Frequent Flyer Fanatics: Kathryn Drew
American Express's Kathryn Drew explains how "double dipping" and offering to cover the dinner bill with your credit card can boost your points.
Kathryn Drew is the head of co-brand airline partnerships and loyalty at American Express. We spoke to this self-confessed "points junkie" about the best ways to pick up points on everyday costs and why it's so important to read those pesky T&Cs!
Which frequent flyer program(s) do you belong to?
I am a member of the Qantas and Velocity Frequent Flyer programs, which are linked to my Qantas American Express Ultimate Card and American Express Velocity Platinum Cards. Both programs have a huge number of partner airlines, which gives me the flexibility to travel anywhere around the world.
When did you first become a frequent flyer?
When I moved home from the US in 2012, I still had the travel bug so I started to become more serious about collecting points and statuses. The perks of being a frequent flyer member definitely help to offset the trials of long-distance flying. Plus, living in such a remote corner of the world and with such amazing sign-up offers from American Express, it was a given that I was going to become a "points junkie".
What's your current points goal?
I am a very spontaneous travel planner. So, instead of collecting points for a specific trip, I like to have points available to upgrade my travel, so I'm always collecting a pool ready for the next time a travel opportunity comes my way.
What’s the best points hack you’ve ever used?
The easiest "hack" is to use your credit card to pay for your everyday spend, not just for large purchases. I pay for everything with my card, from my morning coffee to my bigger bills. I often pay for tickets or dinner on behalf of my group of friends and have them reimburse me. That way I earn a higher number of points without spending a lot more and it’s amazing how quickly your balance grows.
Another great hack is double dipping on points with a store’s own loyalty program. If I’m shopping at Woolworths, for example, I always make sure to use my Woolworths Rewards card and Qantas American Express Ultimate Card as they both earn Qantas Frequent Flyer Points. The same goes for Velocity and Coles where flybuys points become Velocity Points. There are so many places where you can supercharge your earning power without going out of your way. It’s so easy.
What points mistake that amateur frequent flyers make drives you crazy?
Not checking the fine print. There’s no point getting a credit card to earn extra frequent flyer points if the points you're earning aren’t worth much when you go to redeem them. Check for things like the points burn rate, the earn rate, points caps and points expiry before you invest in a card. My American Express cards have an amazing earn rate and are uncapped, so I know I’m earning the most points possible no matter how much or where I spend.
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.