Review was updated on 20 September, 2019
The communications services we all use every day are such a huge part of our lives they’re almost a constant presence. Calls, texts and internet on our smartphones, fast NBN broadband back at home, mobile broadband to get online anywhere we travel… we spend a lot of time – and often a lot of money – keeping connected. But have you ever stopped to wonder why we haven’t been truly rewarded for our loyalty to our phone, broadband and mobile provider? After all, if you regularly fly with the same airline, you get perks and rewards, right?
Well, Telstra has set about changing the way we look at loyalty in the communications space with a bold rewards program that’s the first of its kind in the field. As long-time Telstra customers know, the company has always offered some valuable rewards to its customers, both as a part of product bundles and under their “Telstra Thanks” banner. But Telstra felt that customers who have more services with the company and buy more products – and therefore spend more money, sometimes a lot more in the case of the latest smartphones – deserved to be more extensively rewarded. And that’s where the new loyalty program, Telstra Plus, comes in.
What Makes Telstra Plus Unique?
In Australia we love our rewards programs. From credit cards to airlines to cash-back rewards for keen shoppers, there’s nothing quite as nice as being given something for nothing in return for giving a company your business. In the past, all of Australia’s big communications companies have dabbled in the idea of customer rewards, but they’ve been mostly restricted to the occasional bundled freebie and some discounted tickets. Vodafone’s even dialled theirs back to mere discounts on bundled plans.
But Telstra clearly saw the love people have for loyalty programs, and Telstra Plus is the end result – a kind of mega-expansion of the old Telstra Thanks program with some very, very tasty rewards for those who gather enough points.
Because yes, Telstra Plus is a points based scheme – a first for a telco, on this scale at least. You get points every time you spend money on Telstra products or services, with bonus points awarded for certain purchases from time to time. All Telstra Plus members have access to the Rewards Store, where points can be spent on very desirable tech items. But members who spend above a certain amount of money get some even tastier bonus rewards.
What are Telstra Plus’ Best Features?
The New Telstra Plus™ Rewards Program
Earn points when you pay your bills on your Telstra subscription and get access to membership benefits which includes 3 months free Kayo Sports, 6 months free Stan, discounted movie tickets, NRL and AFL discounted games, and so much more.
Telstra Plus Membership Tiers
Here’s where the really special stuff happens – the hallmark of a truly rewarding loyalty program, membership tiers. Everyone starts of f at the base tier, appropriately named Member. That gets you immediate and constant access to some desirable bonuses right away – $12.50 movie tickets, discounted sports tickets, pre-sale access to some of the most-wanted concert tickets in town and exclusive competitions.
However, spend between $1500 and $2999 on your Telstra services in a year – equal to around $125 to $250 per month, which many people will already be spending – and you get promoted to the Silver membership tier. You get all the Member perks, plus three full months of free access to Stan and a full free month of Kayo Sports, no catches (and usable on your existing accounts with those streaming services).
Those who spend $3000 a year or more – over $250 a month – become Gold tier members, with those streaming perks expanded to a full six months of Stan and three months of Kayo Sports. You also get unlimited access to Telstra Platinum premium tech support.
What’s On Offer in the Rewards Store
Here’s where the magic happens for everyone though – the place where you can spend your points. You earn 10 points for every dollar you spend on Telstra products and services, with bonus points awarded on some items as promotions. For example, right now you get 10,000 bonus points for pre-ordering an iPhone 11 on the $60 plan – and those points are in addition to the ones you get for your plan and phone payments. Or you can add the Telstra TV 3 box to your plan for $9 a month and get a hefty 25,000 bonus points.
Your accumulated points can be spent at the Rewards Store, which offers some of the most-wanted tech products around. Apple Watch, AirPods or Beats headphones, mobile broadband devices, the latest smartphones, smart speakers, device accessories and more – the range is genuinely excellent, and everything on offer is genuinely desirable – there’s no dud “filler” rewards here.
Sure, you’ll need to accumulate a lot of points for some of the more valuable items – 486,000 points for a Samsung Galaxy S10+ smartphone, for example. But you can also combine a lower points total with some cash to get the rewards you’re truly after. That flexibility is an important part of a proper loyalty program.
On the other end of the scale, there’s genuinely useful rewards at lower points amounts as well – like the Google Home Mini for 10,000 points, something you can therefore pick up right away if you were already pre-ordering the latest iPhone.
How Do You Track Your Points and Perks?
Once you’ve joined Telstra Plus, you’ll find a section dedicated to it on your Telstra account page online, as well as in the Telstra 24×7 app. There you can see what membership tier you’re on, check your points balance and explore the various perks and rewards that are available to you.
When Do Membership Years Start and End?
With the Silver and Gold membership tiers being tied directly to your spending on Telstra services in a given year, it’s important to note that they’re not talking in terms of calendar years here. Instead, your “membership year” kicks off on the date you join the Telstra Plus program, and so the tier you’re on depends on how much you spend in that following 12 months. Once you hit that spending threshold, you’re automatically promoted to the Silver or Gold membership tier, which you stay at for the following membership year. If you spend less than the thresholds in that second year, you’ll be moved down to the appropriate tier – but not until the start of your next membership year.
That probably sounds more complicated than it needs to, but look at it this way: once you reach the spending needed to unlock the Silver or Gold membership tier, you’ll be guaranteed to be on it for at least one full year, and usually longer. Most people with ongoing services will likely just hit a tier and stay there, but for others, spending may change – so it’s nice to know that you’re not instantly moved to a lower membership tier!
Is Telstra Plus Worth It?
The benchmarks for any loyalty rewards program are pretty straightforward – you want to be able to accumulate points in a meaningful way at a reasonable rate, and you want to be able to spend those points on things that you actually want. For an airline it makes perfect sense to make flights the thing you spend your points on – and for a full-spectrum communications company like Telstra, it makes just as much sense for the rewards to be highly desirable tech devices and accessories.
You also want meaningful rewards just for being a member – and you’ll get them no matter what membership tier you’re on. Discounted movie and sports tickets are great to have on tap, and at the higher tiers it’s hard to say no to free access to streaming services.
Like with any points-based loyalty program, the more you put into it (in terms of money, of course) the more you’ll eventually get out of it. It’s best to look at Telstra Plus as a direct bonus for stuff you were going to be spending money on anyway – after all, if you can get yourself a free set of AirPods just for paying for your mobile phone and plan, it really does feel like you’re getting something tangible for nothing.
What About the Other Telstra Bonuses?
Whatever perks and rewards you get with Telstra Plus, you won’t miss out on the famous range of extras that comes with many Telstra services. For example, all Telstra Home Broadband customers get unlimited national phone calls, discounted international calls and access to Broadband Protect. And Telstra Mobile customers get a brilliant set of freebies, including free access to streaming of AFL, AFLW, NRL, Netball and A-League all year, data-free Apple Music streaming and access to free Telstra Air wi-fi hotspots in Australia and around the world.
Should You Join Telstra Plus?
If you’re a Telstra customer – whether it’s for broadband, mobile, home phone, or a combination of all of them – you should get onto the Telstra Plus site and get yourself signed up as soon as possible. It doesn’t cost a cent to join, and the rewards are very real and very desirable. It’s especially a must-join if you’re about to buy a new mobile phone on a plan with Telstra – you don’t want to miss out on both the extra points and the chance to land on the Silver or Gold membership tiers.
There’s no downside – you’re just getting rewarded for spending money you’d be spending anyway. And that, really, is the best kind of rewards program!