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Flybuys is bigger than ever – but it’s losing money. Why?


And how can you get the most out of the scheme as membership numbers rise?

Supermarket loyalty scheme Flybuys has cracked the 9 million member mark, but increased usage amidst the cost-of-living crisis means it actually lost $26 million in the last year.

Points redemptions from Flybuys have risen 30% year-on-year, Coles said.

The most popular use of Flybuys is to score $10 off every time you earn 2,000 Flybuys points, though Finder analysis shows you can often get better value by converting them to Velocity points.

"The big thing we know is on all of our customers minds right now is cost of living," Coles Group CEO Leah Weckert said in a conference call following the results announcement.

"Customers are looking to catalogues, loyalty programs and in-store markdowns to make their budgets go further."

That pattern of increased usage is particularly evident with younger families, Weckert said.

"They're much more focused on collecting loyalty program points," she said.

Store-brand items have also risen in popularity as rising prices bite.

"Across the board, customers are economising in lots of different ways," Weckert said. "So we have seen more of a trade into areas like own brand in a lot of your staples areas. So things like pasta and rice and the like have seen very, very strong growth in in own brand."

Coles store brand bread

Store brands are growing in popularity at Coles. Image: Angus Kidman/Finder

The figures were unveiled as part of Coles' full year results. Coles owns 50% of Flybuys, with the other half owned by Wesfarmers. It said its 50% share resulted in a $13 million annual loss.

The 9 million members figure is a 9% rise on the previous year. That makes it the second-biggest supermarket loyalty scheme in Australia. Woolworths' Everyday Rewards claims 14.3 million members, according to its most recent results.

Coles also said ecommerce contribution revenue from its Coles Plus subscription scheme had increased by 30%. Members of Coles Plus earn extra Flybuys points, but Finder's analysis suggests it's only worth joining if you regularly need home deliveries.

How to get more from Flybuys

With more than 80% of Australian households having access to Flybuys, how can you make the most of the scheme? These are my top tips:

  • Take advantage of bonus offers. Flybuys regularly offers bonus points on both individual products and if you reach a minimum spend each week. By maximising those deals, I've earned 42,000 Flybuys points in the last 6 months.
  • Convert to Velocity Points Using your points to pay for flights gets you more dollar value than just taking $10 off coupons.
  • Remember to use it in other stores. While Coles is Flybuys' biggest partner, you can also earn points at Bunnings, Liquorland and First Choice Liquor, amongst others.

Check out Finder's 2023 Cost of living report to learn more about how inflation is impacting Australians. Get more helpful money tips to help you save.

Image: Finder/Photographer: Angus Kidman
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