Woolworths scrambles to close loyalty card loophole

A loophole in the new Woolworths Everyday Rewards loyalty programme has seen some shoppers create burner accounts and claim hundreds of dollars in points to spend in-store.

A generous 1000 points for downloading the app and registering an account has seen people create multiple accounts to claim the reward.

The points were then shared back to the main account. A $15 voucher to spend in-store or online was given for every 2000 points.

One man who worked with computers had heard through friends about the loophole and was surprised it was so easy.

“I heard about people making multiple burner accounts and stocking them each with $150-plus in rewards, then driving around buying up the sports supplements,” he said

Boosts, such as 100 points for coffee or butter, can get shoppers to 2000 points and a $15...
Boosts, such as 100 points for coffee or butter, can get shoppers to 2000 points and a $15 voucher more quickly. Image: Supplied
He said Woolworths had since shut the loophole by disabling the ability to share points between cards.

Mark Wolfeden, director of loyalty at Woolworths, said they were “aware of the activity” and it went against the terms and conditions for a cardholder to create multiple accounts.

“We have noticed some of that behaviour and we will be locking down those accounts.

“This should not be being used for fraudulent purposes, and we do have some measures in place to stop this,” Wolfeden said.

Wolfeden said Woolworths was trying to stop the unwanted behaviour without compromising the benefits to shoppers using the card correctly.

“We have some controls in place and we are taking a close look at this at the moment.”

Wolfeden said it was easier than ever to get to 2000 points - even by using the card as it was intended.

Customers needed to reach 2000 points to get a $15 voucher, but Wolfeden said you didn’t have to spend $2000 to get there.

The “Boost” programme, available through the app or online, meant customers could earn extra points for buying certain products or brands or spending in a particular area in-store, such as the produce or fresh meat sections.

Boosted offers were tailored to the individual and based on what shoppers had purchased in the past.

A box of 100 Bell teabags was one of the boosted items for some this week, with 200 points on offer.

To get the points, you need to hit the “Boost” button online or on the app before you shop and include the product in your groceries.

The 200 points are added to your card when you go through the checkout.

Another 600 points were available to collect if more than $45 was spent on meat.

A shopper could earn more than the 2000 points needed for a $15 voucher by buying their 14 boosted items, which could include anything from teabags and stain remover to frozen vegetables and sugar.

Wolfeden shut down suggestions the prices for boosted items were inflated beforehand.

“That is absolutely incorrect. We do not raise the prices before we boost a product,” Wolfeden said.

“We do everything we can to be transparent and follow the rules and regulations for pricing.”

The Everyday Rewards card was a big part of the rebranding from Countdown to Woolworths and replaced the Onecard.

Wolfeden said apart from a few “teething issues”, the switch to Everyday Rewards on February 1 had gone smoothly.

“We’ve seen amazing uptake by members and hundreds of thousands of people have downloaded the app,” he said.

“It’s great to see how our members are engaging with the programme.”

He said feedback from customers had been overwhelmingly positive.

“We’ve loved hearing feedback from customers who have already redeemed vouchers and are realising how much more quickly they are getting them compared to the previous programme,” Wolfeden said.

By Kirsty Wynn