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.
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