points to shop through there.

To give you a run down Qantas Mall is a shopping portal where if you enter your Qantas Frequent Flyer number and then it goes through to the shop online – you earn bonus points.

Now David Jones is usually 5 extra Qantas points. This is in addition to your own credit card points accumulated as well. So in effect you are earning 6 Airline points per dollar.

Now let's do some calculations here.

I estimate that each point is worth 5 cents of business class value.

If I buy a new bag worth $100 – I would be receiving 500 QFF points plus 100 Credit card points. So in total I would be receiving 600 Airline points.…

There is no denying my love for reward points from credit cards. When you reach the amount required to fly business class to Phuket or Penang and know that you have only had to pay the airline taxes – then you know you’ve accomplished a feat that so many others have not or have no clue about. What is even sweeter is when you have enough Hotel points to book a nice suite for that one week that you are there – again not spending a penny.

So the cost is minimal – but this will only occur if you plan ahead on knowing how to achieve the points total required to reach that dream holiday. I recently booked our 10 year wedding anniversary trip to the Maldives and Singapore flying Business class on Singapore Airlines for my whole family (wife and 2 kids) staying at the Conrad Maldives Overwater Bungalows and then also staying at the Duplex Suite at the Grand Hyatt in Singapore. This trip would cost me in excess of $50,000 but has possibly costed me maybe 10-20% of that as it was covered by points.

Or the other example is an upcoming trip to San Francisco/LA and Tokyo flying Japan Airlines First and Business Class and staying at the San Francisco Hilton Financial District, Doubletree Anaheim, Grand Hyatt San Francisco and the Hyatt Regency Tokyo (all in suites of course) for my family of 4. This trip would literally cost me in excess of $100,000 if I had to pay it all in cash – but at the end probably costed me around 10-20% of that price – the rest using points.…