How to earn frequent flyer points with gift cards
Give a present and score points for yourself! But watch out for the pitfalls.
Gift cards are a good option for a present when you're not sure what the recipient would really like. They also offer an easy way to earn extra frequent flyer points.
Both Coles' Flybuys and Woolworths' Everyday Rewards regularly offer bonus points when you buy gift cards at those supermarkets. Gift cards for the offers span fashion, entertainment, travel, food and more.
Just how regularly? In the 2022-2023 financial year, Coles had gift card deals in 29 weeks, Finder analysis shows. Woolworths did even better, with offers in 41 weeks.
A typical deal offers 1,000 or 2,000 bonus points with a gift card purchase. Sometimes the offer will be for 20 times the dollar value of the card.
Often the deal will also be tied to a specific card value. $50 or $100 are the most common options.
Gift cards tied to a specific store usually don't have a fee (unlike generic gift credit cards, which often do). They're more flexible than single purpose cards such as Netflix, Google Play or Uber, because they can be used for a wider range of gift purchases.
Traps to watch out for
Make sure you're earning maximum points when buying gift cards by following these tips:
- Don't buy a gift card just to earn the points. If cousin Gina really is a movie nut, then a Hoyts card will be welcome. But giving a Gourmet Traveller card to Aunt Ethel when she refuses to visit restaurants is poor form. Equally, if you're going to use the card yourself, make sure it's for a purchase you were planning anyway.
- Your gift card purchases won't earn Everyday Rewards or Flybuys points based on their dollar value. One trap people often don't realise: gift card purchases don't earn supermarket reward points from their dollar value. So if you spend $50 on a gift card, you don't earn 50 points. That's why you'll only want to buy them when a bonus offer is running.
- Buying multiple cards has its limits. Gift card offers at supermarkets will generally limit the bonus points offer. While you can often score it for more than one card, you can't go absolutely wild. Coles generally limits purchases to 5 cards, while Woolworths goes to 10, but details vary for every offer, so always check the terms and conditions. (You'll find these in the supermarket catalogue in annoyingly small print.)
- Don't spend more than you need to qualify. If you have the choice of a $50 or $100 gift card and the points earned are the same, then you may as well go for the cheaper card.
- Make sure the recipient can use the card. Seems obvious, but sending a card to someone who can't use it because there's no branch of that store/cinema/restaurant in their area is very poor form.
- Remember to scan your loyalty card. No scan? No points! It's almost impossible to get this fixed after the fact, so make sure you scan in store. Speaking of which...
- Self-serve checkouts are not your friend. In Woolworths, you can't buy gift cards at a self-serve checkout. You can in Coles, but a staff member usually still has to authorise your purchase. So head for the express or regular checkouts.
- Convert your points to frequent flyer points. 2,000 points equates to $10 off at both Coles and Woolworths. That's a good deal, but you can do better. You'll get even more value from your supermarket points if you move them into your frequent flyer scheme of choice. 2,000 points converts to 1,000 frequent flyer points. Use those wisely and they'll be worth more than $10. For instance, spending 1,000 Qantas Points on an reward flight is routinely worth $20 or more.
Want to keep your frequent flyer points balance growing? Check out the latest credit card sign-up deals.
We updated this guide in August 2023 to include current points details and information about offer frequency.