Earning points and discounts for shopping on eBay ↦For Australians shopping on eBay, there are four major options for earning points or getting a discount via cashback. The rewards are relatively small, but it is a simple case of earning extra points for just logging in and clicking a button to get the benefits. In that sense, it is worth the additional 30 seconds when buying items from the eBay site. For a small purchase like $5-10, some people may not bother with the extra step, which is fair enough. However, you can earn a reasonable haul of frequent flyer points or discounts if you plan on making more expensive purchases.
New option: FlyBuys
The new player in earning benefits through shopping on eBay is Flybuys. They initially sent out targeted offers to their customer base in late 2017, but in May 2018 it was opened up to all Flybuys members. Even though it may seem appealing, it is the worst value of the four options for earning benefits through eBay (detailed below). On the flipside, the more interesting aspect to the Flybuys/eBay partnership is being able to buy eBay vouchers with Flybuys points. At the rate of 2,000 Flybuys to earn a $10 eBay voucher, this now opens far more retailers for redeeming points. Previously you'd be stuck with few voucher options in the Flybuys microcosm, or limited to items on the Flybuys store. With the vouchers, all retailers on eBay are opened up. The best strategy for making the most from eBay is to earn Flybuys through outlets such as Coles and use the points to buy eBay vouchers. For shopping on eBay, use one of the other three choices as they offer four times the benefit (see below for a comparison).
What to do
Which option you choose will come down a preference for Virgin or Qantas frequent flyer points, Flybuys or a discount through cashback. Since you don't get any perks for spending more or being loyal to any eBay partner, there is no problem with spreading your points or cash earning options across different purchases if this suits your needs. Also be on the lookout for specials that are run at various times where the offers are substantially increased for a limited time. For more details about the best value, each program is assessed per dollar spent on eBay (see the bottom of this page).
Bonus tip 1
Points on frequent flyer programs such as those run by Virgin (Velocity) and Qantas will not expire as long as your account has some activity. This means you will lose all your points if you haven't been active for 24 months (Virgin) or 18 months (Qantas). Making a small purchase using the airline's eBay links will allow you to keep those points for another 12-24 months. Just keep in mind that it takes 30 days after the eBay purchase for the points to be credited to your account.
How it works
You may be curious as to why airlines, Flybuys and Cashrewards are offering these bonuses. Companies can earn a commission for directing you to the eBay site. The airlines and Flybuys use points as incentive for shoppers to follow their links (and therefore earn themselves a commission), whereas Cashrewards returns some of that commission back to you. This money returned to you is effectively a discount on what you buy. Login or sign-up here with a free $5 credit at Cashrewards. You won't pay more for following the links, so it's worth investigating.
One caveat to watch. If you click different sites to earn points on eBay, only the most recent one that you've clicked will be credited. For example if you clicked Virgin's eBay link first, then later clicked on the Qantas eBay link and eventually make a purchase, the points will go to your Qantas account. As an extension, you can't attempt to click on all the links in the hope to earn across the all sites for a single purchase, only one account will be credited for each purchase.
Comparing the four options for shopping on eBay
For this comparison, we are valuing frequent flyer points at 1 cent each. Likewise Flybuys points are valued at 0.435-0.5 cents, but the value of Flybuys varies depending on your choice of a $10 discount voucher or frequent flyer points. As you can see below Cashrewards, Virgin and Qantas all come in at the same value of 1 cent per dollar spent, but FlyBuys is the worst option with 0.22-0.25 cents per dollar spent.
Rewards per dollar: 1 cent cashback (but this can vary from 1% to 3%)
How to earn points: log in to Cashrewards , search for eBay and click the Shop now button.
Rewards per dollar: 1 Velocity frequent flyer point worth 1 cent
How to earn points: You will need to visit the eBay page at Virgin's eStore and log-in to your Velocity account. Search for eBay if you can't see it, click the Start shopping button and you'll be redirected to the eBay site, then purchase as per normal.
Qantas Rewards per dollar: 1 Qantas frequent flyer point worth 1 cent
How to earn points: Visit the Qantas Online Mall and log-in to your Qantas account. Search for ebay or follow this link , click the Shop Now button and you'll be redirected to the eBay site, then purchase as per normal.
FlyBuys Rewards per dollar: 0.5 FlyBuys point worth 0.22-0.25 cents
How to earn points: link your eBay and FlyBuys accounts which can be done either through the eBay or Flybuys websites. Be warned though, this is the least valuable option for earning benefits through eBay, especially for those looking to earn Virgin Velocity points. By using the Virgin direct link to eBay described above, you earn 1 Velocity point per dollar. However, spending one dollar earns 0.5 FlyBuys points. This translates to only 0.22 Velocity points per dollar. The option of getting the $10 Coles or eBay voucher through FlyBuys values the points earned at 0.25 cents per dollar spent at eBay (2,000 FlyBuys earns a $10 voucher but it takes a $4,000 spend on eBay to earn 2,000 Fybuys points). In this case, the Cashrewards, Qantas and Virgin are four times the value.