Velocity Frequent Flyer chief executive Neil Thompson says new points-earning opportunities such as the partnership with BP is latest initiative to increase the program’s membership base.

The loyalty program of Virgin Australia currently has about 4.9 million members and is aiming to reach seven million by 2017.

Thompson says adding fuel purchases – the partnership was launched at a petrol station in Sydney’s inner west on Wednesday – to the list of ways members can earn points “extends the reach of the program”.

“Fuel is a regular purchase by a lot of people and it is one that BP’s research certainly showed that their customers wanted to be recognised and rewarded by doing that,” Thompson said at the launch on Wednesday.

“It’s a good story for people who are not yet members and might not be regular flyers but who fill up the car every week.

“It extends the relevance and engagement of the program.”

The Velocity-BP partnership went live with a soft launch last week. Velocity members earn two points per litre for petrol purchases and two points per dollar on in-store items by swiping their membership card at a pin-pad. Non-members can join Velocity on the spot and earn points for that transaction with a temporary membership card available at the register.

Thompson said there had already been a noticeable lift in new memberships since the soft launch on April 16.

“Just in the last few days we have seen our daily new membership numbers more than double,” Thompson said.

“We wanted to make sure that it was a simple one-swipe process for existing members and that there was a simple joining process for new members.”

BP president in Australia and New Zealand Andy Holmes said it was the first partnership between a fuel provider and an airline loyalty program in Australia.

“BP’s partnership with Velocity Frequent Flyer is a win for our customers, who will benefit every time they enter one of our stores,” Holmes said in a statement.

About 1,000 BP stores around Australia are part of the partnership with Virgin.

Virgin’s domestic rival Qantas had about 10 million members of its frequent flyer program.

Extracted in full from Australian Aviation.