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Frequent flyer fail: 15 million Australians missing out on flights

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Millions of Australians aren't making the most of their reward points, according to new research by Finder.

A nationally representative survey of 1,010 respondents revealed 91% of Australians are part of at least one rewards program, including 86% who collect supermarket reward points – equivalent to 17.2 million people.

The research shows the majority of rewards members are after freebies, with 67% saying they primarily use their points to get cashback off groceries.

About 1 in 8 (13%) use their points to buy products outright, while only 13% convert them to Qantas or Velocity points.

That's just 2.2 million people using their points for travel – leaving 15 million missing out on potential frequent flyer points.

Amy Bradney-George, credit card expert at Finder, said using your points for travel will give you the best bang for your buck.

"You can spend your points in-store, but in most cases you won't get very good value compared to flight rewards.

"For instance, if you used 16,000 Everyday Rewards points to get cash off your shop, you'd get $80 value. But if you transferred those points to Qantas Frequent Flyer, you'd get 8,000 points – often enough for a one-way flight from Sydney to Melbourne or Brisbane, worth well above $80.

"If you're not planning a trip, using points for anything in-store is a way to get more value from money you're already spending."

Finder's research found women (72%) are more likely than men (62%) to use their points to get cashback off groceries.

Bradney-George said many Aussies are using rewards programs to get the most out of their shop, as inflation continues to drive up prices.

"People are searching for ways to save money in every area of their lives – and if you're going to buy groceries anyway, you might as well get something for it.

"That said, if you are planning to travel in the next year, even just domestically, it's worth looking at using your points to cover the cost of flights."

The research shows Woolworths Everyday Rewards (75%) is slightly more popular than Coles Flybuys (68%).

Bradney-George said the only major difference between Flybuys and Everyday Rewards is where you can earn and spend your points.

"Everyday Rewards partners include Woolworths, Big W, BWS and participating partnered service stations, and you can redeem points for cash off your shop or convert them to Qantas Points.

"Flybuys partners include Coles, Kmart, Bunnings and partnered service stations. You can redeem points for cash off your shop, retail items, travel bookings or point transfers to Velocity Frequent Flyer.

"It really depends where you shop the most and which airline you fly with. Or just sign up to both programs, as they're free to join."

Men (18%) are twice as likely as women (9%) to convert their supermarket rewards points to Qantas or Velocity points.

Do you collect the following points?
Woolworths Everyday Rewards75%
Coles Flybuys68%
Qantas Points28%
Virgin Velocity Points21%
None of the above9%
Westpac Altitude Rewards5%
ANZ Rewards5%
Kogan Rewards2%
AMEX Membership Rewards3%
NAB Rewards2%
Amplify Rewards2%
Citi Rewards2%
HSBC Rewards2%
Source: Finder nationally representative survey of 1,010 respondents, July 2022
What do you usually do with your supermarket points?
Get cashback off groceries67%
Buy products13%
Convert them to Qantas/Velocity points13%
I don't use my points for anything5%
Source: Finder survey of 866 respondents who indicated they collect Coles Flybuys and/or Woolworths Everyday Rewards points, July 2022

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