- Flybuys is an Australian loyalty program started in 1994 as a joint venture between Coles Myer (now Wesfarmers), National Australia Bank and Shell
- More than 8.4 million Australians, or roughly two-thirds of Australian households are active flybuys card users
- The popular shopping loyalty program is getting in on the points-for-travel action with their flybuys travel program
If you shop in Australia, you will have heard of flybuys. There are only a few large supermarket chains in the country so no doubt you will have heard, “flybuys card?” at the checkout at some point in your life. Flybuys are hard to miss.
And while the loyalty program may attract millions of shoppers in the hope their avid point collecting will reap rewards, there are millions of other Australians who can’t see the point.
Without any bonus points or deals, you need to spend $2,000 to get a $10 discount on your shop. Only the savviest among us will see value in that, even if you’re spending the money anyway.
However, flybuys is known to offer lots of deals that allow you to easily amass enough points to get discounts that make it worthwhile joining the program. Many of these deals will be personalised, as flybuys exists to collect data about your personal spending habits in exchange for money off your shop.
To go one step further, you can create an atmosphere in which you earn points for almost all spending. Flybuys has partnered with Coles car insurance as well as tons of brands, health insurance programs, petrol stations, and Coles credit cards. Arguably though, for travellers, the most exciting flybuys collaboration is with Virgin Australia.
A few years ago, flybuys partnered with Virgin’s frequent flyer program to make flybuys more appealing to those who hadn’t signed up to use the program yet. This partnership between flybuys and Velocity rivals the Woolworths and Qantas frequent flyer deal, which should bring some healthy, and much needed, competition to the market.
But can flybuys travel compete with the big boys?
What did flybuys offer customers traditionally?
Flybuys work with some of Australia’s largest household names to offer customers extra benefits through a points system when they shop at affiliated outlets. Each time they spend online or in store, for every dollar spent shoppers earn points, in much the same way frequent flyer points work on airline-affiliated credit cards.
Some of the partners signed on to the flybuys program are Coles, Kmart, Medibank, Target and eBay, to name a few.
Once you’ve gathered enough points through spending, you can either get money off your supermarket bill or claim one of the rewards available through flybuys at the time. What you choose depends on how many points you have available. It could be a kettle, toaster, iPad or theatre tickets.
What can you buy with flybuys points?
As of publishing, 2,000 flybuys points will get you $10 off your Coles shopping bill, as an example. Considering you earn one point per dollar spent – generally – it means you’ll have to spend $2,000 to get $10 off your shop.
You can also use your points to redeem a reward. Current offers are listed on the flybuys website. Currently, you’ll need a grand total of 16,000 points (accrued after spending $16,000 on purchases) to get a Russell Hobbs sandwich press. The same sandwich maker can be bought in a leading Australian electrical store for $60. Still, you’ll be getting something you wouldn’t necessarily have if you hadn’t accrued flybuys.
Flybuys now fancies itself as a travel agency. Launching in 2016, flybuys travel offer flybuys members a wide range of travel options at competitive prices, exclusive deals and bonus flybuys points on airfares, hotel and car hire.
Members can collect points for every booking or redeem points already earned against any of the travel deals on offer.
Since flybuys travel was launched, the program has seen airline partners come and go, but Virgin seems here to stay.
Flybuys and Virgin
Transfer your flybuys points to Velocity frequent flyer program, and also earn status points
To start earning points through Virgin’s Velocity frequent flyer program you need to:
Link your flybuys and Velocity accounts. If you’re not already a member of the Velocity frequent flyer program, you can join for free. You can still earn status credits without converting your flybuys into Velocity points.
To get started, transfer 2,000 flybuys points or more, up to a maximum of 138,000 flybuys points per year per household. This is equivalent to 60,000 Velocity points.
Be aware, the points transfer is immediate. Once you’ve transferred your flybuys points to the Velocity program they can’t be returned.
Start shopping and use your flybuys points to go places
Improve your status with Velocity
Every Velocity frequent flyer member has a certain status: red, silver, gold or platinum. The higher the status, the more benefits you receive as a frequent flyer member. Access to the sacred travel lounge is one of these benefits, along with priority check-in and extra baggage allowance. Gathering status credits is well worth it for those who travel often.
To start collecting Velocity status credits, use your flybuys card at Coles, Coles Online, Liquorland or First Choice Liquor, where you can earn 1 Status Credit for every $100 spent, up to 10 every month. Make sure you read the fine print about status credits to ensure you qualify.
How does flybuys compare for value of points?
In short – it depends. There are so many factors to consider when weighing up what points are worth. It’s all very subjective.
People have different lifestyles and travel plans. What might be worthwhile to you may not be to someone else. What you need to do is work out what you’re aiming for when comparing flybuys to frequent flyer points earned elsewhere.
If you’re always shopping in Coles and Kmart, accruing Velocity points through flybuys may suit you perfectly well. However, if you shop on the high street at small independent stores and butchers directly, using your credit card affiliated with an airline may be more worthwhile.
Extra costs and fees
Some credit cards that have partnered with airlines demand an annual fee. There may also be a joining fee and interest charges on credit cards once you’ve signed up. Flybuys is free to join and use.
Earn flybuys points with flybuys travel
It’s not just about your supermarket, variety store and liquor shopping. Unless listed otherwise, you’ll also earn 1 flybuys point per dollar spent on flights, accommodation, holiday packages and car hire booked through flybuys travel. Your points should appear in your account within a week of travel.
And it’s not just about $10 off shopping or acquiring a sandwich press. You can also use your flybuys to buy travel luggage and accessories and get reduced rates on entry into theme parks and attractions across Australia.
How to maximise points earning with the right card
When you go shopping or book your flights via flybuys travel you can earn more points on your preferred airline if you use a credit card linked to the airline’s frequent flyer program or use a Coles Mastercard.All Coles credit cards earn flybuys points, no matter where you use them.
Flybuys travel and Velocity have made flybuys more attractive
There’s no doubt that extending flybuys into the travel business has been a good move for both the loyalty program and its members, adding to the earning and redemption options and winning new customers. And if you’re really serious about flybuys, you can make redemption a regular occurrence if you accelerate your points earning with a Coles credit card.