Let's be honest: when you're thinking about great frequent flyer-earning credit cards, the words 'Coles' and 'flybuys' probably don't come to mind: but thanks to the chain's recent tie-ups with Virgin Australia Velocity and Etihad Guest, Coles' Rewards cards shouldn't be overlooked.
For example, take a peek at the Coles Rewards Mastercard: only $89/year and which has no international transaction fees, no limit on the points you can earn and which delivers the equivalent of up to 0.87 frequent flyer points per dollar spent.
Be approved for a credit limit of $6,000 or more and you'll instead receive the Coles Rewards Platinum Mastercard: identical to the non-Platinum variant in fees and points, but with Merchandise Protection Insurance and concierge assistance included at no extra cost.
In either case, if you're approved by June 30 2017, 20,000 flybuys bonus points are on the table as a special offer for Australian Business Traveller readers who make a purchase within the first 30 days.
Coles Rewards & Platinum Rewards Mastercards: fast facts
- Grade/tier: Standard or Platinum
- Card type: Mastercard
- Loyalty program: flybuys
- flybuys points earned per $1 spent: 2.0
- flybuys frequent flyer partners: Virgin Australia Velocity, Etihad Guest
- 2 flybuys points ($1 spent) = 0.87 Velocity points, 0.8 Etihad Guest miles (manual transfer in bulk)
- Points transfers: Convert to Velocity in increments of 2,000 flybuys points (870 Velocity points) and to Etihad in increments of 10,000 flybuys points (4,000 Etihad Guest miles)
- Points capping: Uncapped earning, but conversions to Velocity are limited to 138,000 flybuys points (60,030 Velocity points) per calendar year. No cap on transfers to Etihad Guest.
Fees, charges and interest: 5/5
- Annual fee: $89 (Standard and Platinum)
- Additional/supplementary cardholder fee: $0
- Interest rate on purchases: 19.99% p.a.
- Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 62
- Interest rate on cash advances: 19.99% p.a.
- International transaction fee: None
- Minimum income requirement: $25,000/year
- Minimum credit limit: $500 (Standard), $6,000 (Platinum)
Earning points for free flights: 4.5/5
With flybuys points converting to Velocity at a 2,000=870 ratio, you could swap 18,000 flybuys points for 7,830 Velocity points – enough to book a one-way Sydney-Melbourne economy flight, plus a small payment to cover taxes and surcharges (usually around $20).
Another path is via Etihad Guest with the same flight bookable for 6,900 Etihad miles, equal to 17,250 flybuys points, but with these instead converting in increments of 10,000, you'd have to sweep across a solid 20,000 flybuys points (=8,000 Etihad miles) to get across the line.
While there's no limit on how many flybuys points you can earn, note that transfers to Velocity are limited to 138,000 flybuys points (60,030 Velocity points) per calendar year. No maximum transfer limits apply with Etihad Guest, however.
New customers who apply online for the Coles Rewards or Coles Rewards Platinum Mastercard before June 30 2017, enter promotion code ‘PROMO3’ during the application process and make a purchase (as opposed to a cash advance) within 30 days of card approval will also fetch 20,000 flybuys bonus points within two weeks of that first purchase as part of a special offer for Australian Business Traveller readers.
That’s equal to 8,700 Velocity points or 8,000 Etihad Guest miles: both of which are enough to book that near-free Sydney-Melbourne flight.
Don't fancy flying anywhere? 2,000 flybuys points – earned from every $1,000 spent on the card – can also be converted into a $10 voucher for use at Coles and co. Spend at least $9,000 a year and the card literally pays for itself.
Whichever you choose, you'll pay no international transaction fees when travelling abroad or using either Coles Rewards card to shop online with overseas retailers.
Shopping benefits with Coles
These Coles Rewards credit cards double as both a Mastercard on the front and your flybuys loyalty card on the back, so you won't need to carry both: just scan the flybuys side before paying at participating stores to maximise your points.
Cardholders also receive free delivery from Coles Online when spending $100 or more in a single purchase and paying using their Coles Rewards credit card.
Airport lounge access: 0/5
Airport lounge access isn't offered on either Coles Rewards card.
Complimentary insurance benefits: 1/5
If you're issued with a standard Coles Rewards Mastercard, there's no included insurance cover to speak of.
Platinum-level Rewards cardholders instead receive Merchandise Protection Insurance, covering selected items that are purchased using the Coles Rewards Platinum Mastercard and which are subsequently lost, stolen or damaged within 90 days.
Telephone concierge assistance is also offered to Platinum spenders, although other common features like travel insurance and extended warranty cover are absent on both Coles Rewards cards.
Coles Rewards & Platinum Rewards Mastercards: the verdict
With an $89 annual fee, a minimum income threshold of only $25,000/year and credit limits starting at just $500, the Coles Rewards Mastercard is an incredibly accessible and attainable product, regardless of your current financial position or earning power.
You'll also save on fees when travelling abroad with no international transaction charges – and with no cap on how many flybuys points you can earn, you'll be rewarded for each and every dollar you spend.
Speaking of points, the frequent flyer earning rates on these Coles Rewards cards aren't to be sniffed at, delivering a comparable number of frequent flyer points per dollar spent than many higher-priced Visa and Mastercard products issued by the major banks.
For instance, ANZ Rewards Black Visa credit card customers can earn up to 2 ANZ reward points per dollar spent, equal to one Velocity point. However, after the first year a significantly higher annual fee of $375 applies, making the Coles Rewards cards a good balance between points earned and price paid.