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Qantas, Velocity, best credit cards for points

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YOUR coffee addiction and frequent takeaway orders aren’t bad habits — they might just be your ticket to your next holiday.

A few little tweaks to your routine could even score you and your family flights to Fiji, Bali or Thailand in six months, according to the experts at Point Hacks.

If you use the right card to pay, your morning coffee could earn you hundreds of Qantas Frequent Flyer points in that period, while ordering your weekly butter chicken or pad thai could clock you up thousands.

Point Hacks, one of Australia’s biggest communities of airline rewards enthusiasts, has put together a top 10 list of tips to get a family of four free return flights to Fiji, Thailand or Bali.

Points Hacks has analysed the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer program, and Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program.

For a family of four, return award economy flights from Sydney or Melbourne to these island destinations will set you back from around 145,000 to 225,000 points, depending on the points program and destination.

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“Fiji, Thailand and Bali are some of the best travel destinations to get awards flights for, as the points requirements are relatively low and flights are generally available,” says Point Hacks frequent flyer expert Daniel Sciberras.

“The first step to achieving the required points is to set up your strategy: join your chosen rewards program, assess the credit cards that will earn you the most points — keeping in mind the annual fees — and get your whole household involved in leveraging your normal household spending into point earnings over the next six months.

“Then use any combination of our hacks to boost your points further. Be aware that you can earn the required points in six months, but the transfer of those points into airline rewards may take another month.”

Here are Point Hacks’ top 10 hacks to earn a family of four a free return flight to Fiji, Thailand or Bali in six months:

1. INVOLVE THE WHOLE FAMILY

Consider supplementary rewards credit cards for your partner. Also consider family pooling, where family members who live with you could transfer their points to you. Qantas and Velocity will allow a family member to transfer you 5000-600,000 and 5000-500,000 points respectively each year. Velocity will also allow you to set up selected family members as contributors and you as beneficiary, so that you receive their points earnt from flying.

2. CHOOSE YOUR CARD

Why not switch to a rewards credit card with a 75,000 bonus points offer? We love this hack, because it will get you almost halfway there in point earnings. The NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card offers 90,000 bonus Qantas Points for new cardholders. The Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Card offers up to 80,000 bonus Velocity Points on sign up.

3. LOOK FOR HIGHER-EARNING CREDIT CARDS

AMEX tends to offer the highest point-earning cards. Every $1 spent on the AMEX Explorer Credit Card can transfer you up to 1.5 Velocity Points or KrisFlyer Miles. The AMEX Qantas Premium Card earns you 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent. Given AMEX is not always widely accepted, you may also need a Visa or Mastercard — a good earning is 1 point for every $1 spent.

4. CONSIDER AN EVERYDAY ACCOUNT THAT EARNS POINTS

Choose a transaction account to have your pay deposited into, and for everyday debit transactions. The Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account will earn you 12 Qantas Points for every $100 in savings kept in your account, and five points each time you use the debit card — a great option for small purchases like a $3.50 morning coffee. If you have $5000 deposited into your account each month, and use your card every day, you could earn about 4500 points in six months.

5. JOIN A SHOPPING REWARDS PROGRAM

A rewards program such as flybuys will earn you further points for your everyday shopping. Swipe your flybuys card at retailers such as Coles, Target, eBay, Kmart and Liquorland. Each $1 spent with flybuys at Coles earns you 1 point, and you can convert 2000 points to 870 Velocity Points. On a $2000 monthly spend, you can get 5220 points in six months. Flybuys also frequently has bonus points offers.

6. CONSIDER SWITCHING YOUR SUPER FUND OR INSURANCE POLICY

The Virgin Money Super fund earns members 1 Velocity Point for every $5 in super contributions, capped at 250,000 points. Qantas has various insurance policies that will earn you points. Its health insurance, for instance, offers up 50,000 bonus points for signing up, and 1 point for every dollar of your premium. Earn 150 points when you download the Qantas Assure app, and more points for using it to measure your daily activities like walking, cycling or swimming.

7. EARN POINTS JUST FOR GETTING HOME DELIVERY

Love takeaway? Use Deliveroo for the first time, and you’ll earn 1000 Qantas Points. Then top up your balance with 200 Qantas Points when you order at least four times in a month. If you get takeaway once a week, in six months you’ll earn 2200 points.

8. EARN POINTS ON YOUR HOUSEHOLD ENERGY

Switch your household energy plan to Energy Australia through the Velocity program and earn up to 10,000 points, then 2000 anniversary points each year.

9. DO YOUR SHOPPING THROUGH PARTNER RETAILERS

Qantas has partnerships with retailers such as Woolworths, BWS, BIG W and selected Caltex Woolworths service stations to earn you points on spend there. For instance, every $2000 spent at Woolworths will earn you 870 Qantas points. Velocity’s multiple partners include BP petrol stations, where you can earn 2 points per 1 litre of fuel and $1 spent in-store.

10. CLICK THROUGH QANTAS MALL AND VELOCITY ESTORE TO DO SHOPPING ONLINE

Qantas Mall and Velocity eStore offer high point earnings on every dollar spent on numerous popular sites such as eBay, David Jones, Woolworths, Country Road, Priceline, Menulog and Cotton On. Log in with your rewards membership, choose the retailer, get directed to their shopping site and you can shop online as normal to earn 2-10 points for every $1 spent, depending on the retailer.

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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