When you fill up your car, should you go to BP and earn Qantas Points, Caltex to earn Woolworths Rewards Points (convertible to Qantas Points), or Coles Express to earn flybuys points (convertible to Velocity Points) to get the most value? We take a look below.

As a quick exercise, we calculate the petrol station spend required per point to redeem for a Domestic Business Class flight on Qantas or Virgin Australia between Sydney and Melbourne, which we all hope to be able to take sooner rather than later, in order to determine which deal is the best value.

The former requires 18,400 Qantas Points whereas the latter requires 15,500 Velocity Points

## Important notes before doing the numbers

- We have assumed that fuel is $1.20 per litre (obviously this fluctuates over time) and that no discount vouchers are being used
- BP offers points per litre, Caltex and Coles Express (using the 4c/L discount) offer points per dollar, while Coles Express (using the 8 bonus points/L option) offers a combination of the two (points/$ for the base points and points/L for the bonus points)
- We assume that you are purchasing 91 Unleaded fuel
- We aren’t including in-store purchases as part of the comparison

### Qantas and BP

The following Qantas Points can be earned when purchasing fuel at BP outlets:

- 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 $1 spent on eligible in-store products

Using our $1.20 per litre and purchasing 91 Unleaded fuel assumptions, then you will spend $1.20 for every Qantas Point earned ($1.20 / 1).

Given that you need 18,400 Qantas Points to get that Qantas Business Class flight, that equates to a relative ‘cost’ of $22,080 spent on fuel at BP.

### Woolworths Rewards and Caltex

Whilst you’ll earn 1 Woolworths Rewards point per dollar spent on fuel (and only fuel), you can only convert those points to Qantas Points once your account has 2,000 Woolworths Points, at which point you can transfer over to Qantas Frequent Flyer, giving you 1,000 points.

**Note: Woolworths Rewards does not operate in Tasmania.**

### flybuys and Coles Express

Coles Express offers 1 flybuys point per $2 spent. flybuys can then be transferred to Velocity Frequent Flyer at a rate of 2,000 FlyBuys points = 870 Velocity points, so 1 flybuys point = 0.435 Velocity points. Under a 15% bonus promotion, this increases to 1 flybuys point = 0.5 Velocity points.

Flybuys members do have an option to forgo the 4c/L discount in exchange for 8 bonus flybuys points/L *in addition to* the 0.5 flybuys points/$1 (actual earn rate is 1 flybuys points/$2 spent) already earned when you spend **$30 or more on a Coles shop**. This means that for each litre of fuel purchased, flybuys members will receive 8 points plus a further 0.6 flybuys points based on earn rate of 0.5 flybuys points/$ spent and a fuel price of $1.20/L for a total of 8.6 flybuys points per dollar spent.

## A comparison by numbers

Frequent flyer program-petrol station | Qantas-BP (for 91 Unleaded) | Woolworths Rewards-Caltex | flybuys-Coles Express (4c discount) | flybuys-Coles Express (8 bonus points) |
---|---|---|---|---|

Earn rate | 1 Qantas Point per litre | 1 Woolworths Point per $1 (= 0.5 Qantas Points after conversion) | 1 flybuys point per $2 (= 0.435 Velocity Points after conversion) | 8.6 flybuys point per litre |

Points needed to redeem a Business Class flight between Sydney and Melbourne | 18,400 Qantas Points | 18,400 Qantas Points | 35,632 flybuys points | 35,632 flybuys points |

Fuel spend required | $22,080(18,400 points x $1.20 spent per Qantas point) | $36,800 (18,400 Qantas Points x $2 spent per Qantas Point) | $68,889(35,632 points x $2 spent per flybuys point less 59,387 litres needed to earn required flybuys points x $0.04) | $4,971(35,632 points x 13.95c spent per flybuys point) |

## So, which one will earn you most value?

Using those numbers above, and this specific flight comparison, **it is clear that the flybuys-Coles Express tie-up using the 8-point bonus points promotion gives you the best bang for your buck**, about four times as valuable as the Qantas-BP and seven times the Woolworths Rewards-Caltex combinations. Ironically, the flybuys-Coles Express using the 4c fuel discount option comes out worst, even when factoring in the value of the 4c discount.

## Summing up

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 new BP-Qantas partnership.

As is often discussed in most of the articles on this site, there is a myriad of ways to earn points, and so long as you are doing more than a few of them, then rewards are not far away, and every little bit adds up.

*Images courtesy of respective fuel companies.*

The refill canisters are (go figure) cheaper in a Coles Express/Shell ($19) than a normal Coles ($20-21), so two of those equals a spend of way over the $20 minimum required to spend in-store at Coles Express to net a 10c per litre discount. I combine this with a normal Coles voucher for 4c per litre and a CityLink/Linkt 4c per litre voucher available daily in their app, to stack for a combined 18c per litre discount.

That said, I’ve now decided to flip the FlyBuys earn to the 8 points per litre option instead, as one 4c per litre discount (earned from a $30 spend at normal Coles’ stores) teamed with the 10c per litre discount (earned for spending $20 or more instore at Coles Express/Shell) will work far better for us all round. YMMV.

for the record in my area, BP/Coles are always 1-2c more than woolies, every now and again they are the same,

woolies I use the 4c fuel voucher + 5% wish gift, so at $1.40 average, thats 7c discount,

net discount of 11c,

I know sometimes coles gives out 8c or even 10c vouchers,

so in my mind until the discount is more than 11c, woolies wins all the way,and thats ignoring the 1-2c price difference between the petrol stations

Any reason why getting the points would be better?

Also, you’ve neglected to consider the “Cash” Option of buying the cost of the flight outright?

I value FlyBuys as 0.5c/point: 200 points is redeemable for $1 at Coles, which could be put towards a GiftCard (e.g. Flight Center or Prepaid Mastercard), which could then be used elsewhere. The evaluation of 45,000 FlyBuys points would be worth AU$225 – would that be comparable or more expensive than a MEL>SYD in Business?

Some medium-length Virgin Australia flights (eg SYD-CNS SYD-ZQN) are relatively cheap with Etihad miles (6900 EY vs 16900 VA for Economy)

If you have an Platinum Edge Amex you can earn 2 MR pts/$ at BP but 3/$ (using Coles Group Giftcard bought at Coles) or even 4/$ (with giftcard and local champion bonus) at Shell

In practice the price of fuel (including any needed to divert to the petrol station) usually outweighs any point gains. The 4c docket for Shell from Coles will affect this.

At Caltex Woolworths, you can use a 5% discount WISH card bought with Platinum Edge for 3 MR pts/$ as well as a Woolworths discount voucher (and some Myer points if it is branded both Woolworths and Starmart)

Let’s assume you buy a $100 gift card, and spend every cent on fuel just for the simplicity of calculation. If you get the card at a 5% discount, the $100 card cost you $95, saving you $5. If you buy the card on an Amex Platinum Edge that earns 3 MR points per dollar for Woolies, and if you value MR points at 2c per point as Keith does in his points valuation page, then you would get $5.70 value from the $95 you spend on buying that gift card. At this point we’ve gotten $10.70 value for a $100 fill up.

Next, most people would have a 4c/L voucher, which for a $100 fill up at 110c/L would save you $3.64. After all those calculations, you add the 0.435 QF points per dollar giving 43 QF points (rounded down), which would be worth $0.60 if valued at 1.4c per point. Once everything is added together, your $100 fill at a Woolworths Caltex netted you $14.94 of value, almost 15% of your fuel spend.

If we go back to BP/Velocity, again if we pay with the Amex Platinum Edge, we would only get 2 points per dollar at the check out, getting us $3.40 of value in MR points. Once I swipe my Velocity card at the check out, the 2 Velocity points I earn per dollar would be worth $2.40 if I value the points at 1.2c per point. So in the end, my $100 fill at BP only nets me $5.80 or 5.8%.

Now of course, redemption of points varies and personal circumstances and preferences dictate which points to earn, but when the overall difference is a massive 2.58x, I think it’s worth pausing to think about where to fill up. Even if you don’t have an Amex card with such a high earn rate, the 5% discount you can easily get from gift cards stacked with the 4c/L voucher easily overwhelms the extra Velocity points you earn.