When you top-up your tank, you can also top-up your Qantas or Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer account, with BP, Caltex and Coles Express (Shell) all offering frequent flyer points on petrol purchases, over and above any points you'd earn via your credit card.
The number of points you'll receive, and what you need to do to earn them, varies from one petrol chain to the next: here's how to get set up, and how the rewards compare.
Earning Qantas Points at BP
Of the three ways to earn frequent flyer points at the pump, the tie-up between Qantas and BP is the most straightforward.
You need to join the BP Rewards program and link your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership to that account first, but it's a one-off procedure: after which, you simply scan the barcode on your Qantas Frequent Flyer card when you pay at BP, and earn points straight into your Qantas account.
Here's how many Qantas Points you can earn on petrol and in-store buys with BP:
- BP Ultimate unleaded: 2 Qantas Points per litre.
- All other fuels: 1 Qantas Point per litre. This includes regular unleaded, as well as Diesel and LPG.
- In-store purchases: 1 Qantas Point per dollar spent, excluding things like gift cards, mobile recharge and tobacco.
As an introductory bonus, Qantas Frequent Flyer members who join BP Rewards and link their Qantas Frequent Flyer account by June 30 2020 can earn 100 bonus Qantas Points – plus 10 bonus Qantas status credits – before they've even made a purchase.
Plus, for every 1,000 Qantas Points earned at BP before June 30 2020, you can earn an extra 10 Qantas status credits, capped at up to 40 status credits: that's up to 50 in total, including the joining bonus.
Sign-up and short-term bonuses aside, top-up your tank with 35 litres and that's an easy 35 Qantas Points earned on most fuel types, or 70 Qantas Points if it's BP Ultimate unleaded, regardless of the fuel price.
Earning Qantas Points at Caltex
Qantas Points can also be earned at participating Caltex and Caltex Woolworths petrol stations by linking your Qantas Frequent Flyer details to Woolworths Rewards, choosing to earn Qantas Points rather than Woolworths Dollars, and scanning your Woolworths Rewards card at the checkout (not your Qantas card, as with BP).
While you'll earn points on every eligible transaction, those will be Woolworths Rewards points at first. When you've piled up 2,000 Woolworths Rewards points, they'll be automatically converted into 1,000 Qantas Points.
Here's how many Woolworths Rewards points – and by extension, how many Qantas Points – you can earn at Caltex and Caltex Woolworths:
- All fuel types: 1 Woolworths point (0.5 Qantas Points) per $1 spent.
- In-store purchases: 1 Woolworths point (0.5 Qantas Points) per $1 spent, excluding mobile recharge, tobacco, gift cards etc.
As these earning rates are based on dollars spent rather than litres purchased, you'll earn more points when fuel prices are higher, and fewer points when prices are lower.
Refuel with 35 litres – the same tank as in our BP example – and when the price per litre is 139.9c ($1.399), the reward is 48 Woolworths points – equal to 24 Qantas Points – based on a spend of $48.97.
That's not as rewarding as BP, although if you have a 4c/L supermarket fuel savings voucher loaded onto your Woolworths Rewards card (after a spend of $30 or more at Woolworths supermarkets), you can instead mix points earned with dollars saved.
On that same purchase, a fuel savings voucher reduces the price to $47.57: on which, you'd earn 47 Woolworths points. That's on-par with 23.5 Qantas Points, combined with a cash saving of $1.40, which some may prefer to earning a few extra points at BP.
Earning Velocity Points at Coles Express
Despite BP's recent departure from Virgin Australia's Velocity Frequent Flyer program, it's still possible to earn Velocity Points on petrol purchases at Coles Express (Shell) outlets via the Flybuys program.
You'll start by earning Flybuys points, which can later be converted into Velocity Points. These transfers are normally processed on-request at the rate of 2,000 Flybuys points = 870 Velocity Points, but Velocity regularly offers a 15% bonus on those conversions, making 2,000 Flybuys points equal to 1,000 Velocity Points.
Assuming you transfer your points during one of those many 15% bonus points deals, here's how many Flybuys points – and by extension, how many Velocity Points – you'll earn at Coles Express:
- All fuel types: 0.5 Flybuys points (0.25 Velocity Points) per $1 spent. Only whole Flybuys points are awarded (1 Flybuys point for every $2 spent).
- In-store purchases: 0.5 Flybuys points (0.25 Velocity Points) per $1 spent, with the usual exclusions for charges like mobile recharge, tobacco, gift cards and so on.
On the surface, that makes Coles Express the least-rewarding choice, with a 35L tank (priced at 139.9c/L) unlocking 24 Flybuys points, worth just 12 Velocity Points: and that's with a 15% conversion bonus factored in.
Even with a 4c/L petrol saving voucher (earned after spending $30 or more at a Coles supermarket), you're looking at 11.5 Velocity Points paired with a $1.40 saving.
How to maximise your Velocity Points at Coles Express
Despite the low base earning rate, those fuel savings vouchers can be your ticket to a bounty of bonus points. Rather than taking the 4c/L discount, you can opt for 8 Flybuys bonus points (4 Velocity Points) per litre purchased instead. This is on top of the Flybuys points earned per dollar spent.
On that same 35L, $48.97 tank, you'd take home 24 Flybuys points as normal from the purchase price, plus a further 280 Flybuys points (that's 8 Flybuys points per litre), for a grand total of 304 Flybuys points, equal to 152 Velocity points.
Sweetening the pot even further, some road tolling providers such as Linkt in Queensland also provide 4c/L fuel savings vouchers to motorists. Those savings can't be converted into points as with the supermarket discounts, but they can be stacked for an even better deal.
Scanning your Flybuys card, a supermarket fuel savings voucher (for 8 Flybuys points per litre) and a separate 4c/L discount code on that same tank reduces the price paid to $47.57, while giving you 23 base Flybuys points, 280 Flybuys bonus points, and a $1.40 cash saving, all on the one transaction.
That gives you the best of everything, with a 35L tank netting you 303 Flybuys points – that's 151.5 Velocity Points – plus a $1.40 fuel saving on top.
Earning frequent flyer points: BP vs Caltex vs Coles Express
Given the ability to convert fuel savings into bonus points and the potential of combining those bonus points with an additional fuel savings offer, Coles Express is the most rewarding option overall for those seeking points at the pump.
However, maximising your points and savings at Coles Express requires much more effort than at BP or Caltex – and if you don't make that effort by scanning 2-3 barcodes with every shop (your Flybuys card, a supermarket docket, and a separate savings offer, if you have one), the number of points you'll earn becomes the lowest of the three.
That's where the simplicity of earning Qantas Points at BP will appeal to many, with a base frequent flyer earning rate 3-6x higher than through Flybuys at Coles Express (based on the petrol price used in our examples), requiring only a scan of your Qantas Frequent Flyer card at the till.
While the number of Qantas Points earned at Caltex isn't as high as what's offered at BP, you can take advantage of supermarket fuel savings offers while still earning some points. These remain electronically linked to your Woolworths Rewards card, being all you need to scan to get both points and your discount.
Whichever path works best for you, don't forget that you can earn even more frequent flyer points by paying for your petrol using a points-earning credit card – or a BP Plus fuel card at BP, which can be linked with the Qantas Business Rewards program for ABN holders.