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Points frenzy: Why so many Australians are seeking free travel


New research confirms we're leaning into frequent flyer reward points when planning our holidays.

I love points for a simple reason: they mean stuff for free.

Used wisely, frequent flyer points and supermarket reward points can score you free travel (and cut your regular costs).

So it's always pleasing to see that folks are getting wise to those benefits.

A recent global survey by American Express highlights that Australians are racking up points so they can travel for less.

The Trendex study of 1,000 Australians found that 66% of regular travellers were using a credit card which let them earn points that could be used for travel rewards.

That could mean a card that earns points directly with Qantas or Velocity, or a rewards card that lets you convert points for a variety of airlines.

Either way, it's crucial to keep track of your points.

In the study, 89% of those earning points said they regularly checked the balance.

Setting a specific goal also helps motivate your points strategy.

One of my recent goals was to get a business class upgrade on a Europe trip, and I got lucky with that, scoring over $7,000 in free travel value.

The next goal on the list? A couple of free trips to New Zealand.

Points aren't the only strategy for cheaper travel, of course.

Three other key strategies that the Trendex study highlighted are also always worth using:

  • Travel outside peak periods for cheaper fares and accommodation charges (used by 33%)
  • Choose mid-week or early morning travel for cheaper fares (35%)
  • Travel only with carry-on so you don't pay baggage fees (27%)

The no-baggage strategy is especially popular with low-cost carriers. We're increasingly keen on those, with recent Finder research showing 35% of Australians have flown on a low-cost carrier in the last 12 months.

The clear trap to avoid there is hidden fees, such as seat selection or baggage fees. Always weigh your hand luggage if you're flying just with carry-on – those airlines will check!

Want to keep your frequent flyer points balance growing? Check out the latest credit card sign-up deals.

Image: Finder/Photographer: Angus Kidman Image: Supplied: American Express
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