Etihad, Coles Flybuys unveil points partnership

By David Flynn, October 21 2015
Etihad, Coles Flybuys unveil points partnership

A new alliance between Etihad Airways and the Coles Flybuys scheme will see shoppers earning not just frequent flyer points with the airline's Etihad Guest program, but also status credits for fast-tracking towards Silver, Gold and Platinum membership and perks.

The deal covers Coles Supermarkets, Coles Online, Coles Express, Liquorland and First Choice Liquor stores.

Here's what you need to know.

Turning Flybuys points into Etihad Guest miles

There's no direct earning of Etihad Guest miles (Etihad's version of Qantas or Virgin Australia points) at the checkout.

However, Flybuys points can be converted into Etihad Guest miles for booking free flights and upgrades.

You'll need 10,000 Flybuys points to convert them into 4,000 Etihad Guest miles, and Flybuys points can be redeemed only in blocks of 10,000.

Earning Etihad status while you shop

This seems to be a world first: collecting not only points but valuable 'status credits' in the form of Etihad Guest Tier Miles through everyday spending.

The earn rate is one Etihad Guest Tier Mile for every dollar spent at FlyBuys outlets, up to a maximum of 2,500 Tier Miles per month.

Given that Etihad Guest Silver requires 25,000 Tier Miles across a 12-month period, you could gain Silver status in ten months at the maximum spend of $2,500 per month – although we're the first to admit that's not the most likely scenario!

The Tier Miles angle is going to be most useful in helping close the gap to retaining your current status if your flying has tapered off.

Note that you need to link your Etihad Guest membership to your Flybuys account (via the Flybuys website) to earn Tier Miles when shopping.

Earning Flybuys points when you fly

There's also the opportunity to collect Flybuys points when booking Etihad Airways flights, at a rate of 1 point per dollar – provided the booking is made through the Flybuys website.

There's an obvious opportunity for some 'triple dipping' here: you can also earn Etihad Guest miles during the flight, as well as funnel your additional Flybuys points into your Etihad Guest miles account.

Etihad/Flybuys launch deals

To kick off the partnership, Etihad Airways is amping up the Flybuys:Tier Miles 'exchange rate' to three Tier Miles for every dollar – capped at a maximum of 5,000 Tier Miles per month – through to December 31st, 2015, instead of the standard mile-per-dollar rate.

Flybuy members can also collect five points per dollar spent on Etihad Airways flights (booked through the Flybuys ‘My Offers’ page) through to December 31st, and snare up to 25 per cent off Etihad Airways business class and economy fares for bookings made by November 3rd for travel until December 4th 2015.

For more information, click through to

Also read: Woolworths rethinks Qantas Frequent Flyer points partnership

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1197

Its a good addition to the FlyBuys product.  Imagine that it would've been a whole lot better for most Australians if it had been a tie-up with VA though.  I thought this was on the cards at one stage but VA tying up with BP seems to indicate that this isn't going to happen any time soon.


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 567

The status credit really undermines velocity, in a good way for the consumer.

You flip all your travel into Etihad, as their partner. Enjoy the perks of your status when travelling with VA and earn SC's when flying and buying a few plain beef sausages from Coles. 

It's an interesting move though. Can only assume at some point discussions were had between Velocity, Coles and relevant partners and they couldn't make music. It was such an obvious partnership.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Dec 2014

Total posts 284

Good addition with the earning of status, really helpful if you miss out by a tiny bit!

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

17 Nov 2014

Total posts 102

I am a little bit disappointed that Flybuys chose to tie up with Etihad rather than Velocity. Etihad only flies to Europe from Australia, so if I am not going to Europe, there's no point to redeem the points or become Elite member of Etihad Airways.


13 Jun 2015

Total posts 141

A good choice to partner Etihad with Flybuys. That way people could earn more points when they shop or fly. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Nov 2011

Total posts 243

Great introductory launch deal especially 25% discount on flight offer. Still would credit the flights to Velocity :)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Oct 2015

Total posts 4

Is it possible to transfer points from Etihad back to Virgin?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Oct 2015

Total posts 3

You can't transfer to Velocity. But you can book reward flights with Virgin using Etihad Guest Miles. To make a reward booking with one of Etihad airline partners, please contact the Etihad Guest Service Centre at least 14 days prior to your intended date of travel. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Oct 2015

Total posts 4

I'm platinum with Virgin - don't mind opening an Etihad account, but not much use if I can't transfer the points back to Virgin :(

Turkish Airlines - Miles & Smiles

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 265

So how do I transfer my FlyBuys points to Etihad? And how does this 10,000 points at a time work? 

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