Savvy shopper: maximising Coles, Woolworths frequent flyer points

Savvy shopper: maximising Coles, Woolworths frequent flyer points

You don't need to fly to earn frequent flyer points – both supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths let you earn airline points at the checkout: choose between Virgin Australia Velocity points via Coles Flybuys, and Qantas points through Woolworths Rewards.

Let's be upfront about this: you won't be flying anywhere in a hurry on these 'shopping points' alone.

You typically earn one Coles Flybuy or Woolworths Rewards points for each dollar you spend, and once you have 2,000 of those points you can convert them into 870 Velocity or Qantas Points.

That meagre 'exchange rate' means you'd have to spend around $18,000 on grocery shopping to get enough points for a 'free' one-way flight between Sydney and Melbourne – the same flight that could be bought with cash for around $150 from the airline or a travel agent.

So why bother collecting them at all? Because they're a great way to keep topping up your frequent flyer account using money you'd already be spending, slowly and steadily building up that points balance.

With that in mind, here's how you can maximise your haul via the Woolworths Rewards and Coles Flybuys schemes.

1. Scan your card with every purchase, no matter how small

It should go without saying, but we're going to say it anyway because old habits die hard.

Once upon a time you had to spend $30 at Woolworths or $5 at Coles to earn loyalty points.

But those days are gone, and both chains now award points on every single dollar spent right from the get-go – so always carry your membership card and scan it before you pay.

What's more, Coles also awards Virgin Australia status credits based on your total combined monthly spend too, with one status credit appearing in your account for every $100 spent at Coles, up to a maximum of 10 status credits per calendar month.

So, whether it’s your weekly shop or just a small basket, remember that over a long period of time, even small amounts here and there really can add up.

2. Check your receipt, email inbox and letterbox for bonus offers

Another benefit of always scanning your card is that you’ll sometimes receive targeted offers or news about bonus points deals relevant to you, which can also help boost your balance.

For instance, Woolworths Rewards frequently offers double points on various types of purchases such as fresh fruit and vegetables, while Coles Flybuys often serves up triple points offers on an entire shop of your choice, or a fixed number of bonus points in return for spending a certain amount.

If these or other deals come your way, make sure you activate that offer (when received by email) or retain the coupon barcode (when found on a printed supermarket receipt) and scan its barcode at the register when making your qualifying shop.

Particularly with Coles Flybuys, you'll also want to make sure that you have an up-to-date postal address on file, as Coles periodically sends out coupons for bonus points via 'snail mail'.

3. Share your account with a partner or spouse to earn points faster

Another easy way to maximise your supermarket points is to share a Woolworths Rewards or Flybuys account with your partner or spouse – that way, all the points you earn appear together in the one account, rather than juggling two accounts, each with its own (lower) points balance.

Extra cards are free and can be requested online. With Woolworths Rewards, simply login, browse to ‘My Account’, then ‘Cards & Accounts’, then ‘Order a new card’ and finally, choose ‘Additional card’ and fill in the details.

Flybuys adopts a similar process: after logging in online, head to ‘My Account’, then ‘Members and Cards’, then ‘Add a new member’ and complete the details and choose your preferred card design.

Allow a couple of weeks for these cards to arrive at the address stored in your profile, and once they’re in your partner’s wallet, your points will be pooled together regardless of who does the shopping each week.

4. Keep your eyes peeled for special deals, both in-store and online

Now that you’re in the habit of scanning your card with every purchase, keep an eye out for special deals that can deliver even more points into your supermarket account, or which can boost the value of the points you’ve already earned.

For example, this writer recently spotted an offer of 70 bonus Flybuys points when buying Vegemite at Coles, and a higher offer of 2,000 Flybuys points when spending $50 or more on third-party gift cards, such as with Apple iTunes.

Offers aren’t confined to the shelves, either – from time to time, Flybuys also serves up a 15% bonus when converting your Flybuys points into Velocity points, making 2,000 Flybuys points equal to 1,000 Velocity points as opposed to 870 Velocity points on a 'normal' day.

5. Use the right credit card at the checkout

Along with scanning your Woolworths Rewards or Flybuys card to earn frequent flyer points directly from the supermarket itself, paying for your purchases using the right credit card can supercharge your frequent flyer points haul.

For instance, whip out an American Express Platinum Edge Card and you could also earn up to three Membership Rewards Ascent points per dollar spent: that's equal to three frequent flyer points with Virgin Australia, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines and more.

Or, use either the David Jones American Express Card or the David Jones Platinum American Express Card to reel in three David Jones Membership Rewards points per dollar on your supermarket spend, equal to 1.5 frequent flyer points with Virgin Australia and others.

There's also the option of earning Qantas Frequent Flyer points via both DJs cards, sent directly to your Qantas account every month. Choosing this option boosts your bounty to 2.25 Qantas Points per dollar on your shopping trolley, atop any points earned via Woolworths Rewards or Flybuys.

Another solid option is the Diners Club personal charge card, serving up three Diners Club Rewards points per dollar spent, equal to two Velocity points. Coles and Woolworths accept both American Express and Diners Club without a surcharge or minimum transaction amount, so you won't be paying more to earn more points either!

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin (ChrisCh)

[email protected] / @ChamberlinChris

Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!


  • dscorpcom10


    26 Oct, 2016 11:41 am

    Can you use Coles cash cards towards accumulating Status credits?
    Member who gave thanks

    1 guest

  • Stefan

    Too Technical

    29 Oct, 2016 10:44 am

    No... You can only fly to earn status credits
    Member who gave thanks


  • Edwin Taylor


    27 Mar, 2017 09:45 pm

    I have earnt 6 Status credits so far with Coles using my Amex and flybuys.  There is a limit to how many you can earn just by shopping at Coles though.
    No member give thanks

  • Flying Gnome

    Flying Gnome

    26 Oct, 2016 12:26 pm

    I am a very small grocery shopper and I find it better not to swipe my card for small shops. My G/F spends an average $100 a week at Coles. She will get an email saying spend $200 each week for 3 weeks for 5000 points. I am in the middle of a $60 a week for 3 weeks for 8000 points. I have enough razor blades to last a few years.   
    No member give thanks

  • travelalot


    26 Oct, 2016 09:07 pm

    Helpful article. Thanks;)
    Member who gave thanks

    1 guest

  • Nalin Wickramasinghe


    28 Oct, 2016 04:31 pm

    yes, every $100 at Coles = 1 Velocity status credit, capped at 10/mth
    No member give thanks

  • S


    18 Mar, 2017 12:04 pm

    These are super handy for topups atm. I recently completed the promo of spending $50 a week at Coles for a month for 10,000pts. Was pretty easy seeing as my weekly shop at Coles is about $100.
    There's always pretty good offers going
    No member give thanks

  • petercr


    18 Mar, 2017 12:22 pm

    If you have Flybuys and Medibank and you link them you get 3pts for every $ you spend on fresh or frozen vegetables at Coles... 
    No member give thanks

  • markl


    18 Mar, 2017 12:59 pm

    Link Fitbit/Medibank and get 10 Flybuys points for every 10,000 step days
    No member give thanks

  • petercr


    18 Mar, 2017 01:52 pm

    Buggered if I could work out how to do that.. the pages just seem to go round in a loop. Rang Flybuys and they told me to contact Medibank, Medibank didn't see to have a clue...
    No member give thanks

  • markl


    18 Mar, 2017 02:49 pm

    It felt that like that for me as well when tyring. A day or 2 later it was linked. Figure it must have to be vetted through both Medibank and Fitbit systems before linking.
    No member give thanks

  • petercr


    18 Mar, 2017 12:24 pm

    And fresh fruit as well
    No member give thanks

  • Chris_PER


    20 Mar, 2017 12:03 pm

    As said, these are small top-ups, but if you link every possible way with credit cards, flybuys, private medical insurance, various rentals etc, then these can actually accrue surprisingly quick, without barely changing your spending habits.
    No member give thanks


24 May, 2018 06:38 am

Receive 55,000 Bonus Qantas Points
The Qantas American Express Ultimate Card

Receive 55,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $3,000 on your new Card within the first 3 months. 

Apply Now
  • Receive 55,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $3,000 on your new Card within the first 3 months. This offer is available to new Card Members, as well as Bank-issued American Express companion cardholders
  • $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year. Use your Qantas Travel Credit for eligible international or domestic Qantas flights when you book and pay online at American Express Travel.
  • 2 American Express Airport Lounge entries each calendar year
  • 2 Qantas Club lounge invitations each year
  • Up to 44 Interest-free days and 20.74% p.a. interest rate on purchases
  • Get rewarded with up to 2.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent. There’s no cap on the amount of Qantas Points you can earn, plus American Express will transfer your points straight to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account each month
  • Earn 1.5 Qantas Points for every $1 spent on Card purchases, except spend at government bodies in Australia where you will earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent
  • Receive complimentary Qantas epiQure Premium Membership. This allows you to enjoy gourmet food, exceptional wines and exclusive access to food and wine events around Australia. 

Forgot Password

If you’ve forgotten your password, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email to re-activate your account and enter a new password.