The value of rewards points

Friday, March 21st, 2014 at 12:23pm

A few years ago I tried to work out the value of different rewards schemes in order to do some comparisons, this went into a post that I never completed. There was a segment in last night’s episode of The Checkout so I decided to dust it off, double check the numbers and then post it:

I currently get both Flybuys and Qantas points. As part of two separate discussions I started to wonder how to compare the relative value of the points and whether I should get one instead of the other.

You can redeem both points for a variety of things, from actual flights (that I rarely take) to appliances to gift vouchers. I opted to use vouchers (dollar value and movie tickets) for comparison, you can buy the same movie ticket vouchers in a book of 10 for $125.


  • $100 gift card for 20,000 points – 200 points per $1
  • 10 adult movie tickets for 22,200 – 2,220 points per ticket, 177 points per $1


  • $100 gift card for 15,100 – 151 points per $1
  • 6 adult movie tickets for 14,500 – 2,416 points per ticket, 193 points per $1

For a gift card Qantas is slightly better and for movie tickets Flybuys is slightly better, but I would say that they are pretty much the same.

What do you need to spend to get something out of the points?

One credit card has an annual fee of $89, at a rate of one Qantas point per $1 you need to put at least $1,100 on the card each month just to cover the fee.

Another credit card has an annual fee of $395, at a rate of 1.5 Qantas points per $1 if you use the American Express card or 0.625 Qantas points if you use the Mastercard. If you somehow managed to put everything through on the American Express card then you can cover the fee by spending almost $5,000 per month. But many places do not take American Express so there is wasted time asking or trying the card and having it fail…

I do have a credit card that gives me points, but it is part of my home loan package so it doesn’t have its own fee. I try to put everything (automatic bill debits are very convenient) through the card which is then automatically paid off from my offset account. This is done to minimize the interest I pay on the home loan, but it is a nice coincidence that the points I get balance out in value to the $10 monthly fee for the home loan.

(To actually get that value from the points you need to redeem them, in my case that is with the movie tickets, which we were already buying in books of 10.)

One of the concluding points in the segment on The Checkout is that you should not change your behaviour just to get extra points. If my home loan package didn’t include the credit card then I would have remained with my previous card that had no points, but also had no fee. I also turned off all the notifications of special offers where you have to activate it and then buy a certain item, they are not worth my time thinking about.

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