What’s Better: Telstra/Flybuys Or Optus/Qantas?

After a long absence, Telstra is rejoining the Flybuys loyalty scheme; since September last year, Optus has offered its customers the ability to earn Qantas frequent flyer points. Which telco offers a better deal in terms of loyalty points?

Telstra was one of the original partners in Flybuys when it first launched, but pulled out some time ago. Flybuys itself is relaunching next week, which makes assessing the exact value of Telstra’s new arrangement difficult. But here’s what we know.

The big restriction is that Telstra’s participation only counts for prepaid customers. From next week, if you purchase a Telstra recharge at Coles, Kmart, Target or Coles Express, you’ll earn points. Until July 22, you’ll score nine points for each dollar you spend; after that, you’ll get three points per dollar. There are also two other launch offers: buy a $30 recharge voucher at Coles and get a free SIM starter kit and 1,000 extra points; or buy the LG Optimus Spirit for $49.50 and score 1,000 extra points.

Optus’ scheme earns two points for every dollar you spend, but applies to both contract and prepaid products. It’s hard to directly compare the points totals, since Flybuys is changing its points system next week. But under its old system, you needed 22,500 points to get a one-way Sydney-Melbourne flight. Earning that would require $7,500 to be spent at Telstra at the regular rate, and even at the initial nine points deal you’ll need to spend $2,500. On Qantas, you need 12,850 points, which equates to $6,425 of spending with Optus. The big lesson here? You’re not that likely to score a free flight just from telecommunications spending.

As ever, I wouldn’t pick a phone plan solely based on any kind of loyalty schemes; it’s an additional nice-to-have, not a compelling feature. Given that you can earn on contract deals as well as prepaid, for now I’d give Optus the upper hand in this department.

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