New flybuys Earns Discounts Faster (But They’re Not Good Discounts)

New flybuys Earns Discounts Faster (But They’re Not Good Discounts)

We’ve been talking about the new flybuys loyalty scheme quite a bit here at Lifehacker, but I realise that coverage has skipped one relatively central point: whether points are easier to earn under the new scheme than the old one. It turns out that the new flybuys is marginally more generous, but neither offers anything like the level of savings you’ll get from shopping around and finding the best specials.

Picture by Ian Waldie/Getty Images

To compare the schemes, let’s take a look at what you had to spend in one of the core Wesfarmers stores (Coles, Kmart and Target) to earn money off your shopping. Under the old scheme, you got actual gift vouchers; under the new scheme, you get a discount off your shopping. The end result is the same, with the caveat that you now can’t give the discount to someone else — you have to spend it yourself. (On the upside, points no longer expire provided you use the card at least once a year, which isn’t a very onerous condition for a supermarket card.)

Under the ‘old’ flybuys, you got a $20 gift card for 2000 points, a $50 gift card for 6,250 points, or a $100 gift card for 12,500 points. Under the new scheme, you need 4,000, 10,000 and 20,000 points for the same amounts.

Before everyone freaks out, you need to remember that the earning rates are different. The new standard rate is ultra-simple: 1 point for every dollar spent. Under the old scheme, you got a less generous 2 point for every $5 spent.

Once you factor that in, the old scheme actually cost you significantly more to score the same discount. For instance, you would have spent $6,250 before you earned $20 off under the old scheme; now you have to spend $4,000 You can see the full outline in the table below:

Regardless of which discount you go for, the percentage discount which it actually represents remains consistent. Under the old scheme, the discount was 0.32%. Under the new scheme, it’s 0.50%.

The important point is this: while the discount has gone up, it’s still a very, very marginal saving. The amount you can save on bulk-buy products or specials is much, much higher than this. Leaving aside whether you’re concerned about sharing information on your shopping habits, it just isn’t any kind of bargain.

I recognise many people who routinely shop in Coles will figure “hey, a free $20 is better than no free $20”. That’s up to you — but don’t kid yourself there’s a big saving involved, and don’t alter your shopping habits solely to score a few more points.

Lifehacker’s weekly Loaded column looks at better ways to manage (and stop worrying about) your money.


  • This is what you get with Qantas Frequent Flyer. Assuming you receive 1 QFF point per $1 spent, then QFF is still better

    Woolworths Gift Card:
    $20 = 3000 points (auto rewards)
    $25 = 3750
    $50 = 7250

    Big W Gift Card:
    $25 = 3500
    $50 = 6750

    Caltex Petrol Gift Card:
    $25 = 3750
    $50 = 7250

    Myer Gift Card:
    $25 = 3500
    $50 = 6750

    • Nick, you’ve made the incorrect assumption that issuance rates are the same. Woolies has its famous “no points for the first $30” rule. With the trend towards more frequent visits but smaller basket sizes, this counts heavily against Woolies.

      By my maths, if you spent $35 each time at Woolies, you’d need to spend $21,000 to get the $20 Woolies gift card via auto-rewards. If you spent $50 each time, you’d need to spend $7,500. Even at $100 per visit you are worse off at Woolies, needing to spend nearly $4,300. In each case with Coles/Flybuys you need $4,000.

      • That $30 limit is on earning QFF points via the Everyday Rewards (orange) card program. The limit does not apply to a QFF linked Credit Card including Woolworth’s own Everyday Rewards Qantas Credit Card or Woolworth’s Everyday Money Credit Card.

        So paying buy a QFF linked credit card you will always earn 1 point per dollar. On top of that if you spend over $30 and you scan the original Everyday Rewards program (orange) card you earn “extra” QFF points via the Everyday Rewards program. As it’s a QFF Credit Card you can earn more points on more things, just by paying for it with the QFF linked credit card, even at Coles

        • But exactly the same credit card arguments, if not stronger, apply for Flybuys. Coles Mastercard 2 points per $1, NAB Flybuys rewards card 1 point per $1. But in terms of return, credit cards complicate the equation – each credit card offering has its own fee structure, interest rates, added features etc etc

          • the 2 flybuy points per $1 is limited to purchases at flybuy participants, not just anywhere you can pay with a card

          • Actually Nick, you’re wrong; for those who have the new “Coles Mastercard” (or have upgraded their “Source” Mastercard) you get 2 points per dollar ANYWHERE you use your card. So potentially you are getting 3 points for every dollar spent at Coles/K-Mart/Target. I don’t know how this compares to the Everyday Rewards equivalent, but it works out quite nicely for me.

            I have a 1000 limit on my Coles Mastercard and simply pay for every purchase I make, everywhere, using the card and pay it off in full before it’s due. I find it ironic that I am earning FlyBuys points at Woolies when I do the occasional shop there 😉 Refreshed FlyBuys scheme working out quite nicely for me…

        • I live in berwick, asked in coles, sawafey they do not understand what yeast is ! after explanation a strange look and respond that they never had it may be in bakeries? yes, they have but not allowed to sell I think it has something to do with ausie dollar and its value

  • Honestly, the discounts you get from *either* of the two big rewards schemes are so small that you’re better off not even factoring them in when you’re looking for the best price. Don’t let them affect your spending habits at all, just swipe it when you happen to be buying from the right store, and get a nice little bonus every now and then.

  • I haven’t activated my card as yet – and am a little amused at what seems to be an increased media campaign. Buses, tv ads, emails to get people to activate them – maybe the take up rate isn’t going so well anyway.

  • Well, I live just around the corner from Coles, so all my grocery shopping is done there, I could drive 10 – 15 min to Woolworths, but for the convenience of being able to walk or duck the shop and back in 5 min is more of a saving that looking over catalogs for the cheapest price.

  • If you have the option of living near both a Woolworths and a Coles I believe you are better off using their weekly Wednesday catalogue discounts and sales for your savings. Rather than trying to collect savings using these mostly pointless reward schemes.

    I can’t help but feel the supermarkets probably spend more on advertising these schemes then they do paying out discounts to the members.

  • The best deal I’ve seen is Coles Car Insurance which is 70% better value than NRMA including roadside assistance and a further 15% off with flybuys. If for no other reason I will join. Cheers.

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