How viable is "travel hacking" in Australia?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by travel193, Jan 22, 2014.

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  1. travel193

    travel193 Intern

    Jan 2, 2014
    Hi Australian Frequent Flyers,

    First post since I joined but I've loved reading about all things travel on this site. The reason I joined is that, I like most on this forum, love travelling and have been looking into travel hacking (gaming rewards schemes) to travel more often. I have been reading a fantastic guide/blog called Extra Pack of Peanuts that is American centric and talks about all the great ways you can earn points to travel.

    My question essentially is: How viable is opening and closing credit cards in Australia for points purposes?

    From what I've been reading so far, it seems cards in Australia have fewer benefits than American ones generally do and rarely waive annual fees for the first year.

    Does anyone open and close credit cards for sign up bonuses here in Aus and if so, how much milelage/how much travelling do you manage to do per year.

    Hopefully this question is appropriate for this forum and I look forward to contributing greatly in coming weeks and months.


  2. lovetravellingoz

    lovetravellingoz Senior Member

    Jul 13, 2006
    #2 lovetravellingoz, Jan 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
    Aquiring FF points through churning of cards is not as viable in Australia as in the USA for all sorts of reasons, not least of which is that the USA being a much larger market simply has in any set time period, a lot more different opportunities that can be harvested.

    In Australia Cards offers come and go, and their generosity varies. Some can even still be with zero fees. But things are certainly not as generous as a year or two back. Who knows what the future will offer. but most likely it will continue to ebb and flow.

    However there are many ways to harvest points, or "points run".

    If you spend a day or two reading all the current and older threads, and pay attention, think on them, and then act, then you will soon be harvesting a goodly number of points. There is a multitude of ways.

    Personally I, with a family of 5, have not paid for a long haul international flight for years, and fly only J or F. I still have well over 2 million points, and am still earning more.

    In addition to that I have also saved money in all sorts of ways from ATM fees to Hotel Rooms.
    Plus I have learnt many other techniques to save time, and to improve the quality of ones travel experience.

    Seek and ye shall find. But remember that you have to act, and many don't.

    My nirvana moment came when I read about The Pudding Guy. That led me to reading more on similar tales and led to me both here and Flyertalk. I joined both and AFF has been a gold mine ever since. I have not looked back, and have had several big point runs, in addition to acquiring points in a steady stream in many varied ways.

    Oh...and have a had a huge amount of fun in the process.
    • Like Like x 5
  3. puppysparkes

    puppysparkes Established Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Welcome aboard travel193. It's rare for a question to go unanswered so you'll get plenty of knowledge via AFF. There are a few posts regarding the subject of churning credit cards here on AFF. They can be hard to find but I generally enter "churn" into the search bar. How many points someone earns is entirely individual and based on their former and current financial position. Head to the credit card section to see the latest available promotions and deals that members frequently post and assess.
  4. AVC

    AVC Active Member

    Jan 28, 2012
    Card churning can affect your credit rating. All those applications show up on a Credit Reference.
  5. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
    BNE & SYD
    In hate the term hacking, it has illegal and immoral connotations but seems to have gained widespread acceptance.

    As others have said, credit card merry go rounds are hard here as we have different systems, and under the new credit reporting regime starting it will be harder still, but cheap travel is not just about credit card applications, it's about prepaying taxes, buying cat and dog food for your local charity, booking tickets in places that prohibit certain charges, buying points instead of spending them and lingering over gift cards at the local supermarket to name but a few of the ways members have enjoyed cheap travel recently.

    There is a lot of rewards to be had from a little work, now your on AFF that little work became a lot easier ;)
    • Like Like x 1
  6. travel193

    travel193 Intern

    Jan 2, 2014
    Thanks puppysparkes. I've been reading to many American forums and blogs so might have been searching with the wrong terms. I'll have a look around for cc churning as well.
  7. puppysparkes

    puppysparkes Established Member

    Sep 29, 2011
  8. travel193

    travel193 Intern

    Jan 2, 2014
    Thanks Markis. I agree, the term did throw me off a bit when I first started reading about it. I guess I've seen it around so often now I started using it myself.

    Cheers for the other tips as well. Do you think our card system is harder to game because of less competition or because our banks are better at closing loopholes? Either way I'll check out as many tips as I can dig up on AFF.

  9. travel193

    travel193 Intern

    Jan 2, 2014
    Interesting link puppysparkes. I'm kind of at the other end of the spectrum given that I'm just starting full-time work after graduation but I'm sure many of the same tips apply for lower income earners.

  10. dalereardon

    dalereardon Active Member

    Nov 6, 2012
    Kingston Beach, Tasmania, Australia.

    Another great way of earning miles is through 2 accommodation booking engines, PointsHound: Book hotels. Earn miles and points.

    and Rocket Miles. Personally I have never managed to find the hotel I want with RocketMiles.

    Also signup with AAdvantage and LifeMiles FF accounts as you have to be a member for 14 days before you can purchase miles. Signup your family members as well so you can always then buy more miles if you want.

    In terms of getting notified of every new thread on this forum I follow the twitter feed of the forum and keep updated that way.

  11. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
    BNE & SYD
    #11 markis10, Jan 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014

    It can also be a very poor way of earning miles, as many chains will not recognise guests status or allow stays to be counted for credit/points when booked that way. When status benefits include much better rooms, breakfast, free mini bars and late checkout, that cost needs to be factored in. Many sites use their booking commission to fund the miles, that same commission can be used with the likes of ebates and Mrebates to get cash back when booking direct, as well as the perks.
  12. kt_kez

    kt_kez Intern

    Jun 19, 2011
    AFF is definitely the best resource for so called "travel hacking" in Aus. Many of the online resources are for the US market where they have some amazing credit card deals that just aren't available to non US residents. A few months ago I watched the Chris Guillebeau creativeLive webinar on "travel hacking" which had a few good ideas and I subsequently subscribed to his Travel Hacking Cartel, just out of interest to see if it was of benefit to Australians. As expected vast majority of offers I was ineligible.

    If only we had access to vanilla reloads, amazon payments and other ways of manufactured spending, life would be sweeter!
  13. yohy?!

    yohy?! Established Member

    Nov 30, 2009
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    As others have said there are credit file consequences from churning too many cards - HK is the place to do it, it's almost a sport here where people regularly hold 20+ cards and cancel them then reapply after 12 months to secure the welcome offers again!
  14. travel193

    travel193 Intern

    Jan 2, 2014
    That's great to hear Yohy. I may be moving over to HK later in the year and was worried that any thing I learn about points accumulation may be redundant there. Do you know any good points websites that focus on HK?
  15. mandyjane84

    mandyjane84 Newbie

    Jan 8, 2014
    i too am new to the site and looking for "travel optimisation" (better than hacking) So i will be looking into these as well.
  16. eastwest101

    eastwest101 Established Member

    Oct 26, 2010
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    Agree with others that the term travel "hacking" is an innapropriate and has illegal connotations that "credit card churning" or other legal use of Frequent Flyer and Credit Card reward schemes do not have. Certainly the laborious nature of applications for credit cards and the insistence of different credit providers all accessing your credit rating and wanting to talk to your employer all inhibit card churning to some degree. Along with less competition but we do see some fees being waived from reports on AFF.

    As markis10 says in post #5 it is a case of "cheap travel is not just about credit card applications, it's about prepaying taxes, buying cat and dog food for your local charity, booking tickets in places that prohibit certain charges, buying points instead of spending them and lingering over gift cards at the local supermarket to name but a few of the ways members have enjoyed cheap travel recently."

    Along with another one that has only been touched on but for the real hardcore maximum no of SC/miles/ Frequent flyer tier for the least amount of cash - I would suggest that one of the best "hacks" or tactic is to get out of Australia geographic pricing and construct itineraries based from say economies that are not going so well or with exchange rates or lack of demand that are "outliers", or put simply, making the geographic pricing work for you and not against you. Time after time we see reports here of much cheaper costs seen by people booking or constructing itineraries from other countries, other nations web sites (that may say prohibit fuel surcharges for instance) and/or nesting or open jaw ticketing from different locations, where, if practical, massive savings can be made. Just be aware that playing in other peoples juristictions may be fun and cheap but if something goes "pear shaped" with an itinerary then all the cons of language barriers for recourse/rebooking and different consumer legal protections etc may come into play.
  17. burmans

    burmans Senior Member

    Feb 21, 2006
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    Not sure I agree with this, the new system takes us much closer to the American and HK systems and as noted they seem to be good places to churn cards. The number of applications is a very imprecise proxy for how much you have borrowed and under the new system will be of little value when the lenders can see all the accounts you have, their limits and your repayment history (but of course remember they wont all be in the system day one so this will take time).

    Credit Decisoning is a black art so can't comment on all that will be taken into account but key factors would appear to include
    - total limit on loans you already have (i.e. dont have too many cards and try and manage your limits)
    - your ability to pay for those loans
    - your payment history on the cards you have (i.e. do you pay on time)
    - type of credit (it seems some type of loans mean you are more reliable)
    - employment history (length of time at one employer)

    If you look at the American system generally there is only a small blip on getting a new loan (i.e. the hopefully good repayment history quickly outweighs the negative of more credit assuming your overal credit level is reasonable).

    On the main question, while I don't like the term hacking the existence of this forum and topics discussed suggest there is certainly an opportunity here!
  18. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    BNE, SYD and CNX
    If I did not have credit card debit and relied on balance transfers I would be applying for every single credit card offer that generated points/miles even if it meant spending some money on annual fees.

    I am not sure about the perception of credit rating but I have applied for more than my fair share of credit cards over the years and I believe my credit rating is perfect.

    I would not call it a great way of earning miles. I searched for hotels in Pattaya and there were only a few options and everyone one of them >$100/night. I do not need points that badly when I can secure 2 nights including breakfast for 2 in decent hotels for <$50/night.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. takara11

    takara11 Newbie

    Jan 21, 2015
    I know it's delayed but thanks all in the thread for the posts. It inspired me to finally create an account! Here's to the start of a new journey.
  20. Steady

    Steady Senior Member

    Feb 3, 2013
    NW Tasmania
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    Welcome to AFF takara11 - there is plenty more to inspire you if you keep reading

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