01.New Flybuys lifts off
New Flybuys cards will be landing in mailboxes this Monday after Coles revamped its customer loyalty program. The retail giant is aiming to entice customers in the fiercely competitive supermarket industry.
So is it worthwhile?
“The biggest threat to consumers from loyalty programs like this is that it can pervert shopping behaviour,” say CHOICE spokesperson Ingrid Just. “Regardless of the points you might earn, you’re always better off looking for the best deal rather ‘shopping for rewards’.”
The Flybuys cards will continue to have no fees, and now there is also no expiry date on points. From Monday you will earn one point for every dollar spent, with the value of a point being around half a cent. In fact, this makes the Flybuys program comparable to many credit card rewards schemes in terms of value, once the additional costs of a credit card are factored in, such as an annual fee.
Perhaps the most value on offer is with the accompanying ‘my5’ program, which allows consumers to select five items from a list of around 5000 products that will receive an ongoing 10% discount. The discount will be applied on top of any existing special offer.
“By choosing items that are higher in value and that you purchase regularly, there is a chance for consumers to make a small saving. For the sake of a weekly bill, the savings are likely to be small, but over a year the amount you can save will add up,” say Just.
Coles own data-crunching suggests the average family can save $200 a year under the new Flybuys. The assumptions are consistent with market research CHOICE has conducted in the past, but even so, that still only equates $3.84 per week. While it’s fine to use loyalty programs when you have the chance, that’s why we encourage consumers to keep shopping around to achieve the most savings on their weekly bill.
It’s also important to be aware that Coles and potentially other loyalty programs may record your data, including what you purchase and how frequently you shop. If you’re not comfortable giving away that information, consider whether it is worthwhile signing up to Flybuys.