Over ten million people in Australia use the flybuys program to earn points but if your points strategy only involves scanning your card at the register, you may not be maximising your points earning.
In this guide, we run through the basics of how to maximise the flybuys points you earn on your everyday shopping, as well as additional ways to earn more flybuys points.
Competitions and partner promotions
Occasionally, flybuys will offer one-off promotions and competitions. These are generally open to all flybuys members (and the general public since membership is free).
At the moment, you can earn up to 70,000 flybuys points for new memberships with Medibank until 30 April 2017.
At the lower end of the scale, you’ll earn 10,000 points for a Singles Extras Only policy, increasing to the maximum 70,000 bonus points for taking out a Family, Couples & Single Parents Hospital and Extras policy.
Note that you have to have the policy for at least six months before the bonus points credit.
You need to make sure that you quote promo code flybuys when you join online, on the phone or in-store.
Plus, once you’ve linked your flybuys and Medibank accounts, you will earn triple flybuys points on fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables.
Finally, be a Medibank member and link your fitbit or Garmin device to flybuys to collect 10 points for each day you reach 10,000 steps. Depending on your Medibank policy type, you may be eligible to link up to four Activity Tracking Device to the one flybuys account.
Keep in mind that flybuys is not the only one offering points on health insurance, and these deals need to be assessed with your own personal circumstances in mind.
Earning at the register
Scanning your flybuys card at the register at Coles supermarkets when you make purchases is the first step to earning points.
You’re probably aware that you’ll earn 1 point per $1 spent at Coles, Kmart and Target, but there are a number of other stores that will also accept flybuys at the register:
- Coles Express: 1 point per $2
- First Choice Liquor: 1 point per $
- Liquorland: 1 point per $
- Budget: 3 points per $
Of course, Coles are the primary way in which most people will earn flybuys points, and they will also let you earn flybuys when you shop through Coles Online.
If you haven’t tried it before, you can sign up here and get free delivery on your first order of $100 or more.
Coles also offer some additional earning opportunities. Some specific items will score you bonus points, but at the moment these are few and far between.
Vegemite previously on offer with bonus flybuys points at Coles
Use Coles Docket Deals for bonus flybuys
There is another reason to hold onto your Coles dockets, apart from the fuel discounts.
‘Docket Deals’ can give you the opportunity to earn quick bonus points on future shops. They will usually offer you a number of bonus points to tempt you to spend a little more on your next shop.
So you should keep a particular eye out for them if you ever head out for just a few items because the amount you need to spend to redeem the offer next time will be quite low.
A docket deal from when I spent about $35, offering a bonus 500 points if I spend $40.
The downside of Docket Deals are that you need to take the physical docket with you and scan it. There is no way to link them up or store them on your card.
You can also only use one Docket Deal each time you shop, but you can use it in combination with other online/email offers (below).
They generally expire after about 10 days, but they can be much shorter.
Emails and online offers
Flybuys tries very hard to keep its members engaged online, offering special deals and promotions by email but also through their website portal.
Bonus offers are tailored to you based on your spending habits and come in a range of different forms. The most common varieties are:
- Multiplying your points earn at a particular retailer – These will regularly be offered for common retailers (e.g. Target) and can be as high as 5x.
- Giving you bonus points for making a purchase – These will usually be for uncommon retailers or ones that you don’t normally shop at. They may have minimum spends attached or not.
- Large bonuses if you meet a spending target for 4 weeks in a row – This is to get you to either spend more at Coles, or make more consistent purchases at Coles.
Large bonuses will regularly be offered to try get you to change your spending pattern
Unlike docket deals, these online promotions are easier to manage since they are linked to your flybuys card. The biggest downside to redeeming them however is that, you still need to ‘activate’ them by logging onto flybuys and clicking the activate button.
There is no limit to how many offers you can activate, so the purpose of this is to keep you engaged with flybuys and encourage you to make more purchases
Manipulating flybuys offers at Coles to your advantage
flybuys are known for being very strategic and targeted with the offers they give to different members. They are constantly trying to increase the amount and frequency you spend at Coles, using flybuys points as temptation to draw you into store and to keep spending.
You’ll almost certainly find that if you spend more than you usually would for few weeks running, your flybuys offer terms will change, with an increase in the minimum spend criteria needed to trigger bonuses.
Ultimately, if flybuys sees an increase or decrease in spend at Coles in your flybuys account, their systems tailor bonus offers in your account accordingly.
There are two approaches you can use to work within this system, rather than be taken advantage of.
The first option is to use multiple flybuys accounts in your household.
flybuys lets you set up linked account holders within the same account, or run multiple accounts for different cardholders each with their own balance.
The advantage of linked cardholders: multiple cardholders able to spend toward account offers, and a single combined balance of flybuys points that can be used or transferred to partners.
If you instead run a couple of independent flybuys accounts in your household, you’ll have two points balances but will be able to switch your spend between flybuys accounts as you see fit.
The second option is to flip flop between Coles and other supermarkets for your groceries
This has the same effect as running multiple accounts – you’ll reduce the overall spend on your flybuys account, which should trigger more achievable points bonus offers.
We don’t have any insider knowledge on the flybuys system and how these offers are generated, so this is all speculation informed by our personal experiences and readers reports on their experiences. Your mileage may vary, but it shouldn’t hurt to experiment.
There’s no perfect option – each has their own drawbacks.
flybuys partners and Coles Financial Services
Shopping at Coles is by no means the only way to increase your flybuys balance.
In addition to the main retail partners, flybuys also has a number of other partners including Telstra, NAB and AGL.
Each partner offers different earning opportunities with some being more attractive than others. We’ve previously covered the AGL offer which is one of the more interesting ones.
One of the best options for increasing your flybuys earning is using products offered by Coles Financial Services. There are quite a few options here and we’ll cover them in future guides.
You can see all 29 partners and their offers here.
Occasionally, flybuys will invite you to complete a feedback survey in exchange for 50 flybuys points.
This is a big decrease since they used to offer 250 points for the same surveys, but now you also go into the draw to win $100 voucher.
Scanning your card at the checkout is just a starting point — there are plenty of opportunities to maximise your flybuys points earn through online or docket deals.
Docket deals offer small quick boosts to your points balance, while online deals will generally try to entice you into shopping with new retailers, or ones you don’t visit regularly.
The most common online offer is one that encourages you to consistently make your largest purchase at Coles (based on your purchase history).
The biggest downsides are that you have to regularly engage with flybuys to get the most of it. It doesn’t lend itself to a set-and-forget approach, so if you’re going to try and maximise your points by tactical spending and points promotion, be prepared to sink a little time into this.
This can all be quite a drawback if, like me, you take a minimalist approach to your wallet and inbox – but I’ve found the points earned, so far, have paid off.