Qantas Shopping Points-Prompter: Pros and cons
The browser extension reminds you when there are points-earning options online.
So the virtual ink had barely dried on this morning's column about Qantas's push into shopping through an actual storefront at Melbourne Airport when a release announcing another example of the airline's new retail obsession popped into my inbox.
Qantas Shopping Points-Prompter is a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that reminds you when you're visiting an online store that offers Qantas Points on purchases. Click on the "Earn Qantas Points" notification that pops up to make sure you earn while you're shopping. You'll also see reminders above relevant search results, like this:
Here's the cheerful official video running through how it works:
So is this worth doing? My feelings are mixed. Yes, if you're going to be buying through those stores anyway, then you may as well get the points, and this semi-automates the process. You won't have to remember to access the site via the Qantas online mall, since the extension will do that for you when you click on the prompts. The first 5,000 customers to use the extension will also receive a bonus 500 Qantas Points (but with Qantas Frequent Flyer counting more than 12 million members, that offer won't last long).
There are some clear downsides though. First and foremost, the extension doesn't work for every single one of Qantas's retail partners. "Select stores have opted out of Qantas Shopping Points-Prompter notifications being displayed on their website and in search results," the FAQ for the extension notes. In fact, 34 stores don't do this, including big hitters like Apple, ASOS and The Iconic.
To earn points at any of those outlets, you'll still have to access the retailer via Qantas's own shopping site. That's a fairly major omission and cuts down on usefulness.
The second issue is that, as with any browser extension, you need to grant fairly broad permissions in order for it to work. When you install it, you're told the extension can "read and change all your data on the websites you visit". That's a very broad permission meaning Qantas can see everywhere you visit, so you need to weigh up for yourself if that's worth points-earning reminders.
Ultimately, you're always going to earn far more points by selecting the right credit card than you will from shopping. The Qantas Shopping Points-Prompter will help keep your points ticking over, but technology doesn't beat careful planning.
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.