Coles and Virgin Team Up to Rival Qantas and Woolworths


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From the sky to the grocery aisle, two of Australia’s biggest loyalty programs, flybuys and Velocity Frequent Flyer, are teaming up.

Under a new partnership launched today, Coles customers will earn frequent flyer points with Virgin Australia.

As well as points, the airline-retailer deal will also include status credits, meaning shoppers will be able to accelerate their membership, obtain access to airport lounges and increase luggage allowance, among other perks.

“In flybuys, we’ve been working on our travel proposition for a few years now,” Coles flybuys general manager Adam Story said.

“Over 60 percent of households are active within flybuys, and we think we will grow that member base off the back of this relationship.”

Under the deal, Velocity members will earn one status credit for every $100 spent, with a cap of 120 credits a year. Every dollar will amount to 0.43 Velocity points, with members able to transfer a maximum of 138,000 flybuys points a year.

Virgin has sought to edge out its competitor with its strategy. Virgin will give status credits when you fly on points, while Qantas does not.

“You need fewer Virgin Australia Velocity points to trade them in to a free flight,” David Flynn, director and editor of Australian Business Traveller said.

For example, when you purchase the cheapest flight from Melbourne to Sydney one way, with Virgin you use 17,931 points, compared to 18,391 points with Qantas.

Experts say the partnership is certain to rival that of Qantas and Woolworths, and fire another shot in the grocery wars battleground.