When you fuel up your car, you could earn Qantas Points with BP directly or with Ampol (through Woolworths Everyday Rewards). Alternatively, you could choose to boost your Velocity Points balance at Coles Express via Flybuys or directly with 7-Eleven stores nationwide.
A new option in 2023, with the revival of Caltex in different hands, is Caltex Rewards points. However, those points aren’t tied to a frequent flyer program, yet.
But which option gives you the most value? We take a look below, crunching the numbers on which one could get you to your flight reward sooner. Of course, we don’t expect anyone to rely solely on fuel to earn enough points for a flight. But it can play a part in your overall points strategy.
How did we work out the figures?
Because we need a baseline reward to aim for, we’re calculating the petrol spend required to redeem for a Sydney-Melbourne domestic Business Class flight on Qantas (18,400 pts) or Virgin Australia (15,500 pts).
There are some important assumptions and notes to consider:
- We are assuming that you are purchasing Unleaded 91 fuel at 210.9 c/L (yes, inflation!). Some examples use Unleaded 95 at 220.9 c/L and Unleaded 98 at 239.9 c/L. Of course, petrol prices fluctuate frequently, so we use these set figures for comparison purposes.
- BP offers Qantas Points per litre, depending on the petrol type.
- Caltex and Coles Express (using the 4c/L discount) offer points per dollar spent, regardless of petrol type.
- Coles Express (using the 8 bonus points/L option) offers Flybuys points for both the amount spent and the amount fuelled.
- 7-Eleven offers Velocity Points per litre of fuel, depending on the petrol type.
Qantas and BP
|Estimated spend for a Business Class flight: around AU$22,071 [Ultimate 98] to AU$38,806 [other fuels]|
The following Qantas Points can be earned when purchasing fuel at BP fuel stations nationwide:
- 2 Qantas Point per litre of BP Ultimate 98 Motor Fuel.
- 1 Qantas Point per litre of 91, 95, Diesel, Ultimate Diesel or LPG.
- 1 Qantas Point per AU$1 spent on eligible in-store products.
See our calculations for BP:
With regular fuel purchases, you’ll spend one dollar per Qantas Point earned while at BP fuel stations. Given that you need 18,400 Qantas Points to get that Qantas Business Class flight, that equates to a relative ‘cost’ of $38,806 spent on most fuels at BP, assuming a bowser cost of 210.9 cents per litre.
But if you exclusively fuelled up on BP Ultimate 98 instead, say at an average price of 239.9 cents per litre, then you’d only need to pump 9,200L at a rough cost of $22,071 before unlocking that Qantas Business Class flight.
This is because Ultimate 98 fuel is never usually double the price of other fuel types, but you do earn double the Qantas Points. So it’s more efficient to buy Ultimate 98 if you wish to reach your flight reward faster.
- Spend $38,806 with regular fuels, or
- Spend $22,071 with BP Ultimate 98
to earn enough Qantas Points for a Sydney-Melbourne reward flight.
Everyday Rewards and Ampol
|Estimated spend for a Business Class flight: around AU$36,800|
While you’ll earn one Everyday Rewards point per AU$1 spent on fuel (and only fuel) at participating outlets, you can only convert those points to Qantas Points once your account has 2,000 Everyday Rewards points. Once transferred, you’ll normally get 1,000 Qantas Points in your account.
See our calculations for Ampol:
To get the requisite 18,400 Qantas Points for a Business Class flight, you’d first need to accumulate 36,800 Woolworths Everyday Rewards points. Through fuel alone, and at an assumed price of 210.9 cents per litre of U91 fuel, you would need to purchase 17,449 litres at a total cost of $36,800 to earn the required 36,800 Woolworths Everyday Rewards points – quite a hefty ask.
Members of Woolworths Everyday Rewards may be able to collect vouchers to redeem a 4 cents/L discount on fuel purchases, after spending $30 or more at Woolworths supermarkets.
With a business AmpolCard, you will earn 2 points per litre of premium fuel and 1 point per litre of other fuels (plus in-store purchases and services). But since this is a business-specific offer, we’ve excluded it from the analysis.
- Spend $36,800 with any fuel or in-store
to earn enough Everyday Rewards points to convert to Qantas Points for a Sydney-Melbourne reward flight.
Flybuys and Coles Express
|Estimated spend for a Business Class flight: from AU$7,276 to $62,000|
Coles Express offers one Flybuys point per $2 spent on fuel. Those points can then be transferred to Velocity Frequent Flyer at a rate of 1,000 Flybuys points to 500 Velocity points – essentially the same as Qantas/Everyday Rewards.
In addition to the standard earn rate, members also can earn discount vouchers when spending more than $30 at Coles supermarkets, which has two uses:
- A standard 4c/L discount on fuel, or
- 8 bonus Flybuys points per litre of fuel.
The ability to boost your earn rate by 8 points per litre is an interesting one indeed. We’d recommend picking this option instead of the 4c/L discount for the reasons detailed below. You can adjust your Flybuys reward settings here.
See our calculations for Coles Express:
As you need 15,500 Velocity Points for the shortest Business Class flights, that’s equivalent to 31,000 Flybuys points. If you take up the standard 4c/L discount option (bringing it down to 206.9 cents per litre), you would need to purchase 29,966 litres at a total cost of $62,000 to earn the required 31,000 Flybuys points – again, quite a hefty ask.
But if you take up the 8 bonus Flybuys points per litre option, and assuming you fuel up 30L at a time at an average cost of 210.9 cents per litre ($63.27 per visit), you’d get around 271 Flybuys Points a visit (31 points from the spend and 240 points from the bonus).
It would take you 115 visits to earn enough points for Business Class, at a rough cost of just $7,276.
This is potentially one of the most rewarding fuel partnerships at the moment – if you choose the 8 points.
- Choose the 8 bonus points per litre reward, and
- Spend $7,276 over 115 visits with Unleaded 91 fuel (assuming average tank of 30L/$63.27 per visit)
to earn enough Flybuys points to convert to Velocity Points for a Sydney-Melbourne reward flight.
Velocity and 7-Eleven
|Estimated spend for a Business Class flight: around AU$17,120 [premium fuels] to AU$32,690 [other fuels]|
The following Velocity Points can be earned when purchasing fuel at 7-Eleven fuel stations nationwide:
- 2 Velocity Points per litre of premium fuels including Unleaded 95 and 98.
- 1 Velocity Point per litre of regular fuels including diesel, LPG and Unleaded 91.
- 2 Velocity Points per AU$1 spent on eligible in-store products.
See our calculations for 7-Eleven:
With regular fuel purchases, you’ll earn one Velocity Point for every litre purchased at 7-Eleven. Given that you need 15,500 Velocity Points to get that Virgin Australia Business Class flight, that equates to a relative ‘cost’ of $32,690 spent on Unleaded 91, assuming a bowser cost of 210.9 cents per litre.
But if you exclusively fuelled up on Premium Unleaded 95 instead, say at an average price of 220.9 cents per litre, then you’d only need to pump 7,750L at a rough cost of $17,120 before unlocking that Business Class flight.
The Velocity/7-Eleven partnership is potentially more fruitful than the Qantas/BP tie-up because double points are earned on the cheaper Premium Unleaded 95 fuel with 7-Eleven, but not with BP.
Also, with 7-Eleven’s popular price fuel lock on its app, you can secure a lower price during the week and use it when you fuel up.
- Spend $32,690 on regular fuel, or
- Spend $17,120 on Unleaded 95 fuel
to earn enough Velocity Points for a Sydney-Melbourne reward flight.
Special mention: Caltex Rewards
Caltex stations (and some previously Puma stations) are now part of the Caltex Rewards program. There’s no frequent flyer link, but here’s a quick look at how you can earn and use points.
- 2 Caltex Rewards points per litre of Premium Unleaded 98.
- 1 Caltex Rewards point per litre of all other fuels.
500 points are worth $10 off the next time you refuel.
- Spend $1,055 on regular fuel, or
- Spend $578 on Premium Unleaded 98 fuel
to earn 500 Caltex Rewards points, worth $10 off on your next visit.
Which partnership earns you the most points?
- Coles Express (Flybuys + Velocity) with Unleaded 91 fuel + the 8 points/L reward.
- 7-Eleven (Velocity) with Unleaded 95 fuel.
- BP (Qantas) with BP Ultimate 98 fuel.
|Frequent flyer program/fuel chain||Earn rate||Points needed to redeem a Business Class flight between Sydney and Melbourne||Fuel spend required|
|Qantas/BP||Regular fuel||1 Qantas Point per litre||18,400 Qantas Points||Assuming 210.9c/L for U91
$38,806 for 18,400L of fuel
|BP Ultimate 98||2 Qantas Points per litre||Assuming 239.9c/L for U98
$22,071 for 9,200L of fuel
|Woolworths Rewards/Ampol||All fuel types||1 Everyday Rewards point per A$1||18,400 Qantas Points from 36,800 Everyday Rewards Points|
(2 Everyday Rewards points = 1 Qantas Point)
|Assuming 210.9c/L for U91
$36,800 for 17,449L of fuel
|Flybuys/Coles Express||Using 4c/dollar discount||1 Flybuys point per A$2||15,500 Velocity Points from 31,000 Flybuys Points|
(2 Flybuys points = 1 Velocity Point)
|Assuming 206.9c/L after discount
$62,000 for 29,996L of fuel
|Using 8 points/dollar bonus||8 Flybuys points per litre + 1 Flybuys point per A$2||Assuming 210.9c/L for U91 and 30L of fuel per transaction
$7,276 for 3,450L of fuel over 115 transactions
|Velocity/7-Eleven||Regular fuel||1 Velocity Point per litre||15,500 Velocity Points||Assuming 210.9c/L for U91
$32,690 for 15,500L of fuel
|Premium fuel||2 Velocity Points per litre||Assuming 229.9c/L for U95
$17,120 for 7,750L of fuel
From this example, it’s clear that the Flybuys-Coles Express tie-up gives you the best bang for your buck when using your voucher for eight bonus points per litre fuelled. That will supercharge you to a Virgin Australia flight via Velocity Frequent Flyer much quicker than any other partnership.
The next best option is getting Premium Unleaded 95 fuel from 7-Eleven which awards two Velocity Points per dollar. Coming in 3rd place is fuelling up with BP Ultimate 98, which awards two Qantas Points per dollar.
All things being equal (including fuel prices), if you are working towards a flight redemption, you’re likely to get there quicker if you fill up at Coles Express and take advantage of the 8c bonus points option, which will ultimately allow you to transfer your Flybuys points to Velocity Points.
For those wishing to earn Qantas Points, however, you should direct your spending towards the BP-Qantas partnership, particularly if you purchase BP Ultimate 98 fuel. But the new Velocity/7-Eleven partnership is very competitive too.
Remember that the examples in this guide are based on fixed petrol rates – in real life, this will fluctuate so your earnings may increase or decrease proportionally to fuel prices. This also doesn’t take into account paying your fuel with a rewards-earning credit card, which could see you sitting at the front of the plane even sooner.
We’re also not saying you should stick with one brand loyally. With the cost-of-living pressures, it makes sense to fuel up at the cheapest station in your area. But if you do have a choice, then knowing which partnership earns you the most points will help you enjoy a reward flight sooner.
Images courtesy of respective fuel companies. This article was originally written by Daniel Scibberas.
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