If you thought Frequent Flyer programs were only for travel, think again! Many of the more popular schemes now also include options for spending reward points on everyday products and services, which means that you can redeem your rewards much sooner, and more often.
With Qantas and Woolworths joining forces recently, and Coles and Flybuys looking at ways to reinvigorate their partnership, an epic battle is being fought over our wallets, with free pies and deep discounts on petrol promising to be just the beginning. Here’s a quick overview of the players*:
Woolworths and Qantas
The Woolworths everyday rewards program started out as just a fancy way of doing petrol discount vouchers: instead of having to carry around bits of paper, the vouchers would be stored and accessed electronically on the card.
Then on the 22nd of June, Woolies announced that they’d joined forces with Qantas, and you could get free membership to the Qantas Frequent Flyer (QFF) program and also earn 1 point for every dollar you spend over $30. In other words, the first $30 spend still goes towards getting that petrol voucher, but the rest of it will earn you QFF points.
On their part, Qantas revamped their reward redemption, launching a new online store which focuses on non-flight travel options, household goods, and “experiences” instead of the usual flights and flight upgrades.
Coles and Flybuys
Until recently, Wesfarmers (the owners of both Coles and FlyBuys) had let its reward program become neglected to the point of being pointless (har har). It’s earn rate of 2 points for every $5 was far less competitive than other reward schemes, and the bonus points promotions were becoming few and far between.
But the Woolworths and Qantas deal lit a firecracker under their butts, and Coles kicked off a huge campaign, which also included rebranding and a new slogan: “it all counts”. They also embarked on a recruitment drive for FlyBuys with their gift card giveaway, but it remains to be seen if after this promotion finishes at the end of the month, whether they will improve the earn rate of FlyBuys to match that of the Woolies/QFF alliance.
The MyerOne card is the quiet achiever in this group, created after Myer stopped accepting FlyBuys as a result its being split from the Coles Group. They’re currently offering 2 points per dollar, and they send you a $20 voucher for every 2,000 points earned.
They run regular (usually monthly) promotions, often with some quite compelling offers, which has made them a favourite with the Internet bargain hunters.
So that’s just a quick round-up of the major cards. Which one should you get (or should you even bother at all)? It depends mostly on how much you buy, and where you do most of your shopping, but it’s probably not worth your time if you only pop in for the occasional milk and sugar. If you’re feeding a family, have a couple of cars, and shop regularly (at least once a week) then you’ll probably get a lot more out of it.
It should probably come as no surprise to you to know that I have all three: I find that Woolworths tends to have more of the products that I like, but Coles has better specials. I only signed up for MyerOne to take advantage on a deal on a Dyson Vacuum cleaner.
But really, I’m doing it for you, THRIFTerrific fans! Hee hee…
* I’ve deliberately chosen to exclude schemes that are attached to credit cards, since that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish!