Filling your tank at a BP service station next year may provide the option of earning Qantas or Virgin Australia frequent flyer points at the pump, following BP's $1.8 billion purchase of the Woolworths/Caltex chain.
The deal brings all 527 of the Woolworths-branded fuel outlets under the wing of BP, although it's subject to approval by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Foreign Investment Review Board.
BP already has a solid and successful partnership with Virgin Australia through which motorists earn two Velocity points per litre on fuel, plus a further two points per dollar spent at in-store shopping.
However, while Woolworths isn't a direct competitor to Virgin Australia or its Velocity scheme, the supermarket giant remains a Qantas partner and a full-blown competitor to the Flybuys scheme recently embraced by Velocity.
A BP spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller that it was too early to speculate on the fate of the current Velocity partnership pending the necessary ACCC and FIRB approval for the Woolworths deal, which is expected to take up to 12 months to finalise.
The takeover of the Woolworths-Caltex service stations will see them rebranded as BP outlets and absorbed into the larger BP network, with BP becoming "a cornerstone partner in Woolworths' Everyday Rewards loyalty program" according to a statement issued by the petrol retailer.
Motorists will be able to earn Woolworths rewards points "on both fuel and in-store purchases at most BP sites in Australia" – with those Woolworths Points then being converted to Qantas Points at the standard rate of 2,000 Woolworths points for 870 Qantas Points.
This is a more convoluted way to get points at the pump, compared to the simpler direct earn model of Virgin Australia's Velocity program – but any choice is a good choice.
Another win is that the current Woolworths/Caltex outlets currently don't let you earn Woolworths Point at the service stations' Star Mart and Star Shop retail stores.
BP will also retain Woolies' 4c per litre fuel discount at the Woolworths fuel outlets "and expand this offer to additional BP sites."
The less points-savvy will also be able to redeem their Woolworths points as a discount on purchases at BP, in the same way as they can currently do at a Woolies checkout and similar to the points-for-petrol option offered by Velocity.