Ask Finder: Can I earn supermarket points by buying gift cards?

There's a right way and a wrong way to maximise points with gift cards.

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Hey Finder, If I buy gift cards from a supermarket, will they earn rewards points? Thanks, Gift Double Dipper

The short answer is yes, but only under very specific circumstances.

The long answer is you don't usually earn rewards points if you purchase a gift card at supermarkets in Australia. That's true for both Everyday Rewards and Coles flybuys.

In both cases, money you spend on gift cards won't earn the regular rate of 1 flybuys point or 1 Everyday Rewards point per $1 spent. On gift card purchases, you don't earn any "expenditure" points at all. (That's also the case for tobacco, delivery fees and charitable donations.)

As well as not earning points, expenditure on gift cards also doesn't count towards any bonus offers based on you spending a given amount. These often take the form of "spend $50 a week for 4 weeks and you'll earn 10,000 extra points". With these offers, spending on gift cards doesn't count towards the total.

So that's the bad news. The good news is that both supermarket chains regularly run bonus offers where you can earn extra points on gift cards. The usual approach is to say "purchase this specific gift card and you'll earn 1,000 or 2,000 bonus points". Those offers typically run for a week and are advertised in supermarket catalogues.

Points Finder has detailed guides on what to look out for with bonus points offers for different types of gift cards:

So are these offers good value? Regardless of the card type, I follow a simple rule: only purchase a gift card for points if it's money you were going to spend anyway. I always pay for my Netflix subscription with gift cards acquired when bonus offers are running. I'll be paying for Netflix regardless, so why not get the extra points?

Similarly, if you're going to be giving your recalcitrant teenage nephew a gift card for his birthday, you might as well top up your own points as well. But buying a card just because it offers bonus points doesn't make sense.

The other consideration is how many points you'll earn. As a rule of thumb, I favour bonus offers that offer 2,000 points (whether flybuys or Everyday Rewards). Those that only offer 1,000 points often don't earn enough to really justify the expenditure.

As always, to maximise the value of those points once you've earned them, transfer them into your frequent flyer program of choice (Qantas for Woolworths, Virgin for Velocity). That offers much better value than just getting $10 off vouchers or spending them in other online stores. Happy points hunting!

Ask Finder is a regular column where Finder's expert writers answer your questions. All rates and fees are correct at time of publication and we only give general advice. Got a question for Points Finder? Hit us up on Facebook.

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