Stockhead journalist Nicholas Sundich managed to earn over 200,000 Qantas Points despite COVID-19 and shares how he did it. 

With international borders closed for almost 12 months and state border closures on and off again, the opportunity to earn points has felt somewhat limited.

But there are plenty of ways to earn Qantas points without even flying. My last international flight was on QF36 from Singapore back to Melbourne on March 10, 2020 – connecting onward to Sydney.

Since then I have earned a grand total of 200,805 points. While I have done some flying, only 27,800 of those points came from being up in the air.

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Credit cards

In the last 12 months I have earned 11,877 points from the Qantas Premier Mastercard which I use for my everyday spending.

I earn 1 point per dollar spent plus an extra dollar on Qantas transactions which includes flight bookings.

In the middle of lockdowns, when I was hoping international travel would have rebounded long before now, I picked up an ANZ Credit Card (the Frequent Flyer Platinum Card) with a welcome bonus of 75,000 points for $2,500 spent. This was an exclusive offer I obtained through a travel website.

I earned 80,579 points through that bonus and the amount spent on that card. Once I earned the bonus, I got rid of the card because after that I would only be earning 0.75 points per dollar spent.

Other sign-up deals

I ended up obtaining another 15,000 from other welcome bonuses. One of these was workout planner Centr which offered a 5,000 point welcome bonus to those who bought a 12-month subscription.

Then I earned 10,000 points from signing up to Red Energy when I moved house back in February.


Woolworths rewards

Woolworths’ (ASX:WOW) EveryDay rewards scheme offers 1000 Qantas points for every 2000 points you earn. I have earned 36,000 points through the scheme in the last 12 months.

While this would suggest I spent $72,000, I actually spent far less than that.

Woolworths offers bonus point incentives to spend more, anything from 50 to 400 points for buying one particular product or alternatively a bonus reward for meeting spending targets (such as 4000 points for spending over $100 in an online shop).

You can also earn points at BWS, Caltex and Big W and while I frequent these outlets less than Woolworths I would make sure I scanned my card whenever I visited.

Through Woolworths Rewards I was able to earn 36,000 Qantas points, which represents one lot of 1,000 points about every 2-3 weeks.

Coles (ASX:COL) has a rewards program too (Flybuys) but it does not earn Qantas points. Consequently, I ended up going out of my way to shop at Woolworths to earn Qantas Points.

I will also confess to sometimes buying products just to get me over the line.

Most recently, I bought a pack of three reusable fruit bags for 200 points and this dragged me across the 2,000 point threshold.

I would also follow up every last point if they were not awarded within the promised “five business days”.


Qantas products

I use Qantas health insurance and the wellbeing app and was able to earn 3,824 and 10,712 points respectively.

Everyone will earn something different from health insurance because their needs are different. I have not benefited from a sign-up bonus in the last 12 months as I joined in July 2019.

The Qantas wellbeing app tracks your steps and gives you points for meeting targets. Mine are 10,000 per day and 100,000 per week which I was able to fulfil most weeks.

I would also earn a handful of points for things such as turning my phone off by 9.30pm each night and having earned “awards” such as walking over a certain amount in your entire history of using the app.


Qantas travel

So far this makes up 157,992 Qantas points without flying a mile in the sky.

This leaves 42,813 points to be accounted for – which I got through travel.

I resumed domestic flying in June and while it has been difficult to plan any travel outside New South Wales I have managed trips to Adelaide and North Queensland in recent months.

I have also been up to Byron Bay seven times and Coffs Harbour three times, out of Sydney.

But the best flight of all was the Great Southern Land scenic flight (the “Flight to Nowhere”) in October last year which I flew on.

From flying alone I earned 27,800 points.


(Pic: Nicholas Sundich)

(Pic: Nicholas Sundich)


Extra Qantas points from travel during Covid

But I was able to obtain an extra 8,000 points as a “Reward Bonus” for reaching 500 status credits, a milestone it took me several months to reach with no international flying.

I earned 6,505 from hotels booked through the Qantas Hotels Platform. Anyone who books gets at least three Qantas points per dollars spent and sometimes individual hotels offer more.

By earning over 150,000 Qantas points I was a Qantas Points Plus member and got a 25 per cent bonus on any points amount I earned and this boosted my tally even more.

Just be aware that some hotels punish you for not booking direct with them such as not offering points in their own scheme or even making you pay for wifi (Hilton is infamous for the latter).

Finally I earned 508 points through Ubers and Carbon offsets, which were part of my travels.

All up I was able to earn Qantas 200,805 points in the last 12 months even with COVID-19 severly restricting my ability to travel.


Why earn Qantas points during COVID?

You might be wondering why you should bother to earn Qantas points during COVID-19?

Ultimately I believe the day will come where travel will recover and the best way to use them is for reward flights in premium cabins or upgrades on Qantas flights.

While the opportunity to use them now is limited, I am ensuring I am ready for the day we can go overseas once more.

Continuing to earn Qantas points also ensures you won’t get your points wiped after 18 months of activity.