Using a multiple points-earning sources and different credit cards is a key part of increasing your points earning strategy. The hard part is knowing where to start.
I thought I’d use Netflix as a fairly mainstream, low cost example to demonstrate how you could be earning more points (and saving money) by planning how to make a purchase, rather than just paying with your points-earning credit card.
Common sources and services for double-dipping
These are the key routes for earning more points for transactions you were going to be making anyway…
1. By using the right credit card
There are a few key bonus spend categories as features as Australian credit cards:-
- Supermarket bonus points – the American Express Platinum Edge, Qantas Premium, and David Jones cards both offer a supermarket bonus
- Overseas bonus points – the Citi Prestige offers bonus points for non-Australian dollar transactions
- Travel bonus points – American Express Velocity Platinum, Qantas Ultimate, and Platinum Charge cards all offer bonus points for travel spend
The focus for this case study is the supermarket bonus category.
We’ll cover off other examples for earning more points from overseas and travel transactions in upcoming posts.
There are other bonus spend categories too, but these are the key options for increasing your points earn.
Then, you can layer up the points earn for a wider range of retailers by picking up gift cards usable for your intended purchase from supermarkets. We’ve published an overview of this technique here..
Amongst all this you might find that occasionally certain gift cards go on sale at supermarkets, with discounts often ranging between 15% to 25% off the face value. Picking up points AND a discount for purchases you were going to make anyway is even better.
2. By using an Online Mall or Cashback Site
The second dip usually comes from a points-earning portal (online mall) or cashback site – both work in the same way, by kicking you back some of the referral commission payable by the retailer to the portal, in the form of cash or points.
The key frequent flyer online malls are:
In this particular Netflix case study, you can’t pick up points from an online mall to make the purchase.
There are also gift card only stores – primarily the Qantas Cash gift card portal.
For cashback check out CashRewards, PricePal and Qwibble.
You normally can’t use both cashback and points portals, so will need to assess which you prefer depending how many points are on offer.
If you choose points, you’ll of course need to consider which points currency you are focusing on building your balance in – ultimately this is probably going to be Qantas or Velocity, but KrisFlyer or Asia Miles may also be options for those knowledgeable how to get value from these frequent flyer programs.
Earning more frequent flyer points with Netflix
In this case study to illustrate a medium-complexity way of picking up more points using the options above, we’ll see how you can earn Qantas and Virgin points by routing your Netflix account through iTunes, along with picking up bonus points from buying gift cards.
To get to the conclusion – here are the handful of ways you can either earn bonus points or save money for this particular Netflix example.
Taking a full Premium membership over one year at $14.95 per month (for a total of $179.40 spent), here’s how your points earn could differ with the various options:
|Points Earn / Payment Method||Points earned from retailer||Points earned from credit card||Discount value|
|Paying by credit card directly (1 point per $ example)||0||179|
|Platinum Edge iTunes Voucher from Supermarket with 15% discount||0||457 Membership Rewards Points||$26.91|
|Platinum Edge Netflix or iTunes Voucher from Supermarket not discounted||0||538 Membership Rewards Points|
|David Jones iTunes voucher via Qantas Online Mall with 15% discount||762 Qantas Points||0||$26.91|
|iTunes Voucher from Qantas Cash||897 Qantas Points||0|
My take? I’d take a substantial discount and Membership Rewards points by waiting for discounted vouchers from a supermarket, and then paying with my Platinum Edge for iTunes credit. The second best option is through Qantas Cash, but the discount is way more valuable in this case than the extra points.
Explaining the calculations – paying directly with your credit card
If you’re not an iTunes user then the main way most people earn points on your Netflix subscription is the obvious one, credit cards.
However you can also earn more points by buying Netflix vouchers at supermarkets with your American Express Platinum Edge or Qantas Ultimate American Express. Netflix vouchers have been seen at Woolworths and should be available at Coles too.
Paying for Netflix through iTunes
Last year Netflix brought in the option to let you pay for your account through your iTunes account. You can do this by signing up to Netflix through iTunes. If you’ve already got an account, you’ll unfortunately have to rejoin through iTunes. Instructions here.
This partnership has created lots of point earning potential for Netflix since there are many ways to earn points on iTunes spending.
The rest of this article will cover some of the best ways to earn points through your iTunes spend.
iTunes gift cards from frequent flyer stores
Purchasing gift cards through this route will earn you 2 frequent flyer points for every dollar spent, plus the normal points earned with your credit card.
Third Party iTunes gift card offers
We’ve already mentioned that you can buy gift cards from Qantas or Virgin, where you will make 2 points per dollar in addition to your credit card earn, but that is not the only place to buy iTunes gift cards.
There are a constant trickle of deals on iTunes cards, such as this example from David Jones last year, which had iTunes gift cards on sale.
This was notable because David Jones purchases get you 5 points per dollar when completed through the Online Store.
In addition, again especially for Platinum Edge cardholders, Coles and Woolworths often put iTunes gift cards on sale at a 15% or 20% discount. You’ll pick up 3 Amex Membership Rewards points per $ for the iTunes gift card on top of the discount.
Qantas Cash iTunes Gift Cards
You can also buy iTunes gift cards through Qantas Cash to get 5 points per dollar – but you’ll need to use Qantas Cash as your payment method, which makes it a bit fiddly.
Another downside to this option is that not using your normal credit cards will mean you’ll miss out on points usually earned from it. But depending on the card you have, what your earn rate is, and whether you want to earn Qantas Points this could be a good option since 5 points per dollar is significantly more than the 2 you can earn by purchasing gift cards from Qantas and Virgin.
Summing Up – Netflix and double-dipping for points
Not into iTunes? Picking up Netflix vouchers from your local Supermarket with a Platinum Edge is a simple option.
If you have an iTunes account, the ability to route your Netflix account through iTunes opens up lots of doors for points earning. You can earn points on your iTunes spending by buying gift cards being bought through a variety of sources.