flybuys vs. Woolworths Rewards: which is better?
Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths both have loyalty programs that offer customers rewards for their shopping. While the Coles flybuys program has been established for years, Woolworths Rewards has undergone a series of changes that, as of 31 August 2016, bring it closer to the flybuys structure.
As with many rewards programs, the more you spend in one program, the greater the benefits and value. So if you’re trying to decide between Coles and Woolies for your shopping and rewards, here we look at these two supermarket rewards programs side-by-side to see how they match up.
The flybuys reward program was launched in 1994 as a joint venture between Coles Myer (now Wesfarmers), Shell and NAB. In 2011, Coles acquired full ownership of flybuys and relaunched the program the following year. It now has over 7 million members and a wide range of program partners.
Membership for the flybuys program is free, and you can sign up online or in-store at participating retailers such as Coles supermarkets.
Earning rewards points
Members can earn flybuys points for a wide range of spending activities, both through Coles and other partners of the program. The current options include:
- Shopping. Most participating retailers offer 1 flybuys point per $1 spent in-store or online. This includes spending at Coles, flybuys eShops, First Choice Liquor, Liquorland, Kmart and Target.
- Household expenses. flybuys has partnered with a range of providers to offer points for spending on electricity and gas, insurance and telecommunications.
- Banking. Both Coles and NAB offer a range of financial products that allow you to earn points for everyday spending, including the NAB flybuys rewards credit card and Coles credit cards and prepaid cards.
- Travel. The flybuys program allows you to earn points for flights, car hire, holiday packages and other related expenses, with partners including flybuys Travel, flybuys Dining, Budget and Etihad Airways.
- Lifestyle and other. Flybuys members can also earn points for spending on health insurance, gym memberships, fitness accessories and glasses or contact lenses. Partners in this category include ahm, fitbit, Garmin, Goodlife and OPSM.
In addition to offering standard point rates for spending with participating companies in these categories, you also have the opportunity to earn bonus points with specific retailers at certain times throughout the year. This could be offered as additional points per $1 spent, or as a lump sum of points for reaching spending requirements.
Redeeming rewards points
Once you have earned enough flybuys points, you can redeem them for a wide range of rewards. Redemptions start from 2,000 points and can be broken down into the following key categories:
- Money off your shop. This option allows you to convert your points to flybuys Dollars that can be used at participating retailers including Coles supermarkets (including BI-LO), Liquorland, First Choice Liquor, Coles Express, Kmart, Target and Kmart Tyre & Auto Service. In terms of value, 2,000 points is equal to $10 flybuys Dollars.
- Merchandise. You can redeem your points for a wide range of items on the flybuys website, including homewares, fashion accessories, phones, tablets and wine.
- Travel and experiences. Options in this category include tickets to theme parks, cinema vouchers, dining experiences, car hire and travel booked through flybuys Travel.
- Frequent flyer points. flybuys gives you the option of converting your points to either Etihad Guest Miles or Velocity Frequent Flyer Points. For Etihad Guest Miles, a minimum transfer of 10,000 flybuys points equals 4,000 miles and for Velocity, a minimum transfer of 2,000 flybuys equals 870 Velocity Points.
The amount of points you need for a redemption varies significantly depending on the reward, so we’ve highlighted some popular examples in the table below.
|Reward||Points required||Estimated value|
|flybuys Dollars||2,000 points||$10|
|iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi 16GB (Silver ME279X/A)||75,800 points||Approx. $369|
|Hoyts National CineVoucher for two adults||5,200 points||Approx. $25|
|Etihad Guest Miles||10,000 points||4,000 Guest Miles|
|Velocity Frequent Flyer Points||2,000 points||870 Velocity Points|
The flybuys program also has several other key features designed to offer members specific benefits. These include:
- flybuys Travel. This service allows you to earn flybuys points for travel bookings, earning 1 point per $1. You can also redeem your flybuys points directly, with the prices varying based on the dollar value of your selected travel option. As a guide, 200 flybuys points is equal to $1 of a booking – the same rate used for redeeming points for flybuys Dollars.
- flybuys eShop. This service allows you to shop online and earn points for every $1 spent with a huge variety of retailers, including Apple, Menulog, StrawberryNET and Scoopon.
- Exclusive member offers. flybuys members also get access to a range of exclusive offers that are often customised based on your spending habits and preferences. For example, you may be offered bonus points for spending on specific products at Coles, or have the opportunity to earn double or triple points on spending with specific program partners.
- Velocity Status Credits. As of 20 October 2016, flybuys allows you to earn Velocity Status Credits for your shopping at Coles, Liquorland and First Choice Liquor. After you link your flybuys and Velocity accounts, you will earn 1 Status Credit for every $100 spent when you shop at one of these retailers and scan your flybuys card. The $100 spend doesn't have to be in the same transaction, and you can earn up to 10 Status Credits per month.
The Woolworths loyalty program began as Woolworths Everyday Rewards in a small trial in 2007, with a full launch in 2008. In its early days, members could earn 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent above $30.
In 2015, the program was re-branded as Woolworths Rewards, and restructured so that members earned Woolworths Dollars instead of frequent flyer points. The program was updated again in August 2016 to offer members 1 point per $1 with the option of earning Qantas points on spending with Woolworths and its partners. According to Woolworths Limited, the program has over 9 million members.
Earning rewards points
Woolworths Rewards members earn points by scanning their Woolworths Rewards card at the checkout or entering their membership details when they shop online. As of 31 August 2016, Woolworths Reward members earn 1 point per $1 spent in-store and online with the following retailers:
- Woolworths supermarkets
- Caltex Woolworths fuel outlets (excluding Star Mart and Star Shop)
At this stage, points are unavailable in Tasmania, but can be earned in any other state or territory in Australia. While most everyday spending at participating stores earns 1 point per $1, the following purchases do not earn points:
- Smoking products
- Gift cards
- Mobile recharge
- Woolworths Mobile
- Travel cards and tickets
- Delivery charges
- Internet cafes
- Carpet Care
- Woolworths Flowers
- Lottery products
- Caltex Starcard purchases
Redeeming rewards points
Once you’ve earned enough Woolworths Rewards points, you have three ways you can redeem them based on your preferences:
- Money off your shop. This is the default option for Woolworths Rewards, offering you automatic savings off your shopping at Woolworths or BWS. Every 2,000 points you earn is equal to $10 off your next shop when you spend at least $10 in a participating store. This rate of points-to-dollars is comparable to that of flybuys Dollars.
- Save up money off your shop. This option allows you to save up your points, initially for Christmas in 2016. Every 2,000 points you earn equals $10 off your shop, but is “banked” until 15 December 2016. For example, if you earn 6,000 points by 15 December 2016, you would get $30 off your shop at Woolworths or BWS.
- Convert your Woolworths Rewards points to Qantas Points. Instead of getting money off your shop at Woolworths or BWS, you can opt to have your points transferred to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account every few months. With this option 2,000 points is equal to 870 Qantas Points, and the first transfer will be on 15 December 2016. After this date, Woolworths Rewards points will be transferred to Qantas Points every three months.
In addition to these standard features, Woolworths Rewards offers members the following benefits:
- Fuel discounts. If you spend $30 at a participating Woolworths supermarket and scan your Woolworths Rewards card before the transaction is finalised, you can get 4 cents per litre off fuel purchases at participating Caltex Woolworths co-branded fuel outlets. To claim this offer, just scan your membership card at the service station, or save your receipt from the eligible purchase. You can also get an additional 4 cents per litre (ie 8 cents per litre) off your fuel purchase if you spend $5 or more at the Woolworths petrol convenience store.
- Exclusive member offers. Woolworths Rewards also provides exclusive, customised offers to members throughout the year. These promotions could include bonus points for specific purchases at Woolworths, BWS or Caltex Woolworths fuel outlets, exclusive discounts and competitions.
Comparing flybuys and Woolworths Rewards features
The flybuys and Woolworths Rewards programs have four similar features that are easy to compare:
- Earn 1 point per $1 at participating retailers and program partners. The key difference is the range of options for earning points. flybuys has 29 program partners that offer points per $1 spent (some more than the standard 1:1 rate), while Woolworths Rewards currently only offers 1 point per $1 at participating Woolworths, BWS and Caltex Woolworths co-branded fuel outlets.
- Redeem points for money off your shop at participating retailers. The conversion rate for flybuys and Woolworths Rewards is also the same, at 2,000 points per $10 off your shop. A key difference is the redemption of money off your shop: with flybuys, you have to manually choose this option before you shop, while with Woolworths Rewards it is automatic if you choose the default rewards option for the program.
- Frequent flyer rewards. flybuys allows you to transfer 10,000 points for 4,000 Etihad Guest Miles, which works out to be 2.5 flybuys points for every 1 Etihad Guest Mile. It also allows you to transfer 2,000 points to 870 Velocity Points, which converts to 2.29 flybuys per 1 Velocity Point. Woolworths Rewards, on the other hand, allows you to transfer 2,000 points for 870 Qantas Points, which is on par with the flybuys to Velocity option. However, flybuys also allows you to earn Velocity Status Credits, which can help boost your frequent flyer status and point earning potential.
- Special offers for members. Both of these programs provide exclusive offers and promotions to members. These deals can be customised based on your spending habits, which may provide you with more convenient ways to get bonus points and rewards.
In regards to these features, flybuys offers slightly better value on the frequent flyer front, with two airline rewards partners compared to Woolworths Rewards one partnership to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program. While Qantas Frequent Flyer is more popular in Australia than Etihad Guest, the Velocity Frequent Flyer program is at a similar level.
When it comes to other features, it's worth noting that flybuys also has a much wider range of ways to earn points and to redeem them. That could also allow you to earn points faster and redeem them for different rewards based on your circumstances. Meanwhile, Woolworths Rewards offers simple redemption options that you can "set and forget", saving you time by eliminating the need to log into your account to redeem points for rewards.
Which is better: Coles flybuys or Woolworths Rewards?
In the end, the value of these programs comes down to where your loyalties lie. If you regularly shop with flybuys program partners such as Coles, Kmart, Target and Liquorland, or if you're a Velocity member, then flybuys could be the most convenient and valuable option. On the other hand, if your shopping is mainly done at Woolworths or if you're a Qantas Frequent Flyer member, Woolworths Rewards could offer more specific benefits. Meanwhile, if you’re still on the fence, you could always sign up for both programs and decide which one offers more value that way.Back to top