Virgin Australia, 7-Eleven launch Velocity frequent flyer partnership

Fill ’er up: you’ll soon be able to earn Velocity points at 7-Eleven petrol pumps.

By David Flynn, May 27 2021
Virgin Australia, 7-Eleven launch Velocity frequent flyer partnership
Executive Traveller exclusive

Virgin Australia will today launch its points-earning alliance with 7-Eleven, with Velocity Frequent Flyers able to earn Velocity points at 7-Eleven outlets.

As previously reported by Executive Traveller, those earn rates will be set at 2 Velocity Points per litre of 'premium' Supreme 98+ and Extra 95 fuel, and 1 Velocity Point per lite for all other 'regular' fuel blends.

There'll also be the opportunity to earn 2 Velocity Points per dollar spent in-store on most products excepting tobacco, SIM cards, gift cards and prepaid transport cards such as Opal and Myki.

Earlier this month the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission gave a green light to the points-for-petrol proposal, saying it would likely enable both Virgin Australia and 7-Eleven "to provide more attractive offerings in airline and fuel markets in Australia, resulting in benefits from increased competition."

The ACCC also noted that many of their competitors – including Qantas, Flybuys, BP, Shell Coles Express and Woolworths Ampol outlets – "are already participating in similar arrangements."

The interim thumbs-up "will result in an immediate and direct benefit to consumers through the earning of Velocity Points," the ACCC said, adding that the ruling would clear the way for "pre-launch activities including IT integration, marketing, promotional activities and a pilot program."

PREVIOUS [April 30, 2021] | Virgin Australia is expected to launch its points-earning alliance with 7-Eleven within weeks, providing the airline's 10 million Velocity Frequent Flyers with a vital avenue for earning points on the ground.

In keeping with Virgin's new mid-market value position, 7-Eleven will make a suitably mainstream points partner; the move will also help Virgin level up to arch-rival Qantas and its high-profile hookup with BP.

Executive Traveller understands the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is poised to hand down an interim authorisation ruling which, if favourable, would let both parties kick-start what their proposal described as "pre-launch activities including IT integration, marketing, and promotional activities."

This would be followed by a 'go-live date' from which Velocity membership numbers could be entered into an updated 7-Eleven app, and the actual launch date for earning points by swiping their physical Velocity card or "scanning a virtual digital card" at 7-Eleven stores.

Interestingly, the ACCC submission also suggested that a handful of 7-Eleven outlets could participate in a 21-day "pilot program" during this pre-launch phase with "the purpose of ensuring the applicants' IT systems and processes are aligned and ready for the full launch of the partnership."

Executive Traveller understands that the earn rates will be set at 2 Velocity Points per litre of 'premium' Supreme 98+ and Extra 95 fuel, and 1 Velocity Point per lite for all other 'regular' fuel blends.

There'll also be the opportunity to earn 2 Velocity Points per dollar spent in-store on most products excepting tobacco, SIM cards, gift cards and prepaid transport cards such as Opal and Myki.

Under the partnership's direct earn model, Velocity Points should land in the member's account within 24 hours of any eligible purchase.

PREVIOUS [April 7, 2021] | Virgin Australia's frequent flyers may soon be able to once again earn points at the petrol pump under a proposed tie-up between the airline's Velocity rewards program and 7-Eleven service stations.

According to documents filed with the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which must approve the alliance, 7-Eleven could also become a redemption partner for Velocity, in case you want to swap your points for a Slurpee.

Although the ACCC is now in a 'public consultation' phase over the airline's hoped-for hookup, Executive Traveller understands the partnership took shape under the reign of former Virgin CEO Paul Scurrah after former fuel ally BP switched to Qantas in early 2020.

Filling the BP gap

At the time, Scurrah described BP's decision to dump Virgin for Qantas as "disappointing but not a major setback" and said "we’re talking to a number of partners that will plug that gap for us."

"We have almost 10 million very loyal customers who are keen for us to have a fuel earn-and-burn partner," he noted in late 2019.

Indeed, Executive Traveller understands that at one stage the Velocity 7-Eleven alliance was targetting a suitably on-brand launch date of November 7 (aka 7/11) 2020.

None the less, it's now back on the agenda for the rebooted airline, with new owners Bain Capital keen to muscle up the Velocity loyalty scheme to become a strong and steady revenue channel.

Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka sees the proposed loyalty partnership as a clean win for the airline's 10-million Velocity members, saying she was "excited by the potential to partner with a brand like 7-Eleven as we continue our journey to write a new chapter for Virgin Australia and Velocity Frequent Flyer."

For his part, 7-Eleven CEO and Managing Director Angus McKay sees "a great brand and cultural fit... of two iconic brands in Australia."

Direct earn for Velocity points

According to the ACCC application filed by commercial law firm King & Wood Mallesons, the alliance would encompass "any 7-Eleven store, whether franchised or corporate-owned... (to) ensure that the Velocity Programme is offered across all stores in 7-Eleven’s network."

This network is noted as comprising over 700 "retail fuel and convenience stores", with 7-Eleven being "the largest independent fuel retail chain in Australia" – although its fuel footprint is one-third that of BP – and becoming a "cornerstone partner" for Velocity.

Velocity points would be earned on petrol – with different rates for regular and premium – and, where available, EV charging services, along with most convenience store products and car washes.

Members would swipe their Velocity card at the point of purchase or link their Velocity memberships to the My 7-Eleven App and scan "a virtual digital card", with a direct earn of Velocity points similar to the Qantas/BP model.

The ACCC is expected to make an early call on "interim authorisation" by May and a final ruling due in July, with the partnership running for five years.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

18 Jan 2017

Total posts 53

Great news for me, when Velocity and BP went their seperate ways, I found my more local petrol station was heaps cheaper.  The local petrol station is indeed 7/11.

No doubt many will find issue though they have the slight Shell connection with Flybuys so this in my opinion is a good thing.

Pointless for Corporate Flyers, we have BP, Shell and Caltex cards. Best option is Fly Buys and convert them to Velocity. I wonder how many points for a $1.00 coffee?

07 Apr 2021

Total posts 3

If you are relying on $1 coffees for your points ...you must be drinking a lot of terrible coffee!

7-11 deal is a small winner for me, usually cheapest fuel in the area and they accept Amex meaning a double-up with the Amex Velocity. Of course fuel is small biccies anyway as you suggest, even without coffee.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 527

This is OUTRAGEOUS, capitalism at its worse, preying upon the weak and vulnerable in the community!!  I'm a sucker (nay, addicted) for Krispy Kreme donuts (and the premium ones at that!).  

Just when I thought I was out, Mr Krispy and Virgin now pull me back in!  Woe is me.  :-)

@Boeing-Tragic

Inside word is Krusty the Clown will be handing out the Homer Krispy Kreme Pink Donut @ an airport near you

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 308

I'm a tad surprised that former CEO Scurrah didn't try to 'upgrade' the current relationship with Shell (which is currently indirect via Flybuys), which would've gave another option to earn Velocity points at Shell (apart from the Flybuys <> Velocity transfers).

And how do you know that Scurrah didn't try to do this? I agree that Shell would have been very high on his list, but maybe they had their own plans or weren't willing to pay what Virgin and Velocity wanted.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 620

Don't want to be a smart alec, but in the interest of completeness Shell is a brand only. Shell branded stations are (mostly) run by Coles, hence Flybuys which was created by Coles is what is accepted there. I cannot see why Coles would see the need to go into a direct points relationship with Virgin when they own Flybuys.

Fuel in these service stations is 'sold' by Viva Energy which is owned by Vitol which is Swiss (previously Dutch) based company. I said sold in inverted commas as the way the Coles/Viva arrangement works is Coles gets a cut of the fuel sales in exchange for running the service station, but prices etc are set by Viva rather than Coles. Which is different to the way most service stations work where the individual servo buys the fuel and sets their own sales price.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 527

At least the fuel comes from a highly credible refinery (Mobil), no complaints here.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 620

Depends which state you live in. Victoria yes, SA and parts of NSW maybe. The rest of the country it is all imported with Mobil additives added.

As for those supplied by the Mobil Altona refinery, well that is due to close within the next 12 months and converted to an import terminal.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 205

The 7-11 App is also great for locking in the cheapest fuel - great for the doing at the bottom cycle days and also searches out of the nearest 5 servos so no need to drive any further

VA

17 Jun 2014

Total posts 17

Perhaps we might see a launch on "American" 7/11 day instead (11/7/21) if we're lucky.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 527

Clever word play, nice touch, although can't understand motivation for other to vote 👎?

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 360

Well, BP is the expensive premium petrol and an appropriate partner for Qantas, which makes 7-11 seem about right for being a Virgin partner.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2014

Total posts 106

Premium petrol. Seriously?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 527

Well, what then do you call Mobil Supreme+ 98 if not a premium fuel?

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1020

98 octane fuel is basically all the same.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 308

All fuel are refined at the same place and are basically the same with very few differences between the providers (BP, Shell (Coles), Mobil (7-11), Ampol (EG/Woolworths/Caltex), etc.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 620

Correct. Most of our fuel is all the same and comes from the same stock. Where there is difference is the additives that get put into the fuel, which mostly happens when the truck is being loaded. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2014

Total posts 106

That’s kinda my point...

Petrol is highly regulated in Australia and often refined at the same refineries. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2014

Total posts 106

So how is bp a “premium petrol” and this move evidence of Virgin aiming at “mid market”?

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 360

Should have been clearer with my remark, what I meant was BP as a premium petrol station brand, although it does also talk up its BP Ultimate blend, but my idea was that in the world of petrol stations, BP is like Qantas, aiming at being premium and high-end, glossy, a bit more expensive. 7-11 is cheaper, a bit scrappier and more for the 'masses' who are price conscious or in Hrdlicka-speak, "seek value", which is very much what Virgin is now.

You mean "non corporate"

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 527

QFP1 has a valid point, particularly when you factor in the roll-out of 'David Jones' prepared food at many BP service stations. But it would be somewhat naive to assume 'value seekers' and 'premium puchasers' are mutually exclusive customers (I'm generally both, much to the chagrin of wife and kids). Besides, personally, I much prefer the F&B range offered by 7-11 to BP, and my kids will 'kill for' their iced smoothies/crushes 'things'.

@Boeing Hopefully you didn't get me wrong I'm not complaining about 7-11 just most corporate companies don't give out 7-11 fuel cards so it limits the people who change follow the points. I could get away with using the Business Amex card at 7-11 but if any staff did that the accountants would pull them up.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1020

I don't believe BP grants airline FF points where customers pay with a BP Plus card.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 527

Regardkess of the fuel, Krispy Kreme donuts rule 

13 Apr 2017

Total posts 5

Given that 7 Eleven have no presence in South Australia (unlike other states, fhe Mobil sites there were largely sold to Peregrine and became On The Run), will they partner with someone else there or not bother, given it's not exactly a huge market especially outside of Adelaide? 

Or perhaps 7 Eleven will respond to On The Run starting to encroach in Victoria by doing the same in South Australia. 

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 378

adelaide does not have any.it sucks having to use coles express for fly buys to get points that way and then hit 1000 to get 500 velocity.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

03 Nov 2013

Total posts 9

No 7-11's in Tasmania either, as far as I know....

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2015

Total posts 51

Good to see use of the ‘digital card’ in the new program. The use of the physical Velocity card at BP was always challenging for me to the point I just gave up

I have though become to really like the Shell / Coles Express stations - they have been the best servos during the pandemic with a big focus on consistent pump cleaning and bacterial wipes at each bowser. They really have been very good unlike others who I think missed the COVID memo altogether! The prices are generally competitive too. I’m happy with the FlyBuys arrangement given I’m not transferring anything to Velocity at the moment.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 Feb 2017

Total posts 1

After the divorce of BP and Virgin I tried out Caltex. The woolies/Caltex partnership has it figured out. Do your shop at woolies and the fuel voucher gets uploaded to your account. This is automatically redeemed on your Caltex app where you can also pay. 

Shame they couldn’t figure this out with the Flybuys/Shell/Coles system. Hopefully you’ll be able to pay for fuel at 7-11 with the app.

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 36

I haven't had problems yet (knock on wood) with the Flybuys/Shell/Coles, fuel vouchers and freebie offers (love it when a chocolate milk flashes up as free) come through without hassle.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 360

Earn rates are about what was expected, looking forward to an ET comparison of the Qantas-BP and Virgin-711 schemes once this launch is made official.

18 Jan 2017

Total posts 53

It would be a little bit difficult as it’s not just dollars or spend to points. It’s a factor of what’s the price of petrol and goods as means of comparison.  

Though no doubt there will be one with a footnote of the varying costs. 

11 Nov 2020

Total posts 5

Is it still not better to go with the fly buys- with the 8 x points with a docket than 2 points per L of Premium?


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