The tie up between Qantas and BP looks set to be approved by the competition watchdog, in a move that will see frequent flyer points earned on fuel purchases from March 2020.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced it was “proposing to grant authorisation” to allow Qantas, BP Australia and independent BP petrol stations to collectively participate in each other’s reward programs.
ACCC commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said the arrangements would provide public benefits, by giving consumers more opportunity to earn and use rewards program points.
“We don’t think the planned arrangements will have any significant negative impact on competition,” Mr Ridgeway said.
“There are many retailers, petrol and non-petrol that could participate as partners in other loyalty programs.”
Mr Ridgeway said the ACCC’s only reservations related to the potential for consumer harm, arising from BP sharing consumer data with Qantas as a result of the arrangements.
“We encourage BP and Qantas to adopt the recommendations regarding the collection and use of customer data in the ACCC’s final report into customer loyalty schemes when it is published,” he said.
A Qantas spokeswoman said the only customer data shared between BP and Qantas was the information that would allow them to ensure Qantas points were earned correctly, such as their frequent flyer number and the number of points earned.
“We know being able to earn Qantas points on fuel and instore purchases across BP will be very popular among our 13 million frequent flyers and 250,000 Qantas Business Rewards members,” she said.
The partnership is due to take effect in March, after the current troubled marriage between Virgin Australia’s Velocity program and BP officially ends.
In 2017 Virgin took the fuel company to court for trying to end their points contract.
Qantas frequent flyers will still be able to earn points through Caltex service stations via the Woolworths Everyday Rewards program.