Not so pointless points: how to make money out of rewards systems

Aldi don’t do points:
We’ve all seen the Aldi ad. You know the one; where the brainwashed ‘Bliss’ band gives their newest recruit a plastic card, while flatly intoning ‘poiiints’. The implication is clear, points systems are of little value.
With $1 acquiring you 1 point, and 2000 points being worth $10, it would appear on the surface that points systems are little value. This does not take into account bonus points, which can be quite lucrative. If you want to learn how to maximise your rewards points and turn them into decent money, read on.

Photo source:

I want to start off by stating, that yes, Aldi is very cheap and if you shop there and are strict, it will save you a decent amount of money. I have a couple of big issues with Aldi though, and this is more to do with my lack of willpower than anything else.
Firstly, no delivery and Click and Collect, necessary options for a mum of many small children who meal plans and shops online at night after all children are asleep. Secondly, the dreaded Special Buys middle isle. It gets me every. time. I will be planning to stick to a budget, then I’ll see an item at a great price. I didn’t know I need until I spotted it; will suddenly realise I need it, but can’t stop to think about it because it will be gone in a week if I don’t buy it right away. Total at checkout comes to considerably more than I usually spend at Coles because I end up with my groceries, plus a new set of King Bed sheets, a toboggan and 2 snow jackets!  
So I don’t do Aldi. Except this weekend, when I will be popping in for a kid’s snow jacket or two…

The lowdown on points schemes:

Anyway, I digress. Onto points.  

The two supermarkets I shop at are Coles and Woolworths, I nearly always shop Click and Collect as it’s free and I find this much easier than shopping in store and saves me money (because aforementioned lack of willpower when shopping in store). Both supermarkets have their own reward system, Coles has Flybuys and Woolworths has Woolworths Rewards. Both have the same $1 dollar spent = 1 point system. Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of them, maybe you’re even a member, but don’t get much points adding up. Trying to build points up without any bonus points is slow going. Add a bit of tech in and it’s much easier to quickly rack up the points money. I’ll start with a look at Flybuys.

Some sample Flybuys offers from the app: from top left: bonus points on an item I regularly buy, a triple points booster, a 2000 bonus point offer and a recent 4 week spend

I absolutely love Flybuys as I find them very generous with bonus point offers. Flybuys gives you the option of taking $10 off your shop each time you reach 2000 points, or saving up your points balance to be used when you see fit. I save my points up. Points can be used to redeem for items online, to shop at Coles and affiliated stores, to buy gift cards for Coles and affiliated stores, plus more.
Flybuys have a great app you can download, through which you get sent bonus offers. These come in a variety of different forms, bonus point offers on individual items, single spends and 4 week spend offers. They also send out boosters at random a few times a year. Shopping to offers can wind up making quite a bit in points.
For example; a single spend 6000 point offer might be sent out at the same time as a triple point booster and a 400 bonus point offer on a single item, eg. mince. Just say I spend $200 in this shop. This is 600+6000+400= 7000 points ($35). So I made $35 in one shop, just buying the things I ordinarily buy and activating offers.

Top Tip:
Bonus points offers are randomly distributed, so some people tend to do better out of them than others, but there are ways to improve your offers. Here is the best tip I learned for maximising points. Flybuys allow each person to get their own account, there is no limit per household. I have a card with my husband as a secondary cardholder, and he has a card with me as a secondary cardholder. This way, if my account isn’t getting any offers, his account is; so I can just switch between Flybuys accounts depending on which account has a good offer.
Another major benefit of switching between accounts is that it keeps the spend amount down. Bonus point offers always have a minimum spend amount, this amount is based off your usual spend. Flybuys tends to go with the higher amounts you have spent, so if you regularly do big $300 grocery shops, your offers will be for $300. By switching between accounts, you lower the spend amount.
Recently, both of our accounts had good offers, we were both sent 50,000 points bonus offers for a 4 week spend. The spend amounts were low enough, so I split my grocery shop into two and picked up both 10,000 point offers, that’s $100 easy money.
Splitting my shop also prevents me getting bonus point offers for higher amounts, which means I can utilise the lower amount offers more often, and prevents my future spend amounts on offers from being high.
The higher bonus point single-spend bonus offers don’t come out all the time, so when they do I tend to take advantage of them to stockpile long life items and things I use often, like nappies, wipes and laundry detergent.

Left to right: my most recent spend earned me some good points bonuses on family taco night, plus more bonus points on that shop that didn’t fit in the screenshot. Middle photo of the 10,000 bonus point spend being awarded (with other add ons I made $70 on one account alone that week) and my Coles Black MasterCard points. I run all my expenses through this card and earn an average of $10 a week in points.

Coles Credit Card for boosting points:
The Coles Platinum Rewards MasterCard gives 2 Flybuys points for every dollar spent and 3 points at Coles and affiliated retailers. Just by running my expenses through this card, I make around $10 a week, which adds up to over $500 over the course of the year. Even factoring in the $99 annual fee it’s a good earner, just from paying my usual bills and expenses through the card.
A bit of a warning with this one though; a credit card is only going to be beneficial if it’s paid off in full before the due date. If you’re paying interest, it will wipe out the benefit earned by points. So I’d only recommend doing this is you can pay your credit card out in full. Credit cards can be used to benefit you, but they can also be a debt trap, so it’s a very personal decision as to whether this is a feasible way to boost your points.
Coles have a range of financial products that earn points, such as home and car insurance, utilities (AGL) and health insurance (Medibank) so if you are looking for insurance or a utility provider this is another way you can boost your points.
Flybuys do offer bonus point deals for fuel at their servos, but use a fuel comparison app to check for price as I find Coles fuel much more expensive than any other service stations where I live, so this offer is rarely worth the points.
This brings me to Woolies Rewards.

Woolworths Rewards:
Woolies Rewards is similar to Flybuys, giving you the option of $10 off every 2000 points like Flybuys do, or banking your points for Christmas. I bank for Christmas. The money becomes available around the start of December; however, you can change your setup to money off shop at any time. Like Flybuys, each person in a household can have their own card, however I only have one account with Woolworths Rewards. Woolies Rewards does not have an app like Flybuys do, their offers come via email. They do similar offers to Flybuys, offering bonus points on certain products, 4 week spends and single spend bonuses. Personally, I don’t get anywhere near as many offers from Woolies Rewards as I do from Flybuys, but every now and then there is a really good offer. One great offer I got a couple of months ago was a 4 week spend worth 15,000 points ($75).
One things Woolies Rewards do which Flybuys don’t is offer bonus points for cumulative spends in a week. So you can get bonus points if you spend a certain amount in as many shops as you like for a week, instead of having to spend it in one shop. I find this great as we often do quick mid-week trips to the supermarket for top-ups such as more bread/milk/fruit. This way the points from small shops count towards the weekly spend amount.

If you’re wanting money off your shop at Woolies, sign up to Cash Rewards, where you can buy Wish eGift cards at 5% off to use at Woolworths and affiliates.  I use eGift cards for the 5% discount off groceries, alcohol (at BWS) and fuel.

A recent Woolies Rewards group offer I received. I get a few from Big W and BWS. I activate all of them, but only use them if I was already intending to buy something. I used this one as I needed some clothes for my babies.

Don’t spend extra just for points!

One caveat I will add; it’s important not to get sucked into buying things just for points. I don’t buy anything I wouldn’t ordinarily buy just to get the bonus points.
If a single spend bonus points offer is sent to me just after I’ve shopped and I’m not due to shop again, I activate it but don’t use it. I stick within a grocery budget on all spends, I don’t ever go over that budget for points. I’m not loyal to a particular supermarket, I shop where the best offers are and switch it up.

Happy shopping and enjoy your points!

With a bit of savvy activating of bonus point offers and doing your regular shopping, you can turn your standard shop into a good little money-earner. Although it’s only May, I have a good chunk of rewards money banked for Christmas. While you can’t get your rewards money out as cash, you can use it to pay for your December groceries and take your usual money out as cash. Shopping for a family and activating rewards, you can end up with hundreds, sometimes even over a thousand dollars’ worth of points after a year of banking points.

Not so pointless for just doing your regular shop and spending nothing extra!

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