Where can you earn the most airline rewards when paying for fuel?

Want to earn frequent flyer points for filling up your car? Compare fuel and airline reward offers to boost your points balance.

Both Virgin Australia’s Velocity Rewards and Coles flybuys have partnered with service stations to offer rewards for your fuel spending. With the price of petrol usually above $1 per litre, these reward program partnerships give you an easy way to boost frequent flyer points and get more out of your everyday spending.

So, which option is better: BP and Velocity rewards or Shell and Coles flybuys? Here we take a look at the frequent flyer points potential for both of these deals to help make your money go further.

How many frequent flyer points can I earn when buying fuel?

Rewards programFuel partnerPoints earnedFrequent flyer transfer rateEstimated points per $100* spent
 Coles flybuysShell1 point per $2 spent1 flybuys point = 0.4 Etihad Guest Miles50 flybuys points = 20 Etihad Guest Miles
Velocity RewardsBP2 points per litre of petrol2 Velocity points158 Velocity points

*Calculations based on the average fuel price of 126 cents/litre

How much would I have to spend to get a free flight?

The number of reward points you earn from your fuel spending will depend on a range of factors, including the type of vehicle you drive (and its efficiency rating), how close you are to a participating service station and competitive fuel pricing. To put it into perspective, let’s consider the different spending required to redeem a free domestic flight for each of these reward programs.

As Virgin Australia domestic reward flights can be redeemed with either Velocity Reward points or Etihad Guest Miles, we’ve used these options in the following scenarios. You can also check out other reward options on the flybuys, Etihad Guest or Velocity Frequent Flyer websites.

How much would I need to spend on fuel to redeem a flight from Sydney to Melbourne?

Sandy spends an average of $50 per week on fuel and wants to earn enough frequent flyer rewards for an economy flight from Sydney to Melbourne. Depending on whether she chose Velocity or Etihad rewards, this flight would require the following points:

Velocity points: 7,800

Etihad Guest Miles: 10,000

Rates based on Virgin Australia points tables for flights booked after 1 June 2016.

She calculates that her average fuel spending works out to be $2,600 per year and decides to compare the flybuys/Etihad and Shell offer against the Velocity and BP deal to see which will benefit her the most.

flybuys and Shell

10,000 Etihad Guest Miles = 25,000 flybuys points

To earn 25,000 flybuys points from fuel spending at a rate of 1 point per $2, Sandy would have to spend $50,000 on fuel to redeem a domestic flight. At her current rate of $50 per week and $2,600 per year, it would take Sandy over 19 years to redeem a flight using Etihad points from her fuel spending under the flybuys program.

Velocity and BP

7,800 Velocity Points = 3,900 litres of fuel

Assuming petrol is an average of 126 cents per litre, Sandy would have to spend $4,914 on fuel to redeem a domestic flight. At her current spending rate of $50 per week, that means it would take Sandy just under two years to earn enough Velocity points for her flight.

Considering Sandy wants to earn points specifically for domestic flight rewards, these details show that she gets much greater value from the Velocity and BP offer than the flybuys and Shell offer.

What rewards could I redeem if I spent $100 on fuel a week?

Jonas spends an average of $100 per week ($5,200 per year) on fuel and wants to figure out how many frequent flyer points he would earn in a year.

flybuys and Shell

  • $5,200 = 2,600 flybuys points
  • 2,600 flybuys converts to 1,040 Etihad Guest Miles

The only Etihad Guest Miles redemption Jonas could currently make with these points is for an Addatag Jolly Roger Luggage Tag (1,031 Guest Miles).

But if Jonas kept his 2,600 flybuys points instead of transferring them to Etihad Guest Miles, he could redeem them for 18 different rewards, including:

  • $10 off at Shell Coles Express
  • $10 off at Coles, First Choice Liquor, Kmart, Liquorland or Target
  • A $20 online voucher

Jonas could also save his flybuys points and redeem them for flights through flybuys travel, with options starting from 13,000 points.

Velocity and BP

  • $5,200 = 4,126 litres of fuel at 126 cents/litre
  • 4,126 litres = 8,252 Velocity Points

With these points, Jonas could almost get a one-way flight from Sydney to Melbourne. He could also use the points to redeem over 145 rewards from the Velocity catalogue, including a BP Australia $25 gift card (4,500 points), an Ecoya candle (7,500 points) or a Moki mini boombox (7,200 points).

How to boost your point earnings at service stations

You can earn even more reward points at Shell or BP by considering the following options:

  • Shop in store. Both the Coles flybuys and Velocity fuel partnerships offer you points for purchases made in participating service stations. For Coles, it is the same 1 point per $2 spent at Shell stations, while for Velocity, you get 2 points per $1 spent on in store purchases, car services and car repairs at BP.
  • Special promotions. Velocity and BP are known to run bonus point promotions that can boost your rewards balance even more, while with a Coles flybuys card you can also earn rewards for your groceries and a wide range of other shopping.
  • Reward credit cards. Getting a credit card linked to either Velocity or flybuys could also help you earn more frequent flyer rewards on your fuel spending. For example, with a Virgin Money Velocity Flyer credit card, you could earn an additional 0.66 points per $1 spent on all eligible purchases.
  • Prepaid debit cards. Both Velocity Rewards and Coles flybuys now have prepaid debit cards that earn 1 reward point for every $1 spent, which means you can double up on the points that you earn. For example, you could earn an extra 50 Velocity points per $100 spent on fuel if you paid with the Velocity Global Wallet® at BP, and an additional 50 points per $100 spent at Shell using a Coles Prepaid Mastercard.

Terms and conditions to keep in mind

If you want to earn frequent flyer rewards for your fuel, consider the following factors to keep it affordable:

  • Point caps. You can only earn Velocity points for first 150 litres of fuel per transaction and up to $100 on other purchases at BP. That means the maximum amount of points you can earn per visit is 500. There is currently no cap on flybuys points earned at Shell.
  • Eligible transactions. Both flybuys and Velocity specify that some purchases will not earn points, including tobacco and gift cards. For the full list, check the flybuys and Velocity promotion terms and conditions.
  • Fuel prices. The cost of fuel varies depending on the service station and location. Make sure you factor in these prices so that you know it is affordable to choose to pay for fuel and earn frequent flyer rewards.
  • Participating service stations. Only some BP service stations earn Velocity Rewards and only some Shell/Coles Express service stations earn flybuys. Keeping this in mind will help you plan where you stop for fuel so you can maximise your rewards.

Having the opportunity to earn airline rewards when paying for fuel gives you another way to boost your frequent flyer points balance and get value from everyday spending. By comparing the flybuys-Shell and Velocity-BP offers, you can choose the fuel rewards option that helps you get to where you want to go.

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Comparison of credit cards that earn Velocity Points

Rates last updated June 27th, 2017
Name Product Product Description Bonus Points Rewards Points per $ spent (VISA/MC) Rewards Points per $ spent (AMEX) Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Exclusive Offer
Earn 2 Velocity Points on top of the standard earn rate per $1 spent in the first 3 months, plus a $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher each year.
20.74% p.a.
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
NAB Velocity Rewards Card
You gain both an Amex and Visa card which are linked to one single account and annual fee. Low interest rate on balance transfers.
19.99% p.a.
$95 p.a.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
Receive a complimentary Virgin Australia return Economy domestic flight each anniversary year and complimentary travel insurance.
100,000 bonus points
20.74% p.a.
$375 p.a.
Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Card - 30k Bonus Points offer
Take off sooner with up to 1 Velocity Point per $1 spent and earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points. Plus, complimentary travel insurance.
30,000 bonus points
20.74% p.a.
$144 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($289 p.a. thereafter)
American Express Velocity Escape Card
Earn uncapped Velocity points on purchases and redeem for a range of rewards including flights, accommodation, car hire and gift cards.
20.74% p.a.
$0 p.a.
NAB Velocity Rewards Premium Card
Offers up to 1 Velocity point per $1 on purchases, combined with complimentary insurance covers and a concierge service.
19.99% p.a.
$150 p.a.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
Save with 0% p.a. on purchases for 12 months. Plus, up to 0.66 Velocity Points per $1 spent.
0% p.a. for 12 months (reverts to 20.74% p.a.)
$129 p.a.
American Express Velocity Business Card
Earn up to Velocity Rewards points. Download all your card expenses in a format readable by Quicken, MYOB, Microsoft Excel and more.
$249 p.a.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
Receive 40,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months.
40,000 bonus points
20.24% p.a.
$225 p.a.

Compare up to 4 providers

Comparison of credit cards that earn flybuys rewards

Rates last updated June 27th, 2017
Name Product Product Description Bonus Points Rewards Points per $ spent (VISA/MC) Rewards Points per $ spent (AMEX) Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
Receive 0.50 flybuys points for every $1 spent everywhere, plus up to 62 days interest-free on purchases.
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Coles Low Rate Mastercard
Collect 0.50 flybuys points per $1 spent at Coles supermarkets and receive up to 62 days interest-free on purchases.
12.99% p.a.
$49 p.a.
Coles Rewards Mastercard
Receive $100 off a single Coles Supermarket shop and earn flybuys points per dollar spent. Also enjoy $10 off any Coles Supermarket after redeeming 2,000 flybuys points.
19.99% p.a.
$89 p.a.
Coles Platinum No Annual Fee Mastercard
Receive 0.50 flybuys points for every $1 spent everywhere, plus up to 62 days interest-free on purchases with a higher credit limit.
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Coles Platinum Rewards Mastercard
Earn 2 flybuys points per $1 spent and earn Velocity Status Credits when you shop at select retailers.
19.99% p.a.
$89 p.a.
NAB flybuys Rewards Card
Enjoy a low interest rate rate on balance transfers. Also earn 1 point for every $1 you spend on your everyday purchases.
19.99% p.a.
$95 p.a.

Compare up to 4 providers

Amy Bradney-George

Amy is a Senior Writer at with more than 10 years experience covering credit cards, personal finance and various lifestyle topics. When she’s not sharing her knowledge on money matters, Amy spends her time as an actress.

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2 Responses to Where can you earn the most airline rewards when paying for fuel?

  1. Default Gravatar
    sherry | November 9, 2016

    how many points needed for silver and what rewards dO I GET?

    • Staff
      Harold | November 10, 2016

      Hello Sherry,

      Thank you for your question.

      You need 300 Status Credits to reach the Silver tier of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program. You then need 250 Status Credits each year to maintain this level of membership. Silver Qantas Frequent Flyer program membership offers 50% more points on eligible flights with Qantas or Jetstar and 25% more points on American Airlines and US Airways flights when compared to Bronze membership earn rates.

      For your additional reference you may find this article helpful.


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