Virgin, 7-Eleven seek Velocity 'points for petrol' partnership

In keeping with Virgin's mid-market value position, 7-Eleven would make a suitably mainstream points partner.

By David Flynn, April 7 2021
Virgin, 7-Eleven seek Velocity 'points for petrol' partnership

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 48

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 1

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 435

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 286

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 588

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 435

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

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 588

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 182

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 435

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

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 211

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 435

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

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 886

98 octane fuel is basically all the same.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 286

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 588

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 211

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 435

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.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 435

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 347

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.


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