EXCLUSIVE | With more than 12 million members, Woolworths Rewards is one of the most popular loyalty programs in Australia. Members can earn points for shopping at Woolworths, Big W & BWS, and those points can be converted to Qantas Frequent Flyer points. But until now, Tasmanian residents have been excluded from the Woolworths Rewards program.
This is soon set to change, with Woolworths preparing to replace its “Frequent $hopper Club” with the Woolworths Rewards program in Tasmania. It is understood that this will happen later this year. This means Tasmanians will soon be able to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points at the checkout, but it could mean a reduction in savings for members that choose not to earn Qantas points.
Woolworths confirmed to Australian Frequent Flyer that it is preparing to discontinue the Frequent Shopper Club program in Tasmania, but said that it won’t happen immediately.
“While we have no firm plans at this stage, it is our intention to offer Woolworths Rewards for Tasmanians longer-term,” a Woolworths Rewards spokesperson said.
“We have more than 12 million Woolworths Rewards members and we’re always looking for ways to extend the full range of benefits of the program to even more.”
What is the Frequent Shopper Club?
While many Australians are members of the Woolworths Rewards loyalty program, Woolworths supermarkets in Tasmania have never participated in it. Instead, Tasmanians can enrol in the Frequent Shopper Club.
For customers that are happy to redeem their points for a discount off their shopping, the Frequent Shopper Club is actually more rewarding than Woolworths Rewards. Like their mainland counterparts, Tasmanians earn 1 point per $1 spent at Woolworths – but they can get a $10 discount off their shopping for every 1,000 points earned. With Woolworths Rewards, members redeem 2,000 points to save $10.
The trade-off is that Woolworths Rewards is affiliated with Qantas Frequent Flyer. Woolworths Rewards members have the option of converting 2,000 Woolworths points to 1,000 Qantas points – something Tasmanians cannot do. Tasmanian residents are also missing out the current promotion allowing Woolworths Rewards members to earn up to 50 Qantas status credits until the end of June 2020.
Why does Woolworths have a different loyalty program in Tasmania?
The existence of the Frequent Shopper Club program in Tasmania is a quirk that is unique to Woolworths. Flybuys, the rival program to Woolworths Rewards, operates in all Australian states and territories.
The Frequent Shopper Club was launched in 1992 as the loyalty program of Purity Supermarkets. When the Tasmanian supermarket chain was sold and stores were rebranded as Woolworths in 2000, there was an agreement that the Frequent Shopper Club loyalty program would be retained in the state. Woolworths kept this arrangement even after it launched the Everyday Rewards program – later renamed to Woolworths Rewards – for mainland customers.
Until now, Woolworths had been reluctant to replace the Frequent Shopper Club with Woolworths Rewards. It believes the existing program in Tasmania is very popular with local residents.
“Throughout the life of the Frequent $hopper Club we have found that our customers in Tasmania prefer the Frequent $hopper Club, and have therefore maintained this program as the Woolworths loyalty program in Tasmania”, the Frequent Shopper Club website states.
What will the new loyalty scheme mean for Tasmanians?
With Woolworths Rewards to be rolled out nationwide, Tasmanians will soon be able to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points when shopping at Woolworths. But it’s unclear if the current redemption rate of $10 off for every 1,000 Woolworths points earned will be retained. The most likely scenario is that this reverts to the same rate as the rest of the country, where 2,000 points = $10.
“We’ll need to be mindful of our popular existing program in Tasmania and what it means to our members,” a Woolworths Rewards spokesperson told us.
Woolworths Rewards recently released a new App, which allows members to view their personalised offers. Some Australian Frequent Flyer members have been offered 3,000 bonus points for downloading the App.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Do Tasmanian Woolworths customers really prefer the “Frequent $hopper Club”?