Remember The Golden Rule With Reward Activation

Coles' FlyBuys has recently joined Woolworths' Everyday Rewards in offering "activated rewards": deals which only apply if you click on a link to activate them and then spend a specified amount of money within a specified time frame. Lifehacker's advice on these remains unchanged: they're a good idea if they offer you a saving on something you actually needed to buy anyway, but not otherwise.

The most recent activation reward I got from Woolworths offered me 6 cents a litre off petrol if I spent $45 or more, 7 cents off if I spent between $60 or $69, or 10 cents off if I spent more than $70. That's not a bad deal: most households with two people in them would easily spend more than $70 on the weekly grocery shop, and 10 cents off a litre is a pretty decent discount.

However, those deals are all about context. I live on my own, I'm a cheapskate, and — most tellingly — I don't own a car. So there's no reason for me to opt in to this particular deal.

That's a really obvious point, but many people are immediately tempted to spend money for its own sake just to take advantage of what looks like an individual deal. While the offer you get might be tied to your loyalty card number, you can be sure that you are not the only person getting that offer. And the only criteria to judge these offers by is: will they really save you money? If so, go for it. If I had a vehicle, this would be something of a no-brainer — I'd fill my pantry and fill my car. But I'd think about it first. Make sure you do too.


Comments

    And as far I know petrol rewards are the only rewards offered by a Woolworths Card and thus a Woollies card is absolutely useless to me.

      No, it's not. You can tie it to a qantas FF card, and then accumulate points on that each shop. Offers usually have a choice of either bigger savings on petrol or bonus FF points. You can also cash in your points for automatic woolworths gift cards to put back into your shopping.

      I do it for the frequent flyer miles, which costs me nothing.

      The whole woolwothrs rewards thing is a total time waster for the average household. You will never accumulate enough points in 12 months for a flight or even a bottle of wine.

      Do the numbers yourself. $150 average spend each and every week of the year will get less than 9000 points. That is not enough for the cheapest item in the rewards store. And after 12 months the acummulated points disapear.

      I have been on the woolworths rewards exclusively with all my shopping for 4 years and have 2589 points today. I have in all that time never received a single reward or been able to redeem a single point.

      Worthless Woolies. Zero Rewards. It is all a publicity execise for hooking the naive shoper into giving personal and purchasing info to retailers with zero return to the average shopper.

    Out of interest, how do you manage to live without a car? Do you live very close to the city/work (besides writing articles for Lifehacker)?

    For me, any further than 10km from Melbourne's CBD and not having a car would be very difficult. Amenities are lacking and public transport is relatively poor.

    This is not a recent thing from FlyBuys. They were using the activation mechanism prior to Everyday Rewards.

    Personally i don't get this whole activate offer thing, i always activate them, but rarely use them.

    Does anyone know how activating or not activating offers affects future offers? I tend to activate them all just in case I end up making the relevant purchase by chance, but I've wondered: does activating one offer mean I won't get another offer?

      My guess is the "Act of activating" is a marketing ploy to get you more involved with remembering the deal, and not forgetting to spend your hard earned $$s.

      They would be more inclined to work out which offers you actually used - and how much additional $$ you spent at the same time, while filling the conditions.

      I always assumed it was mainly a way of differentiating customers.

      On one hand the (say 10%) who noticed and activated the deal (and therefore are perhaps more likely to have spent more to satisfy the requirements?) will get the benefit of a larger fuel discount.

      On the other hand, the other 90% who would have spent over $45 on groceries and used their everyday rewards card just as a matter of course, just get the standard fuel discount (no need for Woolies to give them the extra benefit for spending what they would have otherwise spent!)

    My way of dealing with this is not to subscribe to the marketing e-mails. Ignorance is bliss!

      Plus, if anything *truly* special comes up it'll probably end up being posted to OzBargain anyway.

        Enjoy your ignorant bliss, but OzBargain will be useless for you if it's targeted and requires activation. You can't activate an offer that wasn't meant for you.

    I imagine activating the deals helps them with tracking, so they can compare activated against non-activated spending.

    umm flybuys has been doing the activate offer via targeted email thing for at least a year or so.

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