In a supermarket shake-up, Etihad Guest miles can now be earned at Coles. As part of the new tie-up between Etihad Guest and Coles’ Flybuys loyalty program, shoppers can now even earn tier miles towards Etihad elite status while buying groceries!

Flybuys points can be converted to Etihad Guest miles in blocks of 10,000, with one Flybuys point converting to 0.4 airline miles.

Interesting to say the least… Conversion rate could have been better though. 10,000 Flybuys = $50 in coles credit or 4000 miles..

Etihad Guest is the loyalty program of Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways. Although some members are disappointed that Flybuys has not partnered with Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer (akin to the current Qantas/Woolworths partnership), there are certainly some positives to come from this.

Etihad only flies to four Australian cities from its Abu Dhabi hub, but the good news for point hunters is that Etihad also partners with airlines including Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand. Etihad Guest miles can be redeemed for most Virgin Australia flights, and the value is often very good. A standard Sydney-Melbourne redemption (flying Virgin Australia) will set you back 6,900 Etihad miles in Economy – plus just over $20 in taxes. A redemption on this route would cost exactly the same number of Velocity points and taxes, though Velocity allows you to redeem points for Business class.

There are also some sweet spots where the number of miles required to redeem a flight are substantially lower through the Etihad Guest program. For example, a seat on certain flights between Australia and New Zealand costs just 6,900 Etihad miles – less than half of the 16,900 points asked of Virgin Velocity members.

Unfortunately, redeeming Etihad miles is a little bit complicated. Reward flights must be redeemed at least two weeks in advance, and can only be booked over the phone.

The other exciting news to come from this announcement is the ability to earn tier miles when shopping at Coles. Tier miles count towards Etihad Guest status, with 25,000 tier miles earned within one year being enough to earn a member Silver status. One tier mile can be earned for every $1 spent at Coles, with a maximum of 2,500 tier miles per month. This won’t make it easy to earn status just by shopping at Coles, but it could be a useful way to top up your account.

Yes, so apparently you can earn 1 Etihad tier mile for every $1 spent at Coles, up to 2,500 per month. If you were to spend the maximum $2,500 per month (which I certainly won’t be doing!) then you could in theory earn Silver Etihad status in 10 months.

Flybuys has traditionally been seen to offer poor value compared to the Woolworths Everyday Rewards program. Typically, Flybuys points are worth just 0.5 cents each when redeemed. But this new partnership could give Woolworths a run for their money, especially given rumours that they plan to cut ties with Qantas Frequent Flyer in the near future.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]