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)
(18,400 Qantas Points x $2 spent per Qantas Point)
(35,632 points x $2 spent per flybuys point less 59,387 litres needed to earn required flybuys points x $0.04)
(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.
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.