INVESTING

How to score 20,000 frequent flyer points by switching super funds

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Incentives for joining a superannuation fund are rare. But AustralianSuper will give you 20,000 Qantas frequent flyer points if you join by December 31.

The bonus points can be used for flights, upgrades, hotels, wine and other products.

The AustralianSuper balanced fund has been among the 10 top-performing super  funds for the one, three, five, seven, 10, 15 and 20 years to June 30, 2019, according to SelectingSuper.

Members are typically able to switch funds under the laws that came into force in 2005, with the exception of some public sector and corporate employees with particular enterprise agreements.

Qantas announced last week there will be sweeping changes to its frequent flyer program. Here's how you can cash in on the new perks.

AustralianSuper and Qantas have been offering the bonus points since the beginning of 2019. To be eligible you must be a Qantas frequent flyer member and provide your membership number.

You must contribute a minimum of $350 within six months of joining. Your points will then be credited to your account about two to three months later.

Partnering with companies to offer member benefits is widespread among industry super funds, with typical offers covering discounted health and travel insurance as well as products and services.

For example, REST provides $30 off Red Balloon experiences and 20% off Mon Purse bags and accessories.

Virgin Money Super also gives members incentives in the form of Velocity frequent flyer points for superannuation they roll over into Virgin Super. For every $5 you contribute to your super account Virgin Money will reward you with one Velocity point.

Guild Super's fund, SuperSuper, offers members a shop and save reward when members shop with hundreds of retailers that include grocery stores, petrol stations and department stores. The retailers provide cash rewards that are added to members' superannuation accounts to grow their balances.

While super fund members are able to choose funds that offer incentives, employers can't choose a default fund offering a benefit - such as corporate hospitality, holidays or discounted rates on products or services - that might encourage the employer to choose that fund.

This has happened in the past and is one of the reasons why so many people ended up in poorly performing, high-fee funds.

There are laws preventing super funds offering employers junkets such as tickets to a sporting event or discounted rates on loans, as they could reasonably be expected to influence the employer's choice of fund, according to ASIC.

In fact, ASIC encourages employers that have been offered any incentives from super funds to report it to the regulator.

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Susan has been a finance journalist for more than 30 years, beginning at the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. She edited a superannuation magazine, Superfunds, for the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and writes regularly on superannuation and managed funds. She's also author of the best-selling book Women and Money.
Comments
Patrick Hockey
October 10, 2019 9.29am

Here's the killer from Choice magazine: 20,000 points are worth $200 - if that is enough to make you switch then you are a mug. Look at all the other aspects of the fund before moving for the right reasons.

"What are your frequent flyer points worth?

Our 2018 investigation looked at two frequent flyer schemes: Qantas and Virgin Australia.

Qantas Frequent Flyer had roughly 12 million members, charged a one-off fee of $89.50*, and points expired if none are earned or redeemed within an 18-month period.

Your points' value depends on how you choose to redeem them - domestic flights, international flights and consumer goods all have different average rates of return...but assuming you're redeeming your points for economy airfares, your points are worth:

Qantas: Around one cent each."

https://www.choice.com.au/trav...

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