Points Magnet Part 3

Groceries My Way 

As a fan of the Qantas Frequent Flyer Program, it’s no surprise that I’m going to tell you to sign up (if you haven’t already) to Woolworths Rewards.

If you shop at Woolies and AREN’T signed up, then you’re crazy. Like it or not, those loyalty points are factored into the price of everything you buy – so you may as well collect the points! If you don’t, it’s like giving Woolworths a tip, or saying “keep the change” every time you shop. 

Great, you’ve got a Woolworths Rewards Card. Set it up to transfer points to your QFF account. Now… get another Woolworths Rewards Card. And keep a regular check on your email account.

Whilst WR is a loyalty rewards program, the irony is that Woolworths is more likely to reward disloyalty. Stop using Card A for a while and watch the special bonus offers start to appear in your inbox (they think you’ve gone to Coles). Activate them. Use them if they make sense to you (but don’t buy stuff you don’t need just to get the points). 

While you’re happily collecting bonus points on Card A, pretty soon you’ll be getting similar offers on Card B. 

If the bonus offers dry up, consider getting another card.

Make sure everyone in your family is shopping on one of your cards to maximise your points. You can also collect WR points at fuel and bottle shop outlets, and Big W. 

Notwithstanding those special offers, you’ll get 1 Woolworths Reward point for every $1 spent. Each WR point converts to 0.43 QFF points (2000 WR points converts to 870 QFF points, transferred to your Qantas account quarterly)

Let’s compare value: 

2000 Woolworths points buys a $10 voucher/discount when used at Woolworths. 1 point is worth half a cent! 

870 Qantas Frequent Flyer points is worth approximately $26 when used for points upgrades or awards flights at Qantas, based on my 3 cents per point valuation. 

The Woolworths award can be used on life’s essentials, and is easily cashed in. The Qantas award is a lifestyle choice and is a little bit more difficult to cash – but so much more fun than buying toilet paper. It’s up to you, be sensible or be self-indulgent, but don’t miss out on the points! 

Now, how many QFF points could you collect in a year from grocery shopping? Let’s say you spend $250 a week at Woolworths (not a stretch for family of four). And you activate and exploit all of those bonus offers. And you pay on a points earning credit card like the American Express Ultimate card that I have recommended previously. 

  • Table 1 – $250 Weekly Grocery Bill
    • WR points: 13,000 converts to 5590 QFF points 
    • Bonus Points: 40,000* converts to 17200 QFF points 
    • (*based on 4 x 10,000 bonus offer for 4-weekly shopping targets)
    • Amex 1.25 points for spend 16,250 QFF points

Congratulations, you’ve just banked 39,040 QFF points towards your next award. 

Get that AMEX card on this link: http://amex.com.au/refer/brettjRzIr?XLINK=MYCP

Now let’s put the icing on that cake:

Shopping at Woolworths ONLINE via the Qantas Mall can increase your points yield even further, AND save you time in the supermarket.

It takes some planning and organisation, but I think it’s worth the effort. I use Woolworths online (via Qantas Mall) to buy the things I know I’m going to need for the coming week. It’s also a great way to browse the half-price specials and snap up those things you regularly use at a ‘bargain’ price. It won’t replace that dash to the shops for the bread and milk that you just ran out of, but if you can get into a routine you can easily get most of your groceries this way. 

They pick and pack the groceries for you, so you save time in store. I also find that I am less prone to impulse buys (usually chocolate), so it’s arguably good for wallet and waist as well! 

But back to the points… every time you shop at Woolworths online via the Qantas Mall, your spend is tracked by Qantas and they will reward you with 2 points (standard, sometimes up to 4 points) for every $1 spent. That’s 4 times the standard earn rate in store!

For example: 

  • Table 2 Points Yield on $200 Online Grocery Shop
    • 200 standard Woolworths rewards points (converts to 87 QFF points) 
    • 250 QFF points from your points earning credit card 
    • 400 QFF points from the Qantas Mall 

If you were able to do $200 of your weekly family-of-four grocery shop online instead of instore, you’ll collect at least a further 20,800 QFF in a year.  

Add that to the points from Table 1 and you are at around 60,000 QFF points – not for buying more stuff, just from buying the same stuff in a different way.

You could look at this as a $360 cash back on your groceries, or up to $1800 to spend at Qantas. (I’ll cover points valuations in more detail in another instalment)

Or you could let Woolworths and Qantas keep the points – it’s up to you! 

Key Point
Use different Woolworths Rewards cards to attract
more bonus offers

Key Point
Watch your emails and activate offers, track your shopping to reach your goals, but only buy stuff you need

Key Point
Plan your weekly shop and do it online through the Qantas Mall to turbo boost your points yield

Points Magnet Part 2

Get the right credit card

A premium credit card is the fastest way to build your points balance and get you closer to that first-class awards flight on QF1 to London! And you don’t have to be a CEO of a listed company to qualify. 

If you’re serious about collecting points, then you need to have an American Express card AND a Visa or Mastercard to maximize your points earning opportunities.  

The features of a great points earning card are:
Sign on Bonus Points
High earn rate per $ spent
Discounted or waived first annual fee
Travel Privileges

The interest rate doesn’t matter because you’re going to pay the amount due IN FULL, EVERY MONTH, by the DUE DATE. If you overlook this part, all of the benefits will be wiped by interest charges (which is what the card providers are counting on to help make their products profitable – just don’t do it!) 
So, here’s a working example of the two credit cards on the market right now that I would choose to turbo charge by points balance: 

Qantas American Express Ultimate Card 
Sign on Bonus 100,000 points 
Earn Rate 1.25 points per $ spent, UNCAPPED 
Annual Fee $450 
Annual Qantas Credit $450, Trav. Ins., Lounge access offers 

I have this card and I love it. Sure, it comes at a premium price of $450pa, but this is offset by the annual $450 travel credit (for Qantas flights booked through American Express Travel). It forces me to spend at least $450 a year on Qantas flights – what a chore right??? 

Here’s a referral link to the Qantas Amex Ultimate:

http://amex.com.au/refer/brettjRzIr?XLINK=MYCP

Now, because your AMEX card won’t be accepted at all merchants, or may incur a surcharge with some merchants (its not worth paying a 2% surcharge just to collect QFF points), I recommend having either a VISA or Mastercard in your arsenal.  

One of the best is ANZ’s Frequent Flyer Black VISA 

Sign on Bonus 100,000 points 
Earn Rate 1 point per $ spent to $7,500, then 0.5 points per $ 
Annual Fee $425 with $200 cash back in first year 
Travel Insurance, Lounge access offers 

It’s a reasonably expensive card, particularly after the first year. But as an ANZ mortgage customer, the annual fee is waived so I am more than happy to hang on to this card. If you don’t have an ANZ mortgage, there is nothing to stop you closing the account inside the first anniversary and applying for another bank’s points earning product.  

Credit card churn is a thing. The Banks hate it. But you can make it work for you.  

With these two cards in hand, spending $1500 per month per card, you will rack up over 240,000 Qantas points in the first year. That’s enough for return flights Melbourne to London! 

I value those points somewhere between $1440 and $7200 (more on the value of points in another instalment). Even if the annual fees seem expensive at first glance (total $675 in first year), you are getting a minimum $1440 pay back, so this actually make good financial sense.  Beware though, holding too many cards or having too much credit could be a barrier to you getting other forms of finance like a a home loan. Only ask for as much credit limit as you need, and be prepared to lower it or close a card if needed to meet lending requirements.

Key Point – take up an American Express AND a VISA or Mastercard with generous sign on points Bonus

Key Point – Use your AMEX as your preferred card, wherever it is accepted and does not incur a surcharge. Use your cards for all your purchases, big and small 

Key Point – be sure to meet the minimum spend in first 3 months on EACH  card to obtain the bonus points. 

Key Point – be disciplined and pay the full statement balance by the due date every month or you will incur interest payments that could undo the benefit of all those points you collected 

Key Point – Only buy the things you would normally buy. Don’t go on a spending spree just to chase points!