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.…

I’ve got a family – my wife and my 2 boys. Having a family has limitations in regards to using points for business class flights because many routes and airlines does not have four on the one flight. This causes difficulty for many families trying to book their flights all on award points. The optimum way to secure a reward flight is if you were flying just by yourself thus opening up much more award availability.

Don’t get me wrong though – flying with my family on premium travel is one of the best experiences I can provide them – travelling in luxury and actually enjoying the flight rather than dreading it. I have flown many times with them to Hong Kong on Business Class and have experience on which airlines and frequent flyer programs tend to have a bit more award space to cater for a family. I have 2 family trips coming up – one to the US and Japan flying Japan Airlines Business and First Class and also another to Singapore and Maldives on Singapore Airlines Business Class.

Also travelling with kids means you also need to consider that you most likely can only travel during school holidays as well which means there are more limitations as those are usually peak periods and airlines release less award seats knowing they can sell the tickets instead.…

Is it a good idea to hoard frequent flyer and hotel points. In most circumstances it is never a good idea as all points devalue over time. Think of it like cash. Do you think keeping cash under your pillow is better than keeping it in a high-interest savings account? Of course not! When you consider factors such as inflation then your cash actually is worth less today than yesterday.

This is the same with points. Don’t save a million points but then only to have the frequent flyer program devalue by half. Obviously have a goal to reach for but once you get it redeem it as soon as possible so there is less chance of a devaluation thus reducing the value of your points.

So how many frequent flyer programs should you accumulate points with? Well it all depends how often you fly. If your work flies you around the country or even internationally then try to stick with one program. In Australia you really have Qantas and Virgin so if you fly domestically within Australia pick one of these programs not just to rack up your miles but to gain status credits for elite treatment later on.…

One of the cards gaining a bit of momentum so far is the Westpac Altitude Black Credit Card. In general it has the best American Express earn rate on the market at 1.5 Airline points per dollar spent. This is possibly the best card out there for a business if the suppliers and services mostly takes American Express as there is no points cap – unlike the American Express Platinum Business Card which is capped at a certain point.

See link below:

Westpac Altitude Black Credit Card

This credit card has 2 accounts – an Amex and a Mastercard. The Mastercard only earns 0.625 Airline points per dollar so definitely not the best one out there. You could sign up for the Citibank Signature Visa Card to get 1 point per dollar for all your purchases and as they have regular promotions where the annual fee is free for life – then will beat the Altitude Mastercard hands down.…

I met with a financial advisor today in regards to providing me with further guidance with reaching my financial independence in 10-15 years’ time. I wanted to make sure that I was on the right track in regards to my investments and generating a passive income to live off.

It occurred to me after my session with him that everyone needs a goal in terms of their finances – otherwise they would spend every cent they have and not have enough to either save or invest for the long term. People generally need to have instant gratification but like most things in life – waiting for something is more satisfying in the end and results in a much more positive outcome.

So relating this to reward points people who accumulate 20,000 points can see they can redeem a $100 Target gift card. Say this took them 6 months to earn. Now if they had waiting another 18 months and gained 60,000 more points then they would have enough points for a business class return ticket on Cathay Pacific from Sydney to Hong Kong return.…

Over the years as I have learnt the value of points and miles and from time to time I’ll see a little segment on TV or an article on-line in one of the major publications saying how rewards points have little value and it will take too long for anyone to accumulate enough for them to redeem a domestic flight.

There have been articles where they would compare the credit cards and then state how much you need to spend to get that $100 gift card. In a lot of cases you would have to spend $20,000 on your credit card just to get that $100 gift card.

If I calculate this – that would mean that you are getting 0.5% back in either cash or gift card value. Doesn’t seem much at all and does not give anyone incentive to go ahead and accumulate credit card points.

It’s probably better to go ahead and sign up to those Visa cards that give you 2% of your money back for items costing less than $100. These are usually for 6 months. At least you get 2% back. That’s much better value that 0.5% back – in fact 4 times better! But in my opinion still doesn’t entice me to get the credit card. The return is not appealing enough.…