Home TRAVEL TIPS The Ultimate Guide to Travel Rewards: Maximising Points to Minimise Loans

The Ultimate Guide to Travel Rewards: Maximising Points to Minimise Loans

Travelling can be an enriching experience, but the costs associated with it often deter many. However, there’s a good way to make travel more affordable – through maximising travel rewards points and miles. By strategically using credit cards that offer travel rewards, individuals can unlock a world of possibilities without relying heavily on loans or accumulating debt.

Understanding Travel Rewards Programs

Travel rewards programs are designed to offer benefits to frequent travellers through various loyalty schemes. These programs typically involve earning points or miles that can be redeemed for free flights, hotel stays, or other travel-related perks. Airline miles, hotel points, and credit card rewards are the primary components of these programs.

Types of Travel Rewards Programs

  • Airline Miles Programs: Airlines often have their loyalty programs, allowing travellers to earn miles based on the distance flown or dollars spent on tickets. These miles can be redeemed for flights, seat upgrades, and other airline-related benefits.
  • Hotel Rewards Programs: Many hotel chains offer loyalty programs where guests can earn points for each stay. These points can be used for free nights, room upgrades, or other hotel amenities.
  • Credit Card Rewards Programs: Credit cards often provide travel rewards, allowing users to earn points on everyday purchases. These points can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, or other travel-related expenses.

Signing Up for Travel Rewards Programs

To make the most of travel rewards programs:

  • Research and Compare: Explore different programs to find the ones that align with your travel preferences and spending habits.
  • Choose Versatile Programs: Opt for programs that offer flexibility in redeeming points across various travel options.
  • Credit Card Selection: Consider credit cards that provide additional travel perks and rewards, but be mindful of fees and interest rates.
  • Stay Engaged: Actively participate in the program by taking advantage of promotions and bonus point opportunities.

Earning Travel Rewards

Choosing Travel Rewards Credit Cards

  • Consider sign-up bonuses: Look for cards with attractive sign-up bonuses, like NAB’s 160,000 bonus rewards points plus a reduced first-year annual fee with their rewards signature card.
  • Earning rates matter: Opt for cards with high earning rates, such as earning 2 miles per dollar on all purchases.
  • Evaluate perks: Assess additional benefits like lounge access, travel insurance, and statement credits.

Flying and Staying with Partners

Choose cards linked to airlines and hotels with extensive partner networks to enhance redemption options.

Everyday Spending and Special Promotions

  • Utilise shopping portals: Some airlines and hotel chains offer shopping portals for bonus points on purchases.
  • Monitor special promotions: Keep an eye on limited-time offers for extra points or discounts.

Buying Points Wisely

Evaluate whether purchasing points or miles makes financial sense, considering the cost and potential redemption value.

Maximising Points and Miles

Understanding Point Values

  • Evaluate the value of points and miles based on programs, considering factors like redemption flexibility and blackout dates.
  • Understand that the value can vary among rewards programs and even within the same program based on booking details.

Strategic Redemption for Flights and Hotels

  • Plan for peak travel times to optimise point value for flights and hotel stays.
  • Consider upgrading to premium cabins or utilising suite upgrades for enhanced value.

Transfer Partners and Flexible Points

  • Identify credit cards with transferable rewards to access a variety of airline and hotel partners.
  • Prioritise cards with partnerships that align with your travel preferences.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

  • Be cautious with point valuations, as they can change over time.
  • Avoid hoarding points; use them strategically to prevent devaluations.

Planning Travel with Rewards

Setting Travel Goals

  • Define travel goals to guide point accumulation and redemption strategies.
  • Prioritise destinations and experiences to tailor your rewards strategy.

Booking Award Travel

  • Optimise point value by booking in advance, especially during off-peak times.
  • Be flexible with travel dates and consider alternative airports for better availability.

Combining Points and Cash

  • Assess when to use a combination of points and cash for bookings to maximise value.
  • Avoid taking loans by strategically using available points and supplementing with cash.

Advanced Strategies for Travel Rewards

Credit Card Churning

Credit card churning involves leveraging introductory offers to earn bonus points by applying for new credit cards and cancelling or downgrading them afterwards. With credit card churning, individuals can access significant bonus points, travel perks, and rewards programs. Credit card churning is associated with potential drawbacks, including adverse effects on credit scores, the possibility of incurring fees, and difficulties in meeting minimum spending requirements.


If credit card churning is not feasible, individuals may also explore instant loans. These loans provide quick access to funds but come with interest rates and should be approached cautiously. Instant loans may also have high interest rates and unfavourable terms.

Points Pooling and Sharing

  • Pool points with family or friends to collectively access higher-value redemptions.
  • Utilise loyalty program features that allow point transfers or sharing among members.

Minimising Travel Expenses Beyond Flights and Hotels

Rewards for Experiences and Dining

  • Strategies for Earning Points: Earn credit card travel rewards points with minimal effort and expense by focusing on everyday expenses and strategic credit card usage in Australia.
  • Maximising Points from Everyday Expenses: Explore how Australians can maximise points from daily expenditures to use for travel experiences, dining, and activities.

Travel Insurance and Protections

Understand the travel insurance coverage offered by your credit cards. Many cards provide travel insurance benefits, including coverage for trip cancellations, delays, and medical emergencies. By utilising these protections, you can potentially save on purchasing separate travel insurance


Mastering the art of travel rewards opens doors to a world of enriching experiences while minimising the financial burden of loans. By strategically leveraging credit cards with travel rewards, individuals can accumulate points and miles to unlock free flights, hotel stays, and various travel perks. With a plethora of programs, from airline miles to credit card rewards, it’s crucial to research, compare, and choose versatile options that align with individual preferences.

From earning rewards through everyday spending to strategic purchases and partnerships, the journey involves careful planning, maximising point values, and avoiding common pitfalls. Advanced strategies, including credit card churning and points pooling, provide additional avenues for travel enthusiasts. Starting small, staying engaged, and gradually building a personalised rewards strategy ensures a rewarding and financially sound travel experience.