With the return of Qantas Frequent Flyer points to Woolworths Rewards, we are now able to earn points while shopping at either Coles or Woolworths. In the case of Woolworths Rewards you can transfer points to Qantas, while in the Coles Flybuys case there is a facility to transfer to Etihad Guest.
This begs the question about how compare in frequent flyer land.
At the base level, the points earning of the two programs is the same. That is you earn 1 point for each one dollar of spend. Further, the value of the points is pretty much the same in each program. In both cases, using points for an in-store discount is based on using 2,000 points for a $10 discount. Effectively, this assigns a value of 0.5 cents per point.
As the new kid on the block, I will start with the Woolworth Rewards program. In this program, points are earned at Woolworths, Caltex-Woolworths and BWS stores. Across all earnings partners, the earn rate is the same – 1 point per dollar.
On the downside, Woolworths points aren’t earned across the full range of Woolworths businesses. For example, no points are earned at Big W, Cellarmasters or Dan Murphy’s.
On the conversion side, in the Woolworths program 2,000 points may be converted to 870 Qantas Points. By foregoing a discount, you are effectively buying points at over 1.1 cents each.
Coles has a more established program, and has far more partners participating in the program. Participating stores include Coles, Coles Express, Liquorland, 1st Choice, Kmart and Target. Apart from these core members, there are various other earn partners.
A slight downside to the program is that while most retailers earn points at the rate of 1 per dollar, the earn rate steps down at Coles Express, to 1 point for each $2 of spend.
Coles Flybuys points can be converted to Etihad Guest Points. This is done at a rate of 10,000 Flybuys points to 4,000 Etihad Guest points.
This is comparatively less value that the Qantas equivalent, where those 10,000 points would net 4,350 points. Having said that, there is not much in it.
By foregoing the discount that the points could be used for, the Etihad Guest points are costing 1.25 cents each.
One other aspect of the Flybuys tie up with Etihad Guest, is that you can earn tier miles through flybuys. This can give your task of gaining status in Etihad Guest a little easier. Woolworths and Qantas do not have a similar offer available.
This quick skim across the top of the programs suggests that there is little difference in potential between the two programs. Effectively, either way there is an earn of less that 0.5 of a frequent flyer points per dollar spend in either store. An avid points collector would probably be using a credit card for this spend that yields far more points. Nevertheless, groceries do need to be bought, so the points are useful as a topping up.
The big points earning in flybuys comes from its various promotions. While Woolworths is promising promotions going forward, they have not yet shown their hand on that front.
Promotions aside, either way you end up forgoing a discount on your shopping in return for earning points in an airline program. It is not entirely a clear cut decision whether this is worthwhile, and can be affected by the value you can get for the points.