Frequent Flyer Fanatics: Byron Matthews
Byron reveals how he uses points to book a free around-the-world trip every year.
We had a chat with Byron Matthews, Qantas Frequent Flyer and points connoisseur who uses his points to redeem a free around-the-world flight every year.
Which frequent flyer program(s) do you belong to?
When did you first become a frequent flyer?
2010 but I really didn't worry about it until three years ago, as I thought it wasn't worth the money and that cheap airfares save more money.
What's your current points goal?
280,000 points. That's the goal. It's 220,000 to fly business to London (from Sydney) but only 280,000 to fly around the world in business. I don't mind flying economy but when you do around the world in 30 days (which is what I do), the lie flats are a must to get the most out of each destination.
What is the best points hack you’ve ever used?
Credit cards are the key but only if the credit limit is way less than what you can afford to pay and if you avoid interest each month. It's also the combination of sign up bonus and rewards that help so much, as I don't fly enough in business class to get my points up that way.
I used a combination of three cards to reach my points goal for my last round-the-world trip:
1. ANZ Frequent Flyer Black card
I took the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black credit card out first for the 100,000 Qantas Points bonus (Note: This is now 75,000 bonus points). I also got the first year free. Then when it came to review the card, I rang them and said I was going to close the account and in return I got a half-price annual fee.
2. Qantas American Express Ultimate card
I also took this card out when it had the 100,000 Qantas Points bonus (Note: This is now 55,000 points). It also gave me a return flight to Melbourne. I like this card. It has premium features and I have a really low credit limit of $3,500 unlike the card above that had a credit limit min of $15,000 which doesn’t help when you are also applying for a home loan. I use this one for work purchases only, so I know exactly how much to claim on expenses. Another great thing about this card is the special Amex cashback offers. I always redeem them when I see a deal that is not making me spend on stuff I don’t need. For example, I used it to book work accommodation at the Hilton and got a credit back to my account.
3. Qantas Premier credit card
The Qantas Premier credit card first came out with 60,000 points bonus sign up. It also meant that I could close the ANZ FF Black, so I didn't have the $15,000 credit limit as my Qantas Mastercard only has a $6,000 limit.
Over two years, these three cards gave me 260,000 points. This was only 20,000 short of the around-the-world business class ticket I used in June this year. I also monitored what this did to my credit rating and although it went down, it is now coming back up again.
Which points mistake that amateur frequent flyers make drives you crazy?
What I used to do and buy from the Qantas shop. It's a huge waste. I want to start a program where people can pay me points for shop purchases and I will send them the product cheaper and I can keep the points.
finder's Frequent Flyer Fanatics series features frequent flyer and rewards experts from Australia and around the world. Check back every Wednesday for our freshest Frequent Flyer Fanatic and the latest points tips.