Is the latest Coles flybuys deal worth signing up for?
It all depends on how much you have to spend each week.
Savvy frequent flyers know that earning flybuys points is a relatively painless way to boost your Virgin Velocity Points total. Flyers who regularly do this also know that Coles frequently sends out targeted offers, which promise bonus points in return for spending a set amount over a number of weeks.
The offer that's currently doing the rounds provides a useful example of when these offers are worth exploring and when it might make more sense to say "no thanks".
Most flybuys offers require you to spend a set amount of money each week in order to score a fixed number of bonus points. Typically, that will run over a month. So by spending (for instance) $100 a week over 4 weeks, you end up with 6,000 bonus flybuys points. That's way more than you'd earn from the shopping otherwise; at regular rates, that $400 would equate to just 400 points.
The exact amount that you need to spend will be based on your existing habits. I usually score offers that require me to spend $60 or $80 a week, but I have friends who get the same offer, with the same points total, and a requirement of $250 a week or more. How does that work? The total will usually be a little higher than your typical existing weekly spend.
The offer that Coles is sending out this week is a little different. It offers 6,000 flybuys points if you meet the spend target over three weeks. Reach it in week 1 and you get 1,000 points. Week 2 gives you 2,000 points more and week 3 gives you 3,000 points.
Again: this isn't a single offer, open to everyone, and the total you need to hit each week varies. If you haven't received an email asking you to activate a deal, you can't take advantage of it. If you have, you need to work out if it actually makes sense.
The "upside" is that you can score some points even if you don't hit the target every single week. Once Week 1 is over, those points are locked in. That's not usually the case with these deals. Mess up one week and it's all over.
The downside is that (bluntly) 6,000 flybuys points may not be enough to make it worth changing your shopping habits or increasing your spend, especially compared to other options. That's particularly the case if your weekly target is high.
For instance, from this Wednesday, Coles is also offering 2,000 points if you purchase a $50 Coles Mastercard gift card, which is cash you can spend on anything. That's better than the points you'll score in weeks 1 or 2 of the current promotion. If your weekly target is over $50, going for the gift card might make more sense, even though there's a $5 fee to purchase the card.
The reason I personally wouldn't take up this offer is because you have to spend everything in one shop. As a frequent traveller, I find offers where you can add together spends across the week more productive, and they're the ones I usually sign up for. If you're feeding a family, that's unlikely to be such a consideration.
There is no "one single rule" for whether a deal is worth taking up, but ask yourself these questions:
- If I need to spend more than usual, can I spend that money on provisions I would buy in the future anyway?
- Am I sure I'll spend the required amount in a single shop? To avoid doubt, put together a spreadsheet of your weekly shop and price it.
- Have I set a goal for my points? I will say this until the end times: set a points goal so you're not just earning in a vacuum.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.