For many years, the Flybuys loyalty program of Coles had an arguably better value proposition for frequent flyers. But, following recent positive changes to the Woolworths Rewards program, the tide may have turned.
Back in 2015, Woolworths axed its partnership with Qantas Frequent Flyer in favour of a program where points were only earned on a small range of products – and could only be redeemed for shopping discounts. This turned a lot of frequent flyers towards Flybuys, which at the time offered the ability to transfer points to the Etihad Guest frequent flyer program.
Etihad is no longer a Flybuys partner, but you can now transfer Flybuys points to Virgin Australia’s Velocity program. Meanwhile, Woolworths realised its mistake and reinstated the ability to transfer Woolworths Rewards points to Qantas Frequent Flyer in 2016.
Woolworths Rewards now has a better value proposition for frequent flyers
For the past few years, both Flybuys and Woolworths Rewards offered the ability to transfer points to their respective airline partners at a rate of 2,000 supermarket points = 870 airline points.
But in October 2019, Woolworths Rewards increased its conversion rate. Now, 2,000 Woolworths Rewards points are worth 1,000 Qantas points and transfers occur within 24 hours – not every 3 months, as before. Nominally, this means you’ll now get 15% more frequent flyer points by shopping at Woolworths than Coles.
Woolworths Rewards also does not limit the number of points you can transfer to Qantas Frequent Flyer. On the other hand, Flybuys limits the number of points you can transfer to Velocity Frequent Flyer each calendar year at 138,000 Flybuys points. This is equivalent to 60,030 Velocity points annually.
We asked Flybuys if they had any plans to remove the annual transfer limit. A Flybuys spokesperson told Australian Frequent Flyer that this cap was agreed between Flybuys and Velocity Frequent Flyer when the relationship started in 2016.
“We appreciate that this does impact some flybuys members, and this information forms part of our ongoing review of the offering to flybuys members,” the spokesperson said.
Flybuys still has better promotional offers
Flybuys told us that the benefits of its partnership with Velocity Frequent Flyer continued to resonate strongly with Flybuys members.
“As part of the everyday offer between flybuys and Velocity, linked flybuys members earn up to 10 Velocity Status Credits each month from their shopping at Coles Supermarkets (including Coles Online), Liquorland, First Choice Liquor and First Choice Liquor Market – an offer unique in the marketplace. And during the month of December, flybuys members receive double Status Credits, so up to 20 Velocity Status Credits just by doing their everyday shopping,” the Flybuys spokesperson said.
Although Woolworths Rewards points can be converted to Qantas points at a higher rate, Flybuys still offers regular promotions where members can earn 15% bonus points on transfers to Velocity. When 15% bonus points are offered, this effectively means that 2,000 Flybuys points are worth 1,000 Velocity points.
With this in mind, the annual transfer limit to Velocity remains the major reason that frequent flyers are not as engaged with the Flybuys program as they might otherwise be.
But Flybuys does tend to offer significantly better and more generous targeted promotions where members can earn bonus points for shopping at Coles.
In addition, there are many more ways to earn Flybuys points than Woolworths Rewards points. As well as the Flybuys program having more retail partners, it’s possible to earn Flybuys points from credit card spend. There is even currently an offer where you can earn up to 120,000 bonus flybuys points when applying for a Coles Rewards Mastercard. It’s a shame that those Flybuys points would almost swallow up your entire annual Velocity transfer limit.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: 138k Flybuy Limit to Velocity – frustrating!