A Family Guide to Upgrading Flights with Credit Card Points

10 Long Haul Flight Essentials with Kids

Going on overseas family holidays can be a wonderful experience full of joy, laughter, discovery and the thrill of exploring new and exciting places together. However, the exorbitant cost of air travel can often be a significant factor that puts families off from doing so.

Fortunately, there is a seldom-used travel practice families can adopt that can turn ordinary flights into an extraordinary experience – upgrading flights using credit card points.

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This comprehensive guide will explore the concept of credit card points, showcasing how you can accumulate and strategically leverage them to improve your travel experience. So, if you have always wanted to visit Hawaii, Paris, Bali or Tokyo, keep reading until the end. You are about to discover a new gateway to exciting family travel!

Understanding Credit Card Points

Credit card points are a form of ‘loyalty currency’ that companies offer customers as a gesture of appreciation for choosing their cards. Typically, each point holds a value that provides access to various benefits.

Overall, there are different types of credit card points. For instance, airline miles are linked to specific carriers, providing opportunities for free flights or upgrades. Similarly, hotel points associated with particular chains can lead to complimentary or discounted stays.

Other credit card points include flexible points, which can be transferred to various travel partners (making them highly valued for their versatility) and fixed-value points, which operate with a set cash value and thus make the process of redeeming them for specific travel-related expenses very straightforward.

To unlock the full potential of credit card points, it is worth taking the time to fully understand these distinctions and how you can strategically accumulate them to enable you to tick off more destinations from your family’s travel bucket list.

Choosing the Right Credit Card for Your Family

Before you can earn credit card points to upgrade your flights, you must choose the most suitable credit card for your needs.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all scenario, so you should do your research and take the time to consider your family’s unique needs and preferences. Doing this should involve taking into account factors such as annual fees, rewards structures and sign-up bonuses. As previously mentioned, some credit cards also offer flexible rewards programs with transferable points that provide versatility in redemptions.

When choosing a credit card, it’s important to look for one that aligns with your family’s spending patterns, offers compelling rewards and, ultimately, helps you minimise costs.

Overall, finding the right credit card is half the battle because once you have signed up with the provider, you can easily and quickly earn credit card points that you can use for flight upgrades.

Maximising Credit Card Points for Family Travel

Once you have a credit card, you should take proactive steps to maximise the points you accrue for family travel. Doing this requires a strategic approach that helps families turn their everyday expenses into valuable rewards.

The key to achieving this is being strategic in your spending, particularly by taking advantage of the category bonuses offered by credit cards. Families can earn extra points for travel, dining, or groceries by understanding and using these bonus categories to their advantage. Additionally, online shopping portals associated with credit card programs provide another way of accumulating points on routine purchases.

Adding family members as authorised users on your credit card is also a clever tactic, as it allows you to pool points and speed up your earning process.

Besides routine expenses, travel hacking methods such as churning (strategically opening and closing credit card accounts) and manufactured spending (creating additional spending to earn points) can provide significant point boosts if approached cautiously and responsibly.

Using Credit Card Points for Flight Upgrades

When flying overseas, a simple upgrade can be the difference between families turning a routine and otherwise mundane air travel experience into a luxurious one.

Overall, upgrades can include a variety of perks, such as more spacious seats in business or first class, access to exclusive airport lounges and free WI-FI. 

Before trying to secure one, selecting the right flight to upgrade is vital, so consider a range of factors, including the airline’s upgrade policies, the timing of your booking and what classes are available for upgrade.

Many credit card programs, including that run by Qantas allow users to redeem points directly for upgrades through online platforms or mobile apps (for more details see this page). At the same time, exploring partnerships with other airlines can widen your spectrum of possibilities, thereby increasing the likelihood of securing an enhancement.

Being flexible with your travel dates can also be a strategic tool that increases the chances of finding available upgrades during less busy periods.

Pitfalls to Avoid When Using Credit Card Points

While credit card points can be a great tool to enhance your travel experience, families should be cautious to maximise the benefits of doing so without falling into financial traps.

One common pitfall is overspending, as the excitement of earning points can lead to impulsive purchases that may offset the value of rewards. It is crucial, therefore, to stick to a budget and avoid unnecessary expenses solely to accumulate points. Additionally, ignoring fees and credit card terms can be costly. It is essential to consider annual fees, expiration dates on points and any hidden charges that may impact the overall value of rewards.

Another common pitfall is not maximising bonus categories, as a failure to strategically spend around these categories can result in missed opportunities for accumulating additional points.

At the end of the day, responsible credit card use is essential to prevent accruing interest charges, which can quickly negate the value of earned points. Subsequently, by exercising common sense and avoiding these pitfalls, families can better unlock the full potential of their travel rewards.


As a family, travelling together overseas can be exciting and rewarding. Yet, it can also be a challenging experience to organise. One of the biggest hurdles is the cost of airfare. Luckily, credit card points can offer a way for families to save money and upgrade their flights.

Families can achieve their travel goals by mastering the art of point accumulation and redemption. Having read this guide, you should have a firmer understanding that successfully doing this involves selecting the right credit card, earning and using points strategically and avoiding common pitfalls.

Ultimately, the world is your oyster. By accruing as many credit card points as you can in a responsible manner, you can take to the skies with upgraded seats and enjoy the prospect of experiencing new places together as a family.

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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

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