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

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.


  • I love the Optus/Qantas partnership, I use Optus for mobile/phone and Internet and without changing any spending habits, so far I have clocked up about 4000 points. no, it won’t get me a flight but it all adds to the totals. From time to time Optus also have deals on. No, I would not make a decision based on loyalty programs but it’s a nice bonus.

  • a few months ago i started a new hobby of trying to rack up QFF points with no direct outlay of extra money. In that time i’ve racked up 27k QFF points. This has mostly come from applying for credit cards that give thousands of QFF points at signup, with less of the points coming from things like Optus and/or paying for purchases with QFF linked credit cards. All this i’ve down with no extra outlay of money than I usually would for my daily living. It’s mostly just cost me time in applying and cancelling cards I no longer need.

    • having said that I’m the type of person who always pays on my credit card statement in full every month. And you need to read the fine print for the cards when applying to confirm how the process works and any fees etc (which i avoid)

      • I think you still could damage your credit rating (some institutes dislike lots of credit applications). Each of the applications would still be on your record, regardless of whether you later cancelled some cards.

        • Clint, you do get to keep the points. Once they are debited from your credit card account to your frequent flyer account they are yours to keep.

          Nick, I’ve always thought it would be interesting to see how many points you could rack up with no direct outlay of extra money, but how long would you estimate it took you to earn those 27 000 points, with all the credit checks and submission of personal information? I can’t imagine it would be economically viable, and your time would be better spent, say, doing over-time at work (if possible). But still interesting!

          • In just over 12 months of using my wollies rewards card I have enough points to fly from Melbourne to Brisbane (one-way).
            I swipe it everytime I shop and buy petrol. It works for me because we do a big shop every two weeks, (qantas points only apply after min $30 spend) and the supermarket and petrol station are both the closest to home.

  • Hi, my name is Mike Hickinbotham and (disclaimer) I work in Telstra’s marketing department. We produced a short video highlighting how people can claim flybuy points on Webjet.com.

    I wanted to share the link because I thought it could help make it easier to understand how to claim points for flights.

    Here’s the link: http://exchange.telstra.com.au/?p=19857 or check out the Telstra blog – Telstra Exchange and search for ‘flybuys’.



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