If there’s one thing that can be said about Australian consumers, it’s that we’re a loyal bunch. Whether it’s sticking with the same phone, power and gas companies for years or never quite being willing to cancel that Netflix subscription, we tend to be the sort of customers that companies love – long-term, paying regularly and (hopefully) happy.
These days there’s a lot of choice, and a lot of special deals being offered to convince customers to make the switch – but as you’ve probably noticed, many of those tasty great-value deals are offered to new customers only (though it never hurts to call and ask!) As a long-standing, loyal customer it’s hard not to feel a little bit left out – shouldn’t there be some sort of benefit to being loyal to the one company, rather than following the deals around?
Telstra Plus vs Foxtel First
Both Telstra and Foxtel clearly think so – because in what is the most competitive market for both communications and entertainment in Australian history, they’ve both decided it’s time that loyal customers get a little love as well.
Enter the two companies’ new loyalty programs – Telstra Plus rewards and Foxtel First. Though they’ve both been introduced at around the same time, they do work differently, and offer different rewards. But both are completely free to join, so if you’re a current customer of either or both companies, you should think about signing up as soon as possible. But wait – is it even worth the trouble? Do the rewards on offer actually seem both worthwhile and attainable? Let’s take a deeper look at each of the programs to see what’s in it for you.
Telstra Plus: How it Works
Like many rewards programs, Telstra Plus operates with several tiers of membership which you can work towards over a period of time. Membership in each tier is based on your annual spending on Telstra products and services – in other words, anything that you pay on your Telstra bill and any prepaid recharges that you apply to your account. That includes the monthly payments for a phone handset or hardware that you buy through Telstra, but outright purchases are not included (in other words, you can’t instantly bump yourself up to the top tier by buying a couple of expensive smartphones outright!)
Telstra Plus Rewards Tiers
The basic starter tier is simply called “Member”, and everyone who joins will stay on this tier until their total annual spend with Telstra equals $1500. Once you hit $1500 you’re promoted to Silver, and similarly, once you’ve spent $3000 in a year you land on the Gold tier. These equate to a monthly spend of at least $125 for Silver and $250 for Gold. The good news is that once you hit a new membership tier, you’re promoted to that tier for the rest of your “membership year” and for the entire year following. The “membership year” is simply 12 months starting from the date you join.
Newly added tier is Business, which doesn’t have a total annual spend just as long as you have an eligible business service. Separate from the tiers are your rewards points, which you accumulate at a rate of 10 points for every dollar spent with Telstra. There are also frequent offers for bonus points, such as 30,000 points if you add a Telstra TV 3 box to your plan (which costs $9/month).
What Rewards Do You Get?
The four tiers offer bonuses which apply no matter how many rewards points you have. For the Member tier, you’ll have access to Telstra’s popular discounted movie tickets, sports tickets and arts tickets, pre-sale access to concert and arts tickets, and chances to win what Telstra describes as “money-can’t-buy experiences.”
Once you hit the Silver tier, you also get three months of free Stan membership and one month of free Kayo, as well as one-off access to Telstra Platinum tech support (even for non-Telstra products). And at the Gold tier, that’s increased to a full six months of free Stan, three months of Kayo (that’s over $150 value right there) and unlimited 24/7 access to Telstra Platinum support. Telstra Business members also get the same perks and features with the addition of three months of Telstra Business Tech Services for your business.
The real star of Telstra Plus, though, is the Rewards Store. It’s in here you’ll find a huge range of desirable things you can spend your points on – smart watches, gaming accessories, tablets, mobile broadband devices, smartphones, headphones, speakers, smart home devices and accessories. There’s actual valuable stuff here for all levels of spending, from huge brands like Apple, Samsung and Google – and if you don’t have enough points for something you want, in many cases you can toss in a bit of cash along with some points and grab yourself a bargain.
Since you’re getting points simply by using and paying for your Telstra services, it really is like getting something extra for nothing. The only thing to keep in mind, if you’re saving up points for something special, is that all points expire three years after earning them. So be sure to use them before you lose them!
Foxtel First: How It Works
If there’s one company that loads of Australians will have been loyal to over many years, it’s Foxtel. With the company having been Australia’s largest pay TV provider for a massive 24 years, there are lots of loyal customers out there who’ve kept on loving their Foxtel for all the exclusive stuff that streaming can’t deliver – from the best premium drama to a whole planet’s worth of live sports. With that in mind, Foxtel has launched Foxtel First as a way of saying thanks to the customers who’ve stuck with them, and the rewards on offer are designed to reflect what’s of the most value to each tier of customers.
Foxtel First is divided into four tiers that you’re automatically put into based on how long you’ve continuously been a Foxtel customer. At the base level is Bronze, which includes customers of up to 3 years. Once you pass the three-year mark you’re promoted to Silver, with Gold starting at 8 years and Diamond being the exclusive club for everyone who’s been with Foxtel for 15 years and over (and there’s more of them than you’d think!)
Like most rewards programs, each tier’s rewards and perks include those of the lower tiers as well, so you’re really getting pampered if you’re a Foxtel veteran.
Foxtel from Telstra
It’s worth mentioning that Foxtel First applies only to customers who are connected directly through Foxtel. If you’re one of the many Foxtel From Telstra customers, you’re not eligible for Foxtel First – but instead, you can join Telstra Plus and your monthly Foxtel bill will start earning you valuable rewards through that program!
However, the good news is that if you switch to Foxtel directly – whether you’re coming from Foxtel From Telstra or Foxtel Now – your accumulated time as a customer counts towards your Foxtel First tier.
What Rewards Do You Get?
Foxtel First is structured a little differently to Telstra Plus, in that there are no points to accumulate and no “rewards store” to shop at. Instead, your ongoing membership gives you perks that, as time goes on, grow to include new things with each tier. Everyone who joins the program, by the way, instantly gets a free premium movie rental on the Foxtel Store as a welcome gift, accessible on your broadband connected iQ or MyStar box.
Foxtel says they’ll be constantly adding new stuff to the rewards offered at each tier, too, so be sure to check your account occasionally to see if any new perks are coming your way!
Bronze Tier Rewards
Bronze tier members (up to 3 years) get access to something rather cool – free tickets to entertainment and sports events. That’s right – completely free of charge, not just discounted. The events on offer constantly change – at the time of writing, you can get free tickets to T20 cricket matches and A-League soccer games. There’s also regular competitions to win VIP experiences such as an exclusive ARIA Awards party, big prizes like a $5000 travel gift card, tickets to A-list shows like Paul Kelly’s latest tour, and even meet-and-greets with celebrities or sports teams.
Silver Tier Rewards
That’s a whole lot of goodness for just being a customer – easily worth signing up for those perks alone – but there’s more to come at the higher tiers. Silver members (3-8 years) also get advance access to Foxtel Originals and exclusive previews of new hot shows up to a week before anyone else gets to see them – sure to be handy when the long-awaited Game of Thrones prequel arrives!
Gold Tier Rewards
Gold members (8-15 years) gain free setup of Foxtel Multiroom, letting you watch your Foxtel in multiple rooms around the house with the one subscription. We’d expect you’ll still need to pay for additional iQ boxes if you want them, but now that Foxtel Multiroom supports Chromecast, you could just as easily watch that way using your smartphone or tablet as the remote control via the Foxtel Go app.
Up at the exclusive Diamond tier, for customers of 15 years and over, you’ll get priority customer service as well as free installation of the new iQ4 set top box, meaning you can upgrade to the very best Foxtel box available without paying any extra.
How to Sign Up
It’s quick and hassle-free to sign up with both Telstra Plus and Foxtel First. The best way is to use the services’ apps on iOS and Android phones and tablets – Telstra 24×7 and MyFoxtel, both of which have dedicated sections where you can join the rewards programs and check back to see and redeem current rewards.
Of course, you can also both join and browse each program from your account management page – something we’d recommend doing regularly with Telstra Plus in particular as it is a far better way to get an overview of the rewards that you can redeem your points for.
There’s no cost to joining either program, so if you’re a customer of either company you should get signed up as soon as possible. That’s especially important with Telstra Plus, as you can’t start earning points until you’re signed up. With Foxtel First, your accumulated time as a customer will determine your rewards tier, but the sooner you sign up, the less likely you are to miss out on some desirable competitions and freebies.
Which One Offers the Biggest Rewards?
While on the surface, Telstra Plus and Foxtel First seem like similar programs which launched around the same time, there are some key differences between them – and it’s Telstra Plus that’s far more focused on earning and redeeming valuable rewards which you can choose from a vast selection. That makes Telstra Plus extremely desirable – but to get the best rewards, you’ll need to be spending a bit more than the minimum amount of money.
Foxtel First, on the other hand, isn’t based on your spending at all – every customer is treated the same regardless of what channel packs you subscribe to. It’s all about how long you’ve been a customer, and once you join, you’re granted the appropriate perks and rewards instantly, without having to meet any spending targets.
Undoubtedly, Telstra Plus offers the bigger rewards – but Foxtel First offers you stuff just for being a customer, which is in some ways a far nicer thing to have around.
Are They Worth It?
If there’s one thing we can be certain of, it’s that both loyalty programs are very much worth joining – there’s no membership fees and no hidden catches or costs. Just sign up and start enjoying your perks and rewards, but be sure to keep a keen eye out for the limited-time extras that both programs regularly offer to get the most out of your membership!