Maximising Frequent Flyer points in your business

When you are in business you want your venture to be successful, but more than that, you also want to feel successful and nothing makes you feel like you've 'made it' more than a platinum credit card and a jet setting lifestyle. Of course to maintain the success of your business, you can't go and spend all of your business income on those international first class plane tickets, instead, you need to ensure your business can reward you with luxury flights, and more, and it can when you're earning Frequent Flyer points.

What are frequent flyer points?

Qantas was one of the first airlines to implement a rewards program and while they are not the only airline with a rewards system, it is one of the more extensive programmes. You can earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points on everyday spending on hotels, car hire, travel and restaurants, and you can boost your earning capacity by using a Frequent Flyer credit card.

While most small businesses will not require frequent air travel, you don't have to be a frequent flyer to use a Frequent Flyer credit card as your everyday spending goes towards building your points balance. This means that when you pay for a business lunch, you pay your phone bills or you buy new office equipment you can be earning Frequent Flyer points with a participating credit card.

How can you earn frequent flyer points for your business?

Of course you don't have to have a Frequent Flyer credit card to earn rewards points with your everyday spending because there are a number of partnered businesses and retailers around Australia, and around the world, where you can show your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership card.

For example, you can earn points when you fly with partnered Qantas airlines, or when you shop at participating supermarkets, fuel stations or department stores. There are also hundreds of partnered hotels around Australia, as well as car hire companies and restaurants, and participating theatre and concert venues. Likewise, purchase of a new car or magazine subscription could earn you more rewards points.

Some of the major Frequent Flyer partnered businesses where you can earn rewards points include:

Optus - SMB customers with an Optus account can now earn Frequent Flyer points from mid-2011.

Life insurance - If you take out an eligible OnePath or ANZ life insurance or income protection policy, you can earn Frequent Flyer points when you pay your premiums. Plus, you have the opportunity to earn bonus points during special sign up offers.

Margin loans - If you use a Leveraged Equities Rewards Plus Margin Loan to fund your business investments you can earn Frequent Flyer points on either the loan amount, or the daily loan balance.

Mortgages - With the TIO Extra Miles Home Loan you can earn Frequent Flyer points at the settlement of your loan, and points every year you hold your loan account in the Northern Territory.

Online trading - When you buy and sell shares, options or warrants online with E*TRADE you won't pay any joining fees and you'll earn Frequent Flyer points on the money you have in brokerage.

Snap Printing - Whenever you spend at Snap Printing for printing promotional materials, business cards, website or online marketing solutions, you can earn Frequent Flyer points.

LJ Hooker - When you list and sell your home, your commercial property or an industrial property with LJ Hooker in Australia or New Zealand you will earn Frequent Flyer points. Plus you can earn additional points if you appoint LJ Hooker as your exclusive property management agent for your Australian residential property.

Rental payments - If you are renting with Rental Rewards you can earn Frequent Flyer points on the amount of rent you pay, with an eligible credit card. Plus, you can earn bonus points when you make your first rental payment and you may be eligible to earn more bonus points every 12 months.

Stationery - You may want to start buying your office supplies from Office National or Office Products Depot because you can earn Frequent Flyer points when you spend.

Term deposit - A term deposit is a great way to protect and grow your business income and investments, and with Macquarie Bank you can grow your Frequent Flyer rewards point balance too when you can earn points on the amounts you invest.

What types of point redemption options are available for your business?

Now that you know how easy it is to earn points for just about every business expense, you don't want to leave points dormant in your account; you want to start redeeming them for rewards for yourself and your business.

The way you are rewarded can depend on how you've chosen to collect your points, for example, using the Qantas American Express Business card you can be rewarded with:

  • Qantas Frequent Flyer points on all of your purchases.
  • No spending limit and no cap on the points you can earn.
  • Earn bonus points when you spend on eligible Qantas products and services in Australia.
  • Earn Frequent Flyer points on all other purchases.

The American Express Qantas Corporate credit card rewards you in a different way, with:

  • A rebate on the cost of eligible Qantas flights.
  • A rebate on your spending at all BP service stations in Australia.
  • A discounted Qantas Club membership fee.
  • Member rates for Qantas meeting rooms.
  • Earn Membership Rewards Spirit points when you spend which can be redeemed for Frequent Flyer points.

Or, American Express give you a third way to be rewarded with the American Express Velocity Platinum credit card which offers buy one get one free offers on full priced international business class airfares, a free domestic return flight each year, two entries into the Virgin Australia lounge each year and international travel insurance.

To be directly rewarded, you can redeem your points for a range of flights and benefits, and even if you don't have quite enough points for the reward you want, you can buy top up points to boost your balance, or share points with an eligible family member. Rewards include:

  • A Classic Award to one of 50 destinations around Australia or 625 destinations around the world with Qantas or a partnered airline.
  • Redeem your points for a seat on any Qantas or Jetstar flight where there is an available seat.
  • Use your points to upgrade your flight.
  • Shop in the Qantas store and be rewarded with cookware, iPods, TVs, toys, sporting equipment or gift vouchers for leading retailers.
  • Look out for the monthly special offers in the Qantas store which will see your points go further.

With a Silver, Gold or Platinum Frequent Flyer membership, you are eligible for:

  • Earning bonus points when you fly.
  • Priority check-in.
  • Preferred seating.
  • An extra baggage allowance on Qantas flights.
  • Free admission to the Qantas Club.
  • Free access to oneworld alliance lounges.

Manage and Boost your Frequent Flyer Points Balance

Here are a few more ways you can boost your Frequent Flyer points balance:

 iGoogle Gadget

You can download the iGoogle Gadget to your iGoogle page and use this interactive app to view your Frequent Flyer points balance, see how many points you've earned from partnered programs and find out about the latest news, specials and tips to earn more points.

Google Chrome Extension

You can download the Qantas Frequent Flyer points extension for your Google Chrome browser. Then, no matter what website you are viewing, you can click on the Qantas Frequent Flyer extension and a window will open showing you:

  • Your points balance.
  • The number of points you have earned from partnered programs.
  • How many more points you need for selected flights.
  • The items in the Qantas store you are eligible to buy.

Qantas Frequent Flyer iPhone App

Taking the knowledge of your Frequent Flyer points balance and redemption options further is the Frequent Flyer iPhone app, which features:

  •  Instant access to your points balance wherever you are.
  • The ability to locate Qantas Frequent Flyer partners near you based on your location. This means you can choose a hotel, restaurant, and car hire company or retail store to visit based on your points earning capacity.
  • Work out what you can redeem your points for, and set earning goals. Your iPhone then tracks your progress and tells you when you're reached your goal.
  • Redeem your points for Classic Award flights, or find out how many points you need for your dream get away, or your next business trip.
  • Browse the products in the Qantas store, and have them delivered anywhere in Australia.
  • Update your friends, family and contacts via Facebook and Twitter about your Frequent Flyer achievements.
    From the app you can link to the Qantas website where you can manage all of your flight related activities.

Qantas Frequent Flyer Partner Map

In the Frequent Flyer section of the Qantas website you can search a map of the world to find Qantas Frequent Flyer partners where you can earn points and boost your rewards. For example, you can search by country, brand, state, location or post code, and further refine your search by choosing a category of service such as:

  • Cars, tyres and parking.
  • Finance, business and real estate.
  • Hotels.
  • Restaurants.
  • Shopping.
  • Travel and travel services.

Qantas Frequent Flyer Credit Cards

While you can boost your points earning by seeking out partnered businesses and retailers, you can also use a direct earn credit card or debit card so that every dollar you spend goes towards your Frequent Flyer points balance. The points you earn on a linked Qantas Frequent Flyer credit card will automatically be added to your balance, plus, if you use your credit card at a partnered business or retailer then you can earn points twice.

You are not limited to choosing a credit card that doesn't suit your needs simply to earn Frequent Flyer points, because you can choose a card from the following providers:

  • American Express
  • ANZ
  • BankSA
  • Card Services
  • Citibank
  • Commonwealth Bank
  • Diners Club
  • NAB
  • St.George
  • Suncorp
  • Westpac
  • Woolworths

Upgrading your business account to a gold or platinum credit card isn't just about enhancing your status with colleagues and clients when you pay for a working lunch. You can also increase your Frequent Flyer earning capacity, as compared to a standard credit card. For example, where a standard credit card may earn you one point for every $1 you spend, a gold or platinum credit card can earn you two or three points for every dollar.

How to Compare Frequent Flyer Cards

Choosing a business credit card which earns you points should be at the top of your next meeting agenda. Just make sure that when you are comparing Frequent Flyer credit cards, you look at:

Membership fees - The Qantas Frequent Flyer program has an annual membership fee, which must be paid in addition to any credit card fees. If these fees aren't waived as part of your credit card deal they can quickly eat into your rewards.

Credit card costs -  Don't forget that a Frequent Flyer credit card will still attract annual fees, late fees and interest charges just like any other credit card. Therefore, make sure you can pay off your balance in full each month before it attracts interest, and that you shop around for a card with an affordable fee structure.

Points per dollar - Compare how many points you are earning for every dollar spent as some credit cards will earn 1 point for every $1 dollar spent, while others will earn just 1 point for every $2 spent. However, some Frequent Flyer credit cards can boost your points balance by earning you 2 or 3 points for every $1 spent, so weigh these benefits against the costs of these more inclusive cards.

Value - If you are choosing a Frequent Flyer credit card for your business to boost your points balance, make sure you are going to get enough value out of it, to outweigh any costs. For example, work out how much you would spend on your card each month, and how many points that would earn you. Then consider what you can redeem those points for, and the value of that redemption, to make sure that the value of your rewards outweighs the amount you pay in credit card fees. 


Timothy Ng is a regular contributor to creditcardfinder.com.au.

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