Flybuys (Australia)

Flybuys is an Australian customer loyalty program equally owned by the Coles Group and Wesfarmers through joint venture Loyalty Pacific.[1] Members can accrue points by shopping at Coles Group brands (Coles Supermarkets, Coles Express, Liquorland, etc.), certain Wesfarmers brands (Kmart, Target, Bunnings Warehouse, Officeworks, catch.com.au, Kleenheat, etc.), and some third-party partners like HCF Insurance and Optus.[2] Points can then be redeemed for money off purchases at Coles Supermarkets, Kmart, and Target stores (2,000 points gives an A$10 discount), as well as holidays (through Flybuys Travel) and household goods (from the Flybuys Rewards Store).[3]

Flybuys
Flybuys (Australia) logo.svg
TypeLoyalty program
Run byLoyalty Pacific
Owner
Area severedAustralia
Introduced1994; 28 years ago (1994)
Number of users8.6 million
Accrual partners
TaglineGive a Flybuys. Take more.
Websiteflybuys.com.au

It is one of Australia's largest loyalty programs, with 8.6 million members in 6.6 million households.[1][4] Fifteen Flybuys cards are scanned every second on average in Australia.[5]

HistoryEdit

Flybuys began in 1994 as a joint venture of Shell, Coles Myer and National Australia Bank. The program met with substantial interest at launch, with a million Australian households joining within the first six weeks.[6]

Telecom Australia (now Telstra) joined the program in 1995 but withdrew after two years, having created the Telstra Visa Card with ANZ (later to become the ANZ Qantas Telstra Visa Card). In April 2012, Telstra rejoined Flybuys with points being offered for pre-paid services.[7]

In 1996, Loyalty Pacific licensed the brand to a consortium in New Zealand, which began to operate a similar program, also called Flybuys.

In 1998, major changes were made to the program. The offer to members was diluted because the points currency was devalued to increase points required for rewards 20-fold (from a minimum 550 points to 11,000), but the issuing of standard points only increased fourfold (from 1 point for $20 to 1 point for $5). At the same time, Shell relinquished its one-third ownership of the program, although that was unnoticed by members as Shell continued to issue points through its company-owned service station network.

 
The three generations of flybuys cards. Top: 1994–2003. Middle: 2003–2012. Bottom: 2012–present

In 2003, the program was revamped, with the offer improved for members, with the issuing of standard points at participating Coles Group brands increased to 2 points for $5. That change was accompanied by revised branding and a minor name change from “Fly Buys” to “FlyBuys”.

In December 2006, Loyalty Pacific was cited as a potential purchaser of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.[8]

In February 2011, Coles acquired National Australia Bank's 50 per cent interest in Flybuys, with NAB remaining as a major participant in the program.[9]

In April 2012, Coles announced a substantial relaunch of the program, with the issuing of points for major brands increasing to 1 point for $1, and AGL, Telstra and Webjet became new partners. Points no longer expired if members used their card or redeemed points at least once a year. New cards were sent to over 8 million households in Australia. At the same time, a new benefit was introduced, under which Flybuys members could obtain a 10% discount off five product categories of their choice.[10][11]

A consumer study of Australian loyalty programs in 2013 showed that Flybuys was easily the most popular program in Australia.[12]

In April 2018, Wesfarmers stated it would be demerging the Coles business, but it retained a substantial ownership stake in Flybuys.[13]

In November 2018, Wesfarmers and Coles announced the appointment of John Merakovsky as chief executive officer of Flybuys.[14]

Collecting pointsEdit

Flybuys points collection is directed largely at regular consumer purchases, and most points are issued by major Coles and Wesfarmers brands – food (Coles Supermarkets), fuel (Coles Express), discount department stores (Kmart, K Hub, Target and catch.com.au), and liquor (Liquorland and 1st Choice). Coles also offers points for members who take up Coles car or home insurance.

Additional points can be collected from transactions on the Coles MasterCard (issued by Citibank) or selected NAB credit cards, if they have been "linked" to a Flybuys membership. In some circumstances, that allows for one transaction to gain points from two sources: e.g. if a member pays for grocery purchases at Coles Supermarkets with a NAB credit card, both Coles and NAB would issue points for the one transaction.

Other brands which participate, but are not associated with the owners of Flybuys, include AGL, Optus, Budget Rent a Car and HCF.

In October 2012, Flybuys created the Flybuys Toolbar in conjunction with Yahoo!7, enabling members to collect points from their web searches.

In July 2013, Australia's largest health insurer Medibank joined Flybuys, but left in 2019.[15]

In November 2021, it was announced that Bunnings Warehouse would be joining the program for the first time, and that Officeworks would be re-joining.[16]

In most cases points accrue at the rate of 1 for every $1 spent. The participating retailers also issue additional bonus points on a promotional basis. As noted above, points do not expire provided the card is used (or points redeemed) at least once per year.

Former participants in Flybuys include Myer (which withdrew in 2007 after being sold by Coles Group in June 2006),[17] EziBuy (which purchased a former Coles Myer brand, Myer Direct), Michael Hill Jeweller, Elders Real Estate and Curves. Others such as Red Rooster and Katies were businesses divested by then Coles Myer. Traveland, Pulse Energy and Solar Shop are now-defunct businesses which were once Flybuys participants, while Megamart, BI-LO, BI-LO Mega Frrresh, Kmart Tyre & Auto Service (now Mycar), Target Country, Baby Target, Target Home, Fossey's, Grace Bros., Newmart, Sports Direct, Primary Layers, South Cape and Gifts To Go were Coles Myer/Coles Group brands that have been discontinued. Officeworks (though also owned by Wesfarmers and will be rejoining in time for Christmas) and Harris Technology withdrew in 2009.[18][19]

Redemption of pointsEdit

Initially, Flybuys points could only be redeemed for flights. In 1996, that was extended to include other benefits with a travel or leisure theme, such as accommodation, meals and entertainment. In 1999, redemption with a $100 Coles Myer shopping voucher was introduced, and general merchandise items followed. In 2009, most redemptions were gift cards or credits to credit card balances, with only a small proportion of redemptions being for flights.[20] According to Flybuys, as of 2010, over ten million rewards had been redeemed by members and there were over 800 choices.[21][22] In 2012, "Flybuys Dollars" was introduced, allowing members to redeem points when paying for purchases at Coles, Kmart, Target, Liquorland, First Choice Liquor and Coles Express.[10]They do run discount on Apple gift card across time. They provide 20x or 30x on flybuy points, which is equivalent to 10% in terms of dollar value.[23]

Unpacked by FlybuysEdit

On 29 September 2020, Flybuys launched its data platform, Unpacked by Flybuys.[24]

CriticismEdit

Flybuys has been criticised regarding the effort required to collect enough points to gain a reward.[25] For many years, no rewards were available for fewer than 11,000 points, leading critics to claim that $55,000 was required to be spent to gain a reward with a value of around $100. However, since 2006, awards have been available from 2,500 points, and it is now as low as 1,200 points (streaming new release movies).[26][27]

Flybuys also attracted concerns regarding privacy of information, and the ability for the operators to track members’ shopping habits.[28] In 1994, Flybuys adopted a privacy policy based on OECD principles[29] under which it advised members that it might use personal information, such as name, age, gender, employment status and age of family members, "for marketing, planning, product development, research, Flybuys account administration and fraud and crime prevention and investigation." Flybuys varied this policy in 2006 to enable information to be passed to Coles Group and National Australia Bank, the owners of the program, unless directed otherwise by members.[30] In 2009, Flybuys' responsible privacy practices were recognised with the conferring of an Australian Privacy Award.[29]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Mitchell, Sue (3 September 2019). "Wesfarmers, Coles pump $19m into FlyBuys". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  2. ^ "Partners". Flybuys. Retrieved 8 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "Take more rewards". Flybuys. Retrieved 8 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Mitchell, Sue (29 September 2020). "Flybuys unpacks new data division". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  5. ^ "About us". Unpacked by Flybuys. Retrieved 8 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Butler C, Weill P (1995). "Come Fly with us: Fly Buys". Melbourne Business School. Retrieved 10 January 2007. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Adams, Nick (2012). "Telstra customers rewarded under new flybuys program". Sensis. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  8. ^ Lekakis, George (29 December 2006). "Qantas bidder options open". Melbourne Herald Sun. Retrieved 20 June 2007.
  9. ^ "Coles buys out FlyBuys". Inside Retailing. 16 February 2011. Archived from the original on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Coles opens new front in supermarket wars". Sydney Morning Herald. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  11. ^ "Coles supercharges flybuys - media release" (PDF). Coles. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  12. ^ "And the best loyalty program goes to... Coles". B & T. 20 May 2013. Archived from the original on 9 June 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  13. ^ "Wesfarmers outlines demerger plans to spin off Coles into separate company". Smart Company. 16 March 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  14. ^ Group, Diviv. "Appointment of flybuys Chief Executive Officer". www.wesfarmers.com.au. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Health fund offers financial carrot to get Australians eating their fruit and veg". Daily Telegraph. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Earn Flybuys points at iconic stores". The West Australian. 9 November 2021. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  17. ^ Ife, Holly (6 November 2006). "Bank happy with revamped loyalty scheme". Herald Sun. Retrieved 10 January 2007.
  18. ^ "Officeworks". AusBusiness Review.
  19. ^ "Harris Technology". AusBusiness Review.
  20. ^ "Coles goes cold on frequent flyer scheme". The Age, Melbourne. 13 May 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2009.
  21. ^ "Fast Facts" (PDF). FlyBuys. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  22. ^ "Frequently asked questions - Rewards". FlyBuys. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  23. ^ "Best Apple Deal in Australia". Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  24. ^ Page, Roselyn (29 September 2021). "New data platform Unpacked by Flybuys launches". CMO Australia. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  25. ^ "$55,000 gets you a free frying pan". The Sun-Herald. 17 February 2005. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  26. ^ https://www.flybuys.com.au/rewards#/travel-fun/movie-vouchers/DBFL. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "Rewards Deals Miss The Point". The Courier Mail. 16 December 2006. Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2007.
  28. ^ "How to protect yourself from telemarketers in Australia". Retrieved 10 January 2007.
  29. ^ a b "FlyBuys' privacy protections recognised in Privacy Awards". Australian Privacy Commissioner. 12 November 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
  30. ^ "FlyBuys Privacy Policy". Retrieved 10 January 2007.

External linksEdit