Virgin cuts ties with BP as Qantas primes the (petrol) pump

The new points-for-petrol partnership between Qantas and BP is set to take off early next year.

By David Flynn, November 29 2019

With Qantas is gearing up to launch its new frequent flyer partnership with BP in early 2020, Virgin Australia says the current Velocity-BP alliance will end as of 31 January.

However, the actual wind-down will begin next week as BP service stations begin to remove their stock of temporary Velocity membership cards, which let customers instantly and effortlessly join the Velocity rewards program.

Virgin’s exit from the five-year relationship follows tentative approval of the Qantas-BP partnership by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which expects to make a final determination in February 2020.

The new Qantas-BP partnership has received a tentative green light from the ACCC.
The new Qantas-BP partnership has received a tentative green light from the ACCC.

“We consider that these arrangements will provide public benefits, for example by giving consumers more opportunity to earn and use rewards program points,” says ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway.

“We don’t think the planned arrangements will have any significant negative impact on competition.”

“Qantas has the biggest loyalty reward scheme in Australia in terms of member numbers, and BP is a major petrol retailer. However, there are many retailers, petrol and non-petrol, that could participate as partners in other loyalty programs.”

The points-for-petrol alliance will also see BP Plus fuel cards “become the exclusive fuel partner" of the Qantas Business Rewards program, with the ACCC granting interim authorisation for this to begin on 1 February 2020. 

How the Qantas-BP partnership will work

Qantas’ points-for-petrol play will launch in early 2020 alongside the newly-minted BP Rewards loyalty program, with customers able to earn Qantas Points when buying petrol, drinks or snacks at one of 1,400 BP service stations around Australia.

BP Rewards is similar to the BPme Rewards program already running in the UK and USA, but reportedly “tailored for the Australian market.”

BP's Qantas hookup will tie into the petrol company's new BP Rewards program.
BP's Qantas hookup will tie into the petrol company's new BP Rewards program.

BP customers will earn BP Rewards Points for every litre of fuel they buy and every additional dollar they spend at a BP service station.

While the scheme’s Australian earning rates have yet to be revealed, BPme Rewards rates in the UK for example are set at one BP Reward Point per litre of Regular fuel and two BP Reward Points per litre of Ultimate fuel, plus one BP Reward Point for every additional £1 spent on goods at the outlet.

The Australian scheme will let customers choose to either earn BP Rewards points, which can be applied as a cash discount at BP outlets – as a reference point, the 'exchange rate' in BP's UK scheme sees 200 points redeemed as £1 – or to earn Qantas Points directly.

“Drivers spend thousands of dollars on fuel each year, our partnership with BP is an easy way for frequent flyers to earn points and get closer to their dream trip,”says Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth.

Does Virgin have another petrol partner in the wings?

While there was speculation that Virgin Australia would seek to sign up another petrol outlet as a Velocity partner, no movement has been reported on this front.

As previously reported, Virgin Australia earlier this month assumed full ownership and control of the Velocity Frequent Flyer program after buying back the 35% stake held by Affinity Equity Partners for $700 million. Affinity bought into Velocity in 2014 for $335 million, with then-CEO John Borghetti saying the deal would allow Virgin to “accelerate the program’s strategy and realise its full potential as a world class loyalty business”.

“The strategic relationships that Affinity Partners is going to bring to the deal, we couldn’t buy that. It will give us a truly what I would call eventually a new standard of loyalty program that far exceeds our current boundaries both geographically and from a strategic point of view.”

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.

THR
THR

20 Sep 2012

Total posts 60

Goodbye BP

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 271

7-11 fuel is by far the cheapest, plus they allow you to lock in for a week at lower cost per litre. They seem far more competitive then the major oil companies.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 39

.... yes Mightyreds, and better still, Seven-11 has Krispy Kreme donuts, unlike the sad fare (i.e the food, not the flight) offering at BP. So, although I doubt it, if there was just one, single smart CRM person within the Virgin mother-ship reading here (instead of their Linkedin account or Facebook), they might just want to start dining/golfing with the owner/CEO of 7-11.

Just sayin ...

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 264

Yeah I just use local ‘Metro' station, cheaper than big brand names.

04 Feb 2016

Total posts 4

Bye BP. Hello Shell.

NMC
NMC

Etihad - Etihad Guest

27 Apr 2019

Total posts 1

I only used it if I needed fuel and price was competitive.

JKH
JKH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 133

Any inside knowledge whether QFF points will apply if paying by fuel/fleet cards at BP?

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Apr 2017

Total posts 3

I'd also like an answer to this. I was using my Velocity card with BP, but then they stopped offering rewards with MotoPass so I switched to Coles/Shell which offers FlyBuys (better than nothing).

I would happily go back to BP if they allow MotoPass to earn rewards.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 39

Clearly someone at BP has just cracked it into the QANTAS Chairman's Lounge, too bad for BP's middle management who were Velocity members and will now be stuck out in the Qantas regular lounge with the rest of us. Surely there must be a BP 'Whilste-blower' who can shed light on this ???

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Dec 2016

Total posts 11

Gave up using BP almost 3 years ago as it was cheaper to buy my points, BP where the first to raise and last to drop price in the never ending circle of petrol price rip off, Qantas members can have it they obviously can afford it as Qantas has always been more expensive for flying with some of the worst cabin service and food, yes unfortunately my business occasionally puts me through the ordeal of reshuffle, cancelled and always late Qantas

29 Nov 2019

Total posts 2

Who cares really, BP, much like Shell are virtually always the highest cost fuels in WA. Better off using sites like Fuelwatch and watching the price cycle(fuel companies confusing the public) to extract the best value, as it all adds up and in my opinion, far outweighs the value of points.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

24 Jan 2013

Total posts 12

BP will never get another cent from me after they switch to Qantas and I daresay many others will vote with their feet too.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Apr 2017

Total posts 3

I highly doubt it; sales will increase once the rewards program is implemented. Far more people out there chasing QFF points over Velocity.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Jun 2019

Total posts 4

No we won't

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 May 2019

Total posts 5

BP fuel is so expensive, it's ridiculous, agree with Mightyreds, plus 7/11 also have special offers on their app.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 210

Very rarely use BP as they are just not competitive, this change does nothing to add value,so no change for me. Nothing lost, nothing gained.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 300

You get that, move on just wish there were more Shell Service Stations.

08 Sep 2018

Total posts 4

I have a family owned BP station near me in Adelaide since 1983. It is ALWAYS cheaper than the Coles/Shell station 100 metres away. Their LPG is 10c-15c per litre cheaper always. But Victoria country is still 10c litre cheaper than SA for LPG for possible supplier profiteering reasons. If Woolies is cheaper with discount, I go there.


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