With Qantas disappearing from the mix, what's the best way to maximise the value of your supermarket shopping at Woolworths? Here's what you need to know about the new Woolworths Rewards scheme.
Woolworths Rewards is replacing the existing Woolworths Everyday Rewards scheme, which launched back in 2008, offering fuel discounts and special offers. Since June 2009, you've also been able to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer Points on the card. For every dollar you spent over $30, you earned one Qantas FF point. Other Woolworths-owned outlets including Big W and BWS were also part of the scheme, though their offers weren't as generous.
That's all coming to an end with the launch of Woolworths Rewards, an alternative scheme which offers automated shopper discounts rather than frequent flyer points. The scheme will officially kick off on Wednesday 28 October 2015. Woolworths will send all existing Everyday Rewards customers a replacement card (mailouts will start from 26 October 2015), but you can use your existing card in the meantime and the membership number won't change. If you've linked your Everyday Rewards and your Qantas account, you'll be able to earn points for shopping until 31 December 2015.
What benefits does the Woolworths Rewards card offer?
Woolworths Rewards lets you earn "Woolworths Dollars" when you purchase specific items. Items in store will be marked with orange tickets which show how many Woolworths Dollars you'll earn. You may also receive emails from Woolworths advising you that specific products you often purchase will be eligible for dollars if you purchase between specific dates.
Once you've accumulated 10 Woolworths dollars, you'll earn a $10 discount off your next shop. When you shop and scan your card, the discount will be applied automatically.
Unlike Everyday Rewards, there is no minimum spend. However, since the dollars only apply to specific products, you could quite easily go shopping and earn nothing at all.
While a $10 discount voucher may sound like a helpful bonus, if you can only earn it by buying products you don't need or which cost more than your regular choice, it's a completely false economy.
And what happens to my existing frequent flyer points?
Any points you earn between now and 31 December 2015 will continue to be added to your Qantas account. Those points won't expire once the partnership ends as long you meet Qantas' basic requirements for member activity. Qantas points don't expire provided you earn or use points at least once every 18 months. As well as earning points by booking flights, you can also earn them via frequent flyer credit cards
What's happening to petrol discounts?
The discounts offered at Woolworths Petrol stations aren't changing. You'll continue to receive an offer of 4 cents off per litre when you spend $30 or more.
What if I have a Woolworths credit card?
Does this mean I'll never score a free flight?
Earning frequent flyer points via supermarket shopping is an expensive business. You'll need 8000 points for the cheapest possible one-way free flight on Qantas. To earn that, the absolute minimum you'd have to spend at Woolworths would be $8031. In reality, because the first $30 of each transaction doesn't count, you'd have to spend far more. More realistically, if you spent $200 a week at Woolies, it would take you 48 weeks to earn that single flight.
If you were planning to shop at Woolworths anyway, than a handful of free points is a nice bonus which might eventually add up. However, if you want to travel, planning your shopping and hunting down specials will help you save money for that goal much faster than trying to earn points.
It's possible that a replacement scheme may launch in the future. Qantas' email to its customers announcing the end of the scheme notes that "we are working with Woolworths on a new partnership from 2016, and will keep you posted".