Virgin Australia will aim to have a new service station partner in place for its Velocity members before BP’s tie-up with Qantas takes effect.

For the last four years, Velocity members have been able to earn points on fuel and in-store items bought at BP service stations, but that will come to an end on March 31, 2020.

The airline’s CEO Paul Scurrah said BP’s decision to dump Virgin for Qantas was “disappointing but not a major setback”.

“We have almost 10 million very loyal customers who are keen for us to have a fuel earn-and-burn partner and I’m confident we may be able to deliver one of those before the BP arrangement ceases,” Mr Scurrah told The Australian.

“We’re talking to a number of partners that will plug that gap for us.”

He said Velocity’s arrangement with Coles’ flybuys program meant members already earned points indirectly from Shell service station purchases.

“We will work with them and other partners, and other potential new partners to make sure that segment of the market for our Velocity members is covered to replace the lost opportunity of earning (points) with BP,” said Mr Scurrah.

Qantas and BP have announced a new customer loyalty partnership from early next year, whereby customers of BP service stations will be able to earn Qantas frequent flyer points.

Details of how many points will be earned on dollars spent will be revealed closer to the launch date.

BP and Virgin had been on rocky ground since 2017 when Velocity sued the oil company for trying to end their partnership earlier than planned.

At the time, BP was trying to buy Woolworths-owned Caltex service stations with the intention of rebranding them as BP.

When the $1.8bn deal was blocked by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, BP walked away from it and continued to “reward” customers with Velocity points. That will end from early next year following the agreement with Qantas.

Extracted from The Australian