Australian loyalty programs - which ones are worth it?

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From travel to groceries to fashion, everywhere we turn, there's a rewards program vying for our loyalty. It's no surprise that everyone from big businesses to the local café are jumping on the loyalty train - after all, just a small increase in customer retention can make a big difference to a bottom line.

But as consumers, which Australian loyalty programs really deserve our commitment?

I'm no stranger to loyalty marketing, but I'm still a sucker for a bargain. So here are a few of my favourite ways to earn real rewards (and get more than a pile of unwanted emails).

sponsored best australian loyalty rewards programs

Qantas Frequent Flyer

Airlines aren't having a great year for obvious reasons, but that doesn't mean your points balance can't soar. Qantas is the darling of the Australian travel industry, and its Frequent Flyer program commands a huge slice of the loyalty market, with hundreds of brand partners like Apple, Myer, eBay and THE ICONIC offering customers extra ways to earn points via Qantas Shopping.

With the added ability to top up your balance when you spend on health insurance, credit cards, utilities, and even when you fill up the car at BP, your everyday essentials could soon turn into a free flight or upgrade. You might not be going far for a while, but increasing your balance will at least make sure your precious points don't expire due to inactivity.

Hotels.com Rewards

You could continue building your Qantas points stash with your choice of hotel, but it's hard to ignore the Hotels.com rewards program. Secret prices, instant savings and priority service may feel like standard hotel loyalty offerings, but "reward nights" are what really set this provider apart.

The premise is simple: book 10 nights through the site and get one free. The value of your reward night is the average value of the 10 nights you previously booked, so you won't be fobbed off with a dodgy motel, and you can store up your reward nights and cash them in for a longer holiday in the future.

If you ever book overnight stays for work purposes, this is a particularly great way to score a valuable freebie.

The Athlete's Foot - MyFit Rewards

I believe a truly worthwhile loyalty scheme is one that rewards you for things you need to buy, rather than just things you want to buy. Shopping for new sports or school shoes might not be particularly exciting, but it can be pretty essential - and The Athlete's Foot is here to add a silver lining to that experience.

With a simple earning mechanic of one point for every dollar spent, members of MyFit Rewards will quickly stack up points if they're kitting out a growing family. If that sounds like you, the good news is that 300 points will bag you a $30 voucher off your next purchase (because let's be honest, you'll be back in six months).

Bonds - Bonds & Me

Bonds is a brand that does loyalty and personalisation well. And on top of catching attention with clever marketing, Bonds also offers a loyalty scheme that transforms occasional shoppers into brand advocates.

Alongside the usual promises of VIP invites, birthday vouchers and early access to new products, Bonds & Me offers the very tangible benefits of tiered discounts and free shipping on every order. Promising members at least 10% off every purchase, scaling to 20% or even 30% for power users, Bonds is gamifying the loyalty experience and making new undies more rewarding than ever.

Woolworths Everyday Rewards

Supermarket loyalty programs are nothing new, but Everyday Rewards stands out for its ability to provide real and regular savings to shoppers. With personalised offers making it easy to collect extra points for the items you're already buying, you'll soon find yourself with a $10 voucher off your next shop (which you can choose to convert to Qantas points if you wish).

With Everyday Rewards, you will also be handsomely rewarded for extending your loyalty to other Woolworths products. For example, if you buy Woolworths Car Insurance, you'll receive 10% off a grocery shop every month, which goes a long way to offsetting your premium.

Rewardle

Almost every café offers some kind of loyalty bonus, but with flexible and remote working now more prevalent than ever, it's less likely we're visiting the same business on a daily basis. If your coffee destination changes, it may be worth swapping all those forgotten stamp cards for one handy app instead. Thousands of businesses are already using Rewardle, and it means you're more likely to keep earning rewards, wherever you end up taking a break.

Cashrewards

Few perks are as rewarding as cold, hard cash, and that's exactly what we at Cashrewards offer to our members. The way it works is simple - Cashrewards earns commission from retailers, then shares that commission back with you in the form of cashback. On top of cashback, we also negotiate great deals and discounts with retailers, making the end result a win-win for shoppers.

You can use Cashrewards to save on your everyday shopping at any time of year, but it's particularly valuable during seasonal sales such as the upcoming End of Financial Year event. Shopping through Cashrewards allows you to maximise your savings on tech, travel, fashion and much more, by receiving the standard discounts from your favourite brands plus your usual loyalty points and perks, at the same time as earning cashback every time you shop. No brainer.

Learn more about Cashrewards

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Bernard Wilson is the chief executive officer of Cashrewards, Australia's leading cashback platform. Bernie is passionate about customer-first experiences and has 20 years' of loyalty, data and ecommerce experience.