How I Scored Peak Period Return Flights to the US for The Whole Family for $1300 TOTAL!

I love travel. I live for it.

And also, like many, I have to work within a budget.

Here’s how I’ve managed to fly my family of two adults and one child from Melbourne to LA and back for $1300.

In short, I earned enough QANTAS frequent flyer points in less than a year by taking advantage of a credit card sign-up bonus and using the card for my everyday spending.

You might wonder if frequent flyer points and points-earning credit cards are a trap. I get it entirely. I've been a Barefoot Investor follower since I was 18 and have historically been anti-credit cards, but I'm here to tell you that if used correctly, 'earning points' can save you a TON of money.

We wanted to spend our Christmas break in the US, travelling late Dec to mid-Jan, which was going to cost $7700. Instead, we were able to use accumulated points, and pay for the taxes only, which came to $1300.

Not too bad, hey?

So, how did I rack up so many points?

Well, the first thing I did was sign up to become a Qantas Frequent Flyer, which is free to join if you click the below link (don’t pay the $99 sign-up fee).

Join Qantas Frequent Flyer for FREE

Next, I researched which credit card would get us points fast and chose a credit card with generous bonuses.

After seeing two travel bloggers I really trust promote American Express, I decided on the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card because it had a hefty sign-on bonus – and that's what got us our initial points haul.

I also loved that this card came with $450 worth of Qantas flight credits each year (which offset the annual fee), plus two complimentary Qantas Club Lounge invitations and two AMEX lounge invitations a year.

Plus, out of all of the cards available, it had the highest points earning rate (1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent minimum).

I was also able to get hubby an additional card for $0, which increased the points we could earn through our everyday spending. The card also came with complimentary travel insurance for domestic and international travel, which was also a significant cost saving.

Once the cards were set up, we used them for absolutely everything - from small purchases to large, and I activated bonus offers when it made sense to do so. 

For example, hubby already had a Kayo streaming services subscription; however, I noticed they were giving away 25K points for new sign-ups. So, I cancelled his subscription and signed up under my name. Cheeky, maybe… but I was on a mission!

Likewise, there was a sign-up bonus for joining up with BP rewards. So, I signed up, and where it made sense to do so, we purchased our fuel at BP.

There are so many ways you can earn bonus points, on top of the ones you'll earn for everyday spending. You can convert your Woolworths Everyday Rewards points to Qantas Frequent Flyer points. They've got partnerships with Uber, Hello Fresh, Red Energy, and many other services you're likely using anyway. 

You can view the full list of partners here

A great tip that many don’t know about is to activate the free Qantas Frequent Flyer Chrome Extension.

It prompts you to activate your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership every time you visit a Qantas points earning store online (there are over 300 of them - far too many to remember), e.g., The Iconic, Apple, Big W, BWS.

My only other job has been to make sure to pay our balance off at the end of each month to avoid paying interest. This has been as simple as having a monthly reminder in my calendar and ensuring we stick within our household budget.

Before I knew it (in less than a year), we had enough points for the three of us to fly return from Melbourne to L.A just after X-mas this year and during the school holidays.

It's quite a simple process (especially once set up) and has been absolutely worth it for us because once you've got enough points, you can cover the entire flight costs and only pay the taxes

Of course, if you want to fly Business or First Class, you’ll need a lot more points. But if you're happy with Economy like us, then it's definitely achievable FAST.

It cost us 84K points per person to fly Melbourne to L.A return, but you can fly to somewhere like Bali or Thailand return for 40K points. 

There are so many destinations you can fly to with Qantas using points, including within Australia, and I’ve never found availability to be an issue (especially if you book early).

Last month I needed to fly to the ACT from Melbourne, which cost 16K points and $90 in taxes instead of $1200 return cash.

If you want to see where your points can take you, you can use the excellent points calculator on the Qantas website. It tells you exactly how many points you'll need for your chosen route.

I hope this article has given some insight into how points can help you take even more family vacays. If you need help figuring it out, please reach out to us via our socials. 

P.S If you’re ready to get earning, you can sign up with my referral link and score yourself 60K bonus points from Amex. I get 20K points too!  Yay for both of us! 🤩

It’s available to four people only, and you need to not have had an AMEX previously.

You must be over 18, an Australian citizen or permanent resident, have no history of bad debt or payment default and have a personal (pre-tax) annual income of $65,000 (slightly more if you're self-employed).

You also must spend $3K in the first 30 days on your new card (which is easy to do when you put all of your living expenses on there).

You can sign up, get your bonus points and read the full terms and conditions by clicking the words American Express below: 

American Express



Owner of My Big Adventure Kids Travel Diaries

Update: Since writing this blog article in 2022, I've also now acquired a business AMEX for work expenses. If you're starting your points journey and have a business, I highly recommend checking out this card as well as they're currently offering a generous 170K sign up bonus which is return flights to Bali for 4 people!

Click HERE to learn more about American Express cards for business owners!