Qantas has introduced another way to earn frequent flyer points — by shopping online at selected retailers, including Apple and eBay. While earning extra points is always welcome, you'll need to do a lot of shopping to score any quantity of points worth using.
Qantas' new "online mall" includes 17 retailers who will give you points if you spend in their online stores (and log in via the new Qantaspoints.com site). This is what you'll earn:
|Store||Points earned per $|
|Pottery Barn Kids||4|
|Fortnum and Mason||3|
Compared to flying or using your credit card, that's a very slow way of earning points. Even with Qantas' trimmed points scheme that came into effect in July, the minimum number of points you'll earn on a domestic flight is 800. Flights on domestic sectors can sell for as little as $79.
The usual argument people make in favour of these schemes is "I'm going to spend that money anyway, I might as well earn some extra points". While this can be true, it will take a very long time to earn a meaningful quantity of points.
Take iTunes as an example. The minimum number of points you need for a free one-way flight (not including taxes) is 8000. To earn that many points on iTunes, you'd have to spend $4000 — the equivalent of 1827 full-priced ($2.19) songs.
You also need to check the conditions carefully. When buying from Apple, gift cards don't count, and you can't purchase more than 5 of any one item — presumably a trick to stop businesses pushing large equipment purchases through the service. eBay doesn't count cars, real estate or charity purchases.
Lifehacker's weekly Loaded column looks at better ways to manage (and stop worrying about) your money.