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One Tasmanian frequent flyer has accumulated more than 5 million points the ‘old-school way’ – via flights – in just under a decade.

When Matthews Tyson, 64, started his point-hacking journey in the 1980s, there was limited information on point hacking tips and tricks, so most of his methods were self-taught. Today, he is a member of Point Hacks, the platform for one of Australia’s biggest community of frequent flyers and rewards point experts, which he uses regularly to source information about how to build his points pool.

Matthews believes he is one of the first few in the world to be involved in the frequent flyer game. As a proof point, his Qantas Frequent Flyer number is only five digits long, compared with the usual 10. For nearly 40 years, he has been a member of Qantas Frequent Flyer, Velocity Frequent Flyer, Air New Zealand Airpoints, Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer and other programs. He has reached Platinum status with Velocity, has a Lifetime Silver Qantas membership, and has reached Gold with Airpoints.

In the last seven to eight years, Matthews has earned more than 5 million points. As owner and founder of international music school St Cecilia School of Music in Launceston, Matthews travels interstate and overseas at least once a month – including to Hong Kong, Malaysia and Italy – regularly as a music examiner and to meet with music centres seeking to adopt his examination programs.

As such, Matthews has earned the majority of his points through flights and more recently, bonus points promotions from respective loyalty programs, grocery spend at participating retailers, and flybuys bonus offers when shopping.

Matthews says: “Velocity’s Family Points Pooling is also a great way for me to earn points, where members can pool points and credits with family members living at the same address. This is advantageous for me, as my partner would often fly without me, but I would still get the points.”

Matthews redeems his points mostly on flights: he takes around 20 award flights a year in premium classes, with his biggest redemption to date being a return Etihad Business Class flight from Launceston to London, costing 280,000 Velocity Points.

Matthews says: “While my point hacking journey started decades ago, I still look to Points Hacks to give me fresh tips and keep me up-to-date on offers. There have been many times when I have inwardly ‘thanked’ them for giving me a good lead – such as informing me about an airline or hotel chain program partner I wasn’t aware of that could earn me points. They provide information which I would otherwise not be privy to such as status matches, where you can match your elite status on Qantas to the equivalent Gold or Platinum with United Airlines. I also learned you can earn bonus points for completing questionnaires.”

Point Hacks’ spokesperson and frequent flyer expert Daniel Sciberras says: “As Velocity’s status credits are only valid for a period of 12 months, Matthews has clearly earned his title of a frequent flyer. Status credits are earned exclusively through flying and the most you can earn one way on an international long-haul Business Class flight is 200 Velocity credits. Matthews earned 1800 in 2018 alone.”

Daniel says the key to point hacking is considering how you can earn points through every opportunity. “Focusing on a handful of programs the way Matthews has done is generally considered best practice, as this allows you to climb the status ladder more easily. The higher your status, the more travel benefits you can unlock, including priority boarding, check-in and security screening, as well as lounge access.”

When redeeming points on flights, Daniel’s biggest advice is to be flexible. “When looking for award flights, be flexible with your dates and be open to flying alternative routes. For instance, an award flight from Sydney to London may not be a direct one – you might have to consider getting there via Singapore or other layover destinations. You should also book seats as far in advance as possible as they quickly disappear, with most programs opening their calendar 350 days before departure.”