The supermarket rewards scene received a shake up recently, as Coles and Virgin Australia partnered up to bring the Flybuys and Velocity Frequent Flyer schemes together, making it even easier for Aussie shoppers to bag free flights.
More than 60% of Aussie households report being active members of the Flybuys rewards scheme, which allows them to earn points while shopping at Coles supermarkets, Liquorland and 27 different Flybuys partners.
Under this new rewards partnership, these shoppers will be able to transfer their flybuys points to the Velocity Frequent Flyer program at a rate of 2000 Flybuys points to 870 velocity points. That means that on an average weekly grocery shop of $200, flybuys customers could earn 4524 velocity points each year.
This is the same earn rate as the rival Woolworths-Qantas scheme, but when Mozo crunched the numbers, we found that while still comparable, there was a difference between the two in the redemption value of points.
The money experts at Mozo.com.au calculate that to bag a free flight from Sydney to Melbourne, Flybuys-Velocity shoppers would need to have a stack of 7800 Velocity points built up, which equates to a spend of $17,931 (+ $21.11 taxes). Woolworths-Qantas customers, on the other hand, need to redeem a neat 8000 Qantas points, for a slightly bigger spend of $18,391 (+ $34.18 taxes).
How do flybuys-Velocity and Woolworths-Qantas compare?
|Conversion rate||$2000 spend|
= 2000 Flybuys Points
= 870 Velocity Points
= 2000 Everyday Rewards Points
= 870 Qantas Points
|Points for a Syd-Melb flight||7800 Velocity Points (+ $21.11 taxes)||8000 Qantas Points (+ $34.18 taxes)|
|Supermarket spend for Syd-Mel flight||$17,931 (+ $21.11 taxes)|
|$18,391 (+ $34.18 taxes)|
|How long to earn a Syd-Melb flight spending $200 each week?||90 weeks|
But the major difference between the schemes – and one serious point in favour of Flybuys-Velocity – is the option to earn status credits through your grocery spend. Velocity status credits determine eligibility for Silver, Gold or Platinum membership, and can only be earned by purchasing flights, or now, through Flybuys points.
Every $100 spent at Coles retailers will earn shoppers 1 status credit, with a monthly cap of 10 credits. Theoretically, that means you could earn your way to a silver membership (worth 250 status credits) in just 25 months. In reality, however, these 250 credits need to be earned within 12 months – so while 120 can come from Flybuys points, the remaining 130 will have to be earned elsewhere. You’ll also need to take two eligible Virgin/Virgin partners flights to bump up to silver membership.
The Flybuys-Velocity and Qantas-Woolworths programs are now perhaps more similar than ever – but thanks to slightly better redemption value and the innovation of allowing shoppers to earn status credits outside of buying flights, Coles seems to be inching ahead in the supermarket rewards race.
Kirsty Lamont is director of Mozo.com.au