The Flybuys loyalty program is one of Australia’s two major supermarket rewards programs. It belongs to Coles and Wesfarmers – the owners of Coles, Bunnings, Kmart and Target. One of the biggest drawcards of the program is it covers many of the largest retailers in Australia and allows you to earn points on shopping that you likely would have done anyway. The program is relatively straightforward, with most retailers giving you 1 point per $1 spent, but many of the actual benefits of the program rely on the bonus points offers presented, which can significantly increase your points earning rate and, importantly, be converted to Velocity points to be used for flight redemptions. Here’s our guide on how to use Flybuys points for flights.
How to earn Flybuys points
One of the significant advantages of Flybuys over its competitor – Everyday Rewards from Woolworths, is that many retailers participate in the program. This allows you to combine many of your loyalty program points into one, giving you an advantage when trying to maximise your earning potential.
As you can see, the retailer partners are varied and cover a large proportion of people’s everyday spending. Most of these retailers give you 1 Flybuys point per $1 spent except for Shell and Catch, which offer 1 point per $2 spent. Once you collect 2,000 points, this can be converted to 1,000 Velocity points or $10 off your shopping. This effectively gives you 0.5% cashback on your spend.
The Flybuys program comes into its own with frequent bonus point offers. This will typically ask you to spend a certain amount per week with Coles or another retailer or buy a specific targeted product (based on your purchase history) in exchange for bonus points. These offers can range from double or triple points on your shop to 10,000 bonus points (worth $50) for spending a certain amount over four consecutive weeks. This can increase the program’s value proposition and give you a way to supplement your existing Velocity points balance.
For those who earn points through shopping through Target, Kmart, Catch, Bunnings, or Officeworks, another relatively new perk from Flybuys is Onepass. A $4 per month subscription that gives you 2 points per $2 spent at catch or 5 points or $1 spent in-store (or click and collect at Kmart) at the above partner stores. The fact that this isn’t available at Coles or Shell means that, for many people, this is not worth it. But for those who occasionally spend at the other retailers, at $4 per month and an equivalent of 2.5% cashback if redeemed as cash, you would only need to spend $160 in a month to make the $4 back. This can be useful for those who spend time at Officeworks or Bunnings for business purposes, but for most people, it might not have enough value to justify the monthly fee.
How to redeem Flybuys points
The Flybuys program provides several redemption options. The easiest of these is the $10 back on your shop. This gives you $10 off at most physical retailers that let you earn Flybuys, including Coles, Kmart, Target, Officeworks and Liquorland. This provides a relatively simple return of 0.5c per point with minimal effort.
Flybuys also offers a rewards store, which generally provides poor value compared to the other redemption options. For example, a pair of AirPods will set you back 58,600 points or 0.48c per $1. There are occasional sales on items, so it can be worth comparing the redemption value if you are in the market for something specific. An advantage of the reward store is that it offers a points + pay option that allows you to pay extra in cash when you don’t have the points balance required to purchase an item. In my experience, this presents even worse value than redeeming points for the entire item cost.
Flybuys has a few options available to redeem flights. First is the Flybuys-Velocity partnership, which lets you convert your Flybuys points to Velocity points and redeem them for flights. Next is Flybuys Travel, an online travel agent like Expedia or Booking.com that allows you to collect and redeem Flybuys points.
How does the Flybuys-Velocity partnership work
Flybuys and Velocity have a partnership that allows you to earn Velocity points and status credits through shopping. This is a crucial advantage over Everyday Rewards, as there is no way to earn Qantas status credits through the Woolworths program.
Flybuys allows you to choose between automatically transferring points to Velocity when you hit 1,000 points or manually transferring them once you’ve built up a balance. In both cases, the conversion rate is 1,000 Flybuys points to 500 Velocity points. I would advocate for keeping your points in Flybuys and manually transferring points to Velocity due to the frequent points transfer bonus offers that Velocity has. This usually happens several times a year and gives you a 15-20% bonus for converting your Flybuys points to Velocity points, meaning you get up to 600 Velocity points for every 1,000 points that you convert.
Another Flybuys perk is the status credits that you can earn through shopping. Flybuys lets you earn one status credit for every $100 spent at Coles (this is cumulative and doesn’t have to be in one shop). This provides a maximum of 10 status credits a month or 120 per year. For those who don’t fly with Virgin or their partners with paid tickets, this perk is not helpful as you will never earn enough status credits to even get to Silver Velocity status. This perk is for those who already earn status credits through Virgin with semi-regular flying and spend a decent amount on shopping every month. For those with a family, it can be an excellent perk to combine with family pooling on Velocity to get on the fast track to status.
Should you use Flybuys Travel?
Flybuys Travel provides another avenue for redeeming points for flights. This provides the same value as Flybuys does through their shopping cashback program. That is, 0.5 cents per point. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. The benefit is that there is much more flexibility in terms of what you can use your points on. This can include hotels, budget airlines, domestic flights, and international flights without a restriction on brands or rewards seat availability. This also means that peak time fares can be more expensive in terms of points, so you lose some of the benefits of cheaper peak time fares with rewards seats.
If you are looking at solely redeeming a flight using your Flybuys points then you can redeem a return flight from Sydney to Brisbane off-peak for 55,600 points return. The same flight would cost you 31,500 Velocity points (or 63,000 Flybuys points if you were to convert your points). This comes with the added advantage of earning Velocity points and status credits on top, making the cost even lower! The equation flips when you start looking for flights around Christmas time, which, with Velocity points, costs the same as above (63,000 Flybuys points) but will set you back 77,000 Flybuys points.
Another advantage for Flybuys travel is you can partially cover your flight with Flybuys points if you don’t have enough and also use it to cover the taxes associated with your flights completely. This means you don’t have to deal with carrier charges and other taxes that you will be subject to with reward flights.
Earning points is also not as restricted as airline points and allows you to double up points earned. You earn 1 point per $1 spent and can earn points on all spending through Flybuys travel – even when booking corporate travel or travel for multiple people. You will also be able to get airline frequent flyer miles in addition to the Flybuys points you earn. Please note that booking through an online travel agent comes with caveats, and I would prefer to book directly through the airline.
Are Flybuys points worth using?
As the saying goes, nothing is free, which also goes for Flybuys points. The program is designed to get you to spend more at Coles and other Flybuys partners and gather data on your shopping habits to present targeted offers and provide insight into your habits. It will also require downloading the Flybuys mobile app to access the best offers.
If you avoid a common pitfall, Flybuys points can provide value to the user. You will be encouraged to scan your card every time you shop. I have found that this counterintuitively means you get fewer points than you otherwise could. It means you will be presented with fewer bonus point offers, and those you are given will require a higher minimum spend. When I scanned my card at every shop, I got to the point where I was required to spend $160 per week for four consecutive weeks to earn 10,000 bonus points (or $50)! After stopping scanning my card regularly after a month or two, I was presented with offers such as 2,000 points for spending $30, 10,000 points for spending $50 over four weeks and frequent triple point offers.
There are two ways to increase your frequency of offers and far exceed the expected 0.5 points per $1 return. The first is to have multiple Flybuys accounts, e.g. for you and your partner, but don’t combine them into a household account, as this will combine the offers you receive. Another option is to scan your card less frequently or shop with two transactions. This artificially makes your spending appear lower, meaning you will get offers requiring lower minimum spends. Once the minimum spend amounts increase, stop using your Flybuys card until the offers improve. While you forgo points from shopping, your overall points will increase. Say you want to earn 2,000 points. To do this solely through shopping would require you to spend $2,000 grocery shopping, which would take a few months for most people. If you wait for a reasonable offer, you can easily achieve this in one shop.
You can combine this strategy and alternate your shopping between Woolworths and Coles to claim offers from both rewards programs at the same time. It also looks like you’re spending less at both stores, giving you access to more appealing offers. This is easier for those lucky enough to live in an area where both grocery stores are readily accessible.
The Flybuys program provides a way to supplement your Velocity points balance and can help you get free flights using offers on the website or through their mobile app. While earning points solely through shopping is tedious, altering your shopping habits slightly and scanning your card selectively can maximise the points you earn through these offers. If you’re a frequent flyer, the Flybuys-Velocity partnership can help you work your way up the status tiers at Velocity through status credits. However, this is mainly targeted at those who have high shopping spend.