How To Maximize Australian Supermarket Loyalty Programs

In Australia we have two main supermarket loyalty programs – Flybuys (Coles & partners) and Woolworths Rewards.  Both of these can earn you valuable points that can either be redeemed for shopping vouchers in $10 increments or transferred to airline programs.


  1.  Both earn a base value of 1 point per $ spent in the supermarket.
  2. Both allow you to redeem 2000 points for one $10 shopping voucher which is stored on the card for use when you shop.
  3. Both have airline partners where you can redeem 2000 points for 870 airline miles.  Woolworths has Qantas and Coles has Virgin Australia plus Etihad where you redeem 10,000 Flybuys for 4000 Etihad.

On the surface, it would appear that it takes forever to get enough points to transfer to the airline to get an actual flight.  $2000 spent in the store gets 870 miles.  If a round trip to Fiji costs 36,000 miles, then you would have to spend $84,000 in the store to get 42 lots of 870 miles which could be exchanged for 36.540 miles.  Pretty daunting, huh?


All is not lost!  Both supermarkets have gotten very competitive with shopping promos lately.  You can find these promos on shopping dockets, in your junk mail and sent to you by email or sometimes by snail mail.  Here is what they look like.

coles-dockets coles-dockets2 flybuys-dec2 woolies-offer woolies-offer2 woolies-offer3

Be sure to activate the email promos and bring the docket ones to be scanned!  If a Woolworths offer is for $10, this comes in the form of 2000 points which you can choose to transfer to Qantas.  Spending $100 on groceries is pretty easy and much better than spending $2000!  You can always stock up on non-perishable items like cleaning supplies, packaged goods and soft drinks, especially when they do the half price deals.

Do they work?  Well have a look at my earnings just for the last few months!

woolies-qf flybuys-dec



  1.  Swap your shopping each week according to which supermarket has the best promos.
  2.   Don’t exceed the target by more than a couple dollars otherwise your next target will go up substantially.  I mentally add up the prices as I put things in the trolley and usually come within $1 of the target.
  3.  If the targets start getting too high, then stop shopping at that supermarket for awhile and shop at the other one.  They will make you better offers to lure you back.
  4.  If you have a partner or spouse, have them join Flybuys & Woolworths Rewards.  When your targets are too high, then start using their card for a while.  You can always use the family pooling feature of Velocity & Qantas to get the points in your account or just redeem from their account.
  5.  Pay with an Amex Platinum Edge to get 3 Membership Rewards per $.  If you don’t have one, I would appreciate if you use my referral link which is on my review of the card.
  6.  Buy gift cards for other things you need at supermarkets (Bunnings, JB-Hifi, clothing stores, etc) but DON’T scan your rewards card or your next promo target will go up substantially!  I learned this the hard way when we renovated the bathroom last year and I bought heaps of Bunnings cards at Coles which made my monthly average go way up and my next goal was something ridiculous like “Spend $300 for 1000 bonus points.  Most people’s targets will be between $50 – $150 a week.  However you do want to buy the gift cards and pay with an Amex Platinum Edge, just don’t scan the Flybuys card!  You’ll still get 3x on your home renovations rather than the 1x per $ you normally get at Bunnings.


Woolies (Australia) Makes A Step In The Right Direction

Last year Woolworths gutted their loyalty program in which people could choose between Qantas points and money off your shopping.  Then we heard that due to popular demand they would bring back Qantas points.  It took 8 months but we finally have the details of the new program.  Firstly, for a nice recap, please watch this video from Nine News.

You should also take the time to read the FAQ from their website.  Here’s a few key points:

You asked to be rewarded for every dollar you spend, so we made some changes. Now you get all the existing benefits of Woolworths Rewards, plus from 31 August 2016 you’re guaranteed to earn on every dollar* – $1 = 1 point. You can earn bonus points with exclusive offers in store and via email. Plus, for the first time, you’ll earn points at Caltex Woolworths fuel outlets (excluding Tasmania, Star Mart and Star Shop) on top of what you get at Woolworths and BWS.
*No points will be earned on purchases of smoking products, gift cards, mobile recharge, Woolworths Mobile, travel cards and tickets, delivery charges, internet cafes, Carpet Care, lottery products, Woolworths Flowers and purchases using Caltex Starcard.

This is a plus and basically gets rid of the detested “Orange ticket items” and brings the basic earn to an equal level with Coles Flybuys program, especially if all you want is to save money on your grocery shopping.  Flybuys does still have the edge though with flexibility.  You can redeem your Flybuys at any time of your choosing whereas the Woolworth’s program will either automatically redeem them each time you acquire 2000 points or $10 off your shopping.  If you want to save them, there is a “Save for Christmas” option where you can bank your points throughout the year and they will automatically be redeemed on 15 December.



Enjoy automatic savings

Unless you change your redemption settings to one of the below, you’ll automatically get $10 off a future shop each time your balance hits 2000 points. To redeem your saving, simply spend $10 or more on eligible purchases^ in store or online at a Woolworths supermarket or BWS store and scan your card. You cannot redeem your $10 saving in fuel outlets.


And from 31 August 2016:


Bank your savings for Christmas

You have the option to hold all your $10 savings for your Christmas shop. Your savings will be automatically triggered (i.e. become available for your use) on 15 December 2016.


Or convert your savings to Qantas Points

On 15 December 2016, each $10 Woolworths Dollar saving you’ve earned will be converted into 870 Qantas Points and transferred to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account.* For example, if you accumulate $50 Woolworths Dollars, you’ll get 4,350 Qantas Points.


You can update your redemption preference from 31 August 2016. To select your redemption preference, simply log in to your account at, select ‘My Account’ followed by ‘Redemption Settings’ and follow the prompts. Alternatively, click here to contact us.

I am not overly thrilled with the 15th December being the only option.  We don’t make a big fuss over Christmas and I would rather have the extra shopping the week after we get back from a big trip and then I could apply the week’s grocery budget to our trip.

In the past, I did accumulate quite a few Qantas points from shopping at Woolies but I am becoming less interested in collecting Qantas points due to the excessive fuel surcharges.  So what I would like is to be able to save the points and redeem them in bulk for a week’s free shopping at a time of my choosing.  What I haven’t figured out yet is if you can change your mind after you opt in for “Save for Christmas” and then have your stash of points redeemed when you opt out.


For shopping discounts, both of them value 2000 points at $10.  If this is your goal, then choose your grocery store for price and convenience, not the loyalty program.  Flybuys actually has an edge because you can choose to redeem them whenever you want and Woolies only has the automatic redemption or “Save for Christmas”.

If you want airline miles you need to know if Qantas (and OneWorld alliance) or Etihad (which can be redeemed on Virgin Australia and other partners) will get you where you want to go for less miles and less fuel surcharge.  There’s no easy way to distinguish them as each destination is different.  For example if you are headed to South America, Qantas & partner Latam have better options, for Africa, I would go with Etihad via Abu Dhabi.  Set your travel goal first and choose your loyalty programs accordingly!


If you are depending on just the $1 spent = 1 point earned, you will take forever to accumulate enough points for anything worthwhile.  The real value is in working the promos.  These sometimes get emailed to you, Coles sends out quarterly vouchers and both sometimes print bonus points offers on your shopping docket.  These usually involve you having to make a target such as “Spend $80 and get 1000 bonus points”.  If you can be flexible and rotate between both stores to take advantage of these bonuses you will get a LOT more points!  Ironically, these “loyalty programs” actually reward you better for being disloyal.  If you spend a couple months shopping at Coles, Woolies will try to lure you back with attractive offers and vice versa.  Also, when you are meeting a target, it’s best to just barely meet the target otherwise they raise the bar next time.  If you spend $80.45 on the example to get your 1000 point bonus, stop the register and pay for any remaining groceries separately without scanning the card, otherwise you will find your next target increased to $100.  You can get your spouse or partner to use their card too and rotate between you to keep your targets down.

I know this is a lot to take in and it probably sounds complicated and not worth it but if you play the game well, you do get some pretty good rewards!


Free Points For Everyday Living – Australian Edition

Did you know that you can get free frequent flyer miles and points just for your basic every day living expenses?  Over the last couple of weeks, I wrote about credit card options for Australians so right there if you can route all your expenses for groceries, petrol, utilities via the card (and pay it in full each month) you will accumulate a LOT of points.

There are also ways to earn points that don’t require a credit card.


1.  Join Everyday Rewards.  Then swipe your card when you shop at Woolworths, Big W, Caltex Woolworths Petrol, Dick Smith and BWS you will earn points.  They sometimes email you special offers such as “Spend $25 on pet food and get 300 bonus points”.  They have more recently been giving fuel vouchers as bonuses but hopefully they will return to bonus Qantas points soon but you always earn the base points, so why not turn your groceries, petrol and other shopping into free points?

2.  Link your Optus phone and internet account and get 2 points per dollar for your normal phone and internet expenses.  You can do this whether you are new to Optus or been using them for years.  You pay the same bill you have always paid but now you are getting points for them!

3.  Use Rental Rewards to pay your rent!  In the example here, they show you how you can get 20,000 points per year!

4.  Life Insurance can earn you 10,000 points.  Check here for details.

5.  Restaurants – if you like to eat out, check here to see if your favourite restaurant will give you points with your meal!


1.  Virgin Mobile – if you switch to Virgin Mobile, you will get a bonus of 4000 points plus $3 per dollar on every monthly bill thereafter.

2.  On the same page, you will see bonuses for getting Foxtel, Quickflix, and tickets for events.

3.  Online shopping – Velocity partners with Westfield and most of us do shop at Westfields pretty often so check to see if you can get points for it.  They also have their own online shopping mall and partner with Ebay, the Iconic, Booktopia and more!

4.  Insurance and Financial – maybe not an everyday expense but if these are services you are shopping for anyway, why not get points by using the click-thru link?

5.  Wining and Dining – once again, if you like going out or joining a wine club you can get points!


I know if you are just starting out, this seems kind of daunting, but once you get started, it becomes second nature.  If I get a bonus for pet food, I stock up on bird seed.  I plan my grocery shopping for days when bonuses are on offer and fill my car with the maximum petrol voucher as those also get me points.  It all adds up-it has only taken me a year to get over 16,000 Qantas points just from groceries, petrol and Optus!  Purely free travel!


Oh and if you have a miles/points earning credit card you get to double-dip!  That means you earn the points from the card and from the retail partner.  For example, I spend $150 on groceries at Woolies.  I pay for it with my Amex.  I just got 130 Qantas points and 150 Amex Membership Rewards for stuff I had to buy anyways!