Flybuys: Locking out Frequent Flyers!

The Flybuys loyalty program may have the word “fly” in its name, but frequent flyers using the program are at a bizarre disadvantage.

One member discovered this week that it is impossible to redeem Flybuys points from outside Australia. This includes transferring points to the Velocity Frequent Flyer and Etihad Guest airline programs. The Flybuys website also blocks attempts to join the program or activate a special offer if you happen to be overseas.

The practice of geo-blocking is especially inconvenient for this member as they had been hoping to take advantage of a limited-time bonus on transfers to Velocity Frequent Flyer. They won’t return to Australia until after the offer expires.

For a program targeted at frequent flyers – who by their very nature are likely to be overseas some of the time – our members consider this a major oversight.

A Flybuys representative confirmed that Flybuys does not permit any redemptions from outside Australia for security reasons.

We appreciate that the inconvenience may particularly affect those members looking to use travel related rewards. We are constantly reviewing our security measures and attempt to get the right balance between maintaining appropriate levels of protection while minimising inconvenience to members.

Some members support the security measures. They opine that transfers or redemptions made from outside Australia are more likely to be fraudulent. The intention of such security measures is to reduce the likelihood of members’ points being stolen.

To circumvent Flybuys’ attempts to geo-block its members, one member suggests using a virtual private network (VPN). However, another member argues that fraudsters could just as easily use a VPN to get around these security measures, rendering the measures superfluous.

Woolworths Rewards appears to employ similar security measures.

Join the discussion HERE.

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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]