Flybuys and Flybuys Travel offer a twist on the usual frequent flyer schemes that makes them a useful part of a traveller's toolkit.
Flybuys is a rewards program that's not run by an airline – unlike Qantas and Virgin Australia Velocity, for example – which lets you earns points for purchases at Coles, Liquorland, First Choice Liquor, Budget, Kmart, Target and other retail partners.
Those Flybuys points can then be used to make flights bookings at the Flybuys Travel website, although there's also the option to convert Flybuys points into Velocity Points with Virgin Australia.
Here are the best ways to earn Flybuys points for travel and trade them in for a flight.
Note: at the time of writing, Virgin Australia is in voluntary administration and usage of Velocity Points remains limited, although bookings are once again possible on many popular domestic routes for travel from September 2020.
- What is Flybuys Travel?
- How to join Flybuys
- How to earn Flybuys points at Flybuys Travel
- How to earn Flybuys points at retailers
- Earning Flybuys points with other partners
- How to spend Flybuys points at Flybuys Travel
- How (and why) to convert Flybuys points into Velocity Points
- Using Velocity Points to book reward flights
- Using Velocity Points for business class upgrades
What is Flybuys Travel?
Flybuys Travel is a booking website where you can not only earn Flybuys points when you book with any airline, but also spend your Flybuys points (or use a combination of points and cash) to pay for any flight booked through the website.
If you book a flight, hotel, hire car, holiday package, cruise or other activity through Flybuys Travel using your credit card, you'll earn one Flybuys point per $1 spent – and that's on top of credit card points accumulated from the purchase itself.
How to join Flybuys
Joining Flybuys to collect Flybuys points and spend them at Flybuys Travel is both fast and free.
Go to the flybuys website at flybuys.com.au and click the 'Join Flybuys' button on the top right corner, then enter all the usual details to activate your new Flybuys account.
How to earn Flybuys points at Flybuys Travel
Booking your next adventure through Flybuys Travel serves up an easy reward of 1 Flybuys point per dollar spent at the baseline.
That's a nice start, but regular bonus point offers can send that earning rate soaring: sometimes giving you 10 times as many points. Keep an eye on your inbox, and remember to activate them before booking, if required.
Let's say you were making a $1,000 booking. Normally, that provides 1,000 Flybuys points: but with a 10x offer, that's catapulted to 10,000 Flybuys points.
Of course, these points are earned in addition to any frequent flyer points (and status credits) accrued from the flight itself – and, if you pay for the transaction using a points-earning credit card, that's a third serving of points on the one purchase.
As with any travel bookings made via a third-party agent, just be mindful that if you have to change or cancel those plans, those changes would usually need to be made via the agent, and may attract higher fees than if you booked directly with the airline (or hotel).
This makes Flybuys Travel a better-fit for firm holiday bookings – such as when your annual leave is approved, and travel restrictions aren't in play – rather than for business travel bookings that may change, or for bookings to destinations where travel is currently uncertain.
How to earn Flybuys points at retailers
Flybuys Travel is just one of the ways in which you can earn Flybuys points.
Other popular sources include retailers such as Coles, Kmart, MyCar (formerly Kmart Tyre & Auto), Target, Liquorland and First Choice Liquor, which provide 1 Flybuys point per $1 spent: just scan your Flybuys card or digital membership barcode via the Flybuys app.
You can earn points at Coles Express petrol stations too – beginning with 1 Flybuys point per $2 spent, and up to 8 Flybuys points per litre of fuel if you trade a 4c/L supermarket fuel savings voucher for those extra points.
As well, Flybuys sometimes tempts members with bonus points at various retailers, in return for spending a certain amount or making a particular purchase.
For example, Coles runs a popular promotion where you can nab 10,000 Flybuys points after buying a certain amount of groceries four weeks in a row.
The threshold is targeted to each member based on their past activity and usually ranges from $50 a week to $200 a week.
Tip: If you regularly shop with somebody else, consider maintaining separate Flybuys accounts, rather than linking your cards together under the one profile.
Leave one account untouched for a few months, and you may see more generous bonus point offers – or ones that are easier to achieve – come your way.
Earning Flybuys points with other partners
Flybuys also maintains partnerships with utilities and services such as AGL, HCF and Optus, as well as Coles-branded financial services including insurance, loans and credit cards.
These can all provide a regular source of points, or a one-off bonus hit to keep your balance ticking upwards.
Coles' Mastercard is a great example, as it sometimes offers 100,000 bonus Flybuys points for signing up, against a $99 annual fee. It also earns 2 Flybuys points per $1 spent on everyday purchases, which will keep your Flybuys account ticking along nicely.
You can browse the full list of Flybuys partners here and see what the current bonus offers and standard earn rates are.
By earning Flybuys points at every opportunity – such as at the supermarket, when topping up your tank, paying your energy bill, and of course, making travel bookings through Flybuys Travel – those points can pile up in no time.
How to spend Flybuys points at Flybuys Travel
Just as there are many ways to earn Flybuys points, there are also many ways to spend those points, including to pay for bookings made via Flybuys Travel.
Similar to other online travel agencies, Flybuys Travel lets you make bookings with a variety of airlines, hotels and more – but rather than pulling out a credit card, you can pay using your Flybuys points.
When used at Flybuys Travel, each Flybuys point has a value of 0.5 cents.
For instance, somebody sitting on 100,000 Flybuys points could use those points to book $500 worth of travel. That might sound lucrative, but it's not always the best way.
Let's say you're eyeing off a business class flight from Sydney to Perth. On days where the one-way cash fare is $1,299, you'd need 259,800 Flybuys points to book the journey:
However, Flybuys points can also be converted into Virgin Australia Velocity points, which can be far more rewarding.
How (and why) to convert Flybuys points into Velocity Points
Normally, these conversions take place at the rate of 1 Flybuys point = 0.435 Velocity Points (2,000 Flybuys points = 870 Velocity Points), but Flybuys and Velocity regularly run 15% transfer bonuses, which elevates the conversion rate to a cleaner 1 Flybuys point = 0.5 Velocity points.
Through the Velocity program, a one-way business class ticket from Sydney to Perth normally costs 35,500 Velocity Points, which you'd get from converting 72,000 Flybuys points during a bonus period, or 82,000 Flybuys points at normal times.
Even without a bonus points offer in play, that's still considerably less than the 259,800 Flybuys points needed to book that ticket directly through Flybuys Travel.
You can convert up to 138,000 Flybuys points into Velocity Points every calendar year, except where this cap is waived as can occasionally happen during promotion periods.
As a reminder, the ways in which Velocity Points can be used remains limited, although business class and economy class bookings are once again possible on many popular domestic routes for travel from September 2020, including Sydney to Perth as in the example above.
Using Velocity Points to book reward flights
Once your Flybuys points have been converted into Velocity Points, you can use those points to book flights straight through the Virgin Australia website.
Here, you can see that same Sydney-Perth flight for $1,299, or for 35,500 Velocity Points (plus $30.75 to cover taxes, fees and charges).
Remember, if converted from Flybuys during one of the regular 15% bonus periods, that reward would have come from a starting value of 72,000 Flybuys points.
Spending those same points at Coles – or even online at Flybuys Travel – would net a just $360 cash saving: but when used in this way, they instead cover the vast majority of a $1,299 airfare.
However, one key difference is that reward bookings made via Velocity don't earn points or status credits when taking the flight – whereas points-backed bookings from Flybuys Travel would earn these, as you're effectively using points to purchase a paid seat.
Using Velocity Points for business class upgrades
(At the time of writing, the ability to upgrade Virgin Australia flights with points has not yet been restored. The following details are for reference.)
Rather than booking flights using Velocity Points, you can also use them to upgrade an existing paid ticket, such as a flight booked by your employer or client.
Upgrades start at just 4,900 Velocity Points, depending on the type of fare purchased and the distance travelled.
For example, when converting Flybuys points across to Velocity at normal times, 12,000 Flybuys points could land you enough Velocity Points to upgrade a Sydney-Melbourne hop.
Alternatively, those points would provide $60 off at Coles or on new bookings made via Flybuys Travel.
Which provides the better reward is an individual choice, although the 'upgrade' path may be more appealing for those who don't have Velocity Gold or Platinum frequent flyer status.
That's because the journey would be upgraded from a regular economy ticket with no premium perks, through to not only a business class seat onboard, but upgraded service on the ground too, such as with priority check-in and boarding, and where available (and open), airport lounge access.
Just note, upgrades on long-haul international flights such as to Los Angeles are only available to Velocity Gold and Platinum members, although upgrades on domestic and shorter-distance international flights are available to all members.