08
Apr

Virgin, 7-Eleven seek Velocity ‘points for petrol’ partnership

In keeping with Virgin’s mid-market value position, 7-Eleven would make a suitably mainstream points partner.

Virgin Australia’s frequent flyers may soon be able to once again earn points at the petrol pump under a proposed tie-up between the airline’s Velocity rewards program and 7-Eleven service stations.

According to documents filed with the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which must approve the alliance, 7-Eleven could also become a redemption partner for Velocity, in case you want to swap your points for a Slurpee.

Although the ACCC is now in a ‘public consultation’ phase over the airline’s hoped-for hookup, Executive Traveller understands the partnership took shape under the reign of former Virgin CEO Paul Scurrah after former fuel ally BP switched to Qantas in early 2020.

Filling the BP gap
At the time, Scurrah described BP’s decision to dump Virgin for Qantas as “disappointing but not a major setback” and said “we’re talking to a number of partners that will plug that gap for us.”

“We have almost 10 million very loyal customers who are keen for us to have a fuel earn-and-burn partner,” he noted in late 2019.

Indeed, Executive Traveller understands that at one stage the Velocity 7-Eleven alliance was targetting a suitably on-brand launch date of November 7 (aka 7/11) 2020.

None the less, it’s now back on the agenda for the rebooted airline, with new owners Bain Capital keen to muscle up the Velocity loyalty scheme to become a strong and steady revenue channel.

Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka sees the proposed loyalty partnership as a clean win for the airline’s 10-million Velocity members, saying she was “excited by the potential to partner with a brand like 7-Eleven as we continue our journey to write a new chapter for Virgin Australia and Velocity Frequent Flyer.”

For his part, 7-Eleven CEO and Managing Director Angus McKay sees “a great brand and cultural fit… of two iconic brands in Australia.”

Direct earn for Velocity points
According to the ACCC application filed by commercial law firm King & Wood Mallesons, the alliance would encompass “any 7-Eleven store, whether franchised or corporate-owned… (to) ensure that the Velocity Programme is offered across all stores in 7-Eleven’s network.”

This network is noted as comprising over 700 “retail fuel and convenience stores”, with 7-Eleven being “the largest independent fuel retail chain in Australia” – although its fuel footprint is one-third that of BP – and becoming a “cornerstone partner” for Velocity.

Velocity points would be earned on petrol – with different rates for regular and premium – and, where available, EV charging services, along with most convenience store products and car washes.

Members would swipe their Velocity card at the point of purchase or link their Velocity memberships to the My 7-Eleven App and scan “a virtual digital card”, with a direct earn of Velocity points similar to the Qantas/BP model.

The ACCC is expected to make an early call on “interim authorisation” by May and a final ruling due in July, with the partnership running for five years.

Extracted from Executive Traveller