Robert Powell looks at the plastic you want in your wallet to get the best deal at the petrol pump...
It’s been a rough start to 2012 for both the fuel industry and drivers alike. Prices for diesel and petrol have continued to teeter amid speculation that Iran may move to blockade key fuel routes.
This was added to earlier in the week by the news that the owners of one of Britain’s biggest oil refineries had filed for bankruptcy. Petrol stations across the South East filled with drivers worried that the pumps would soon run dry.
Tensions have now been eased somewhat after Coryton oil refinery in Essex began shipments again. However fuel prices still remain wallet-crushingly high. Which is why drivers now need all the help they can get to save money at the petrol pump. Getting hold of a drivers’ loyalty card is a good start.
If you frequently visit Shell forecourts, you should get hold of the company’s Drivers’ Club Card. You’ll earn one point for every litre of fuel you buy up to a maximum of 125 litres per transaction. Bonus points can also be earned on car washes, jet washes and other Shell products.
Shell then sends you your loyalty rewards every quarter, depending on which redemption option you choose.
If you opt for the money-off option, you’ll receive £2.50 of vouchers for every 500 points you accrue.
Alternatively, every 20 points you earn can be put towards 10 Avios Miles – that’s the revamped Airmiles scheme. The points will be converted every quarter. What’s more throughout January and February 2012, every Drivers’ Club member who fills up at Shell with at least 10 litres of fuel will be entered into a draw to win one of six prizes of one million Avios Miles.
You can also exchange your points for one of the many gift cards available at Shell stations – 2,000 points will get you a £10 card.
If you’re feeling charitable, you can donate your points to a set of CO2 reduction scheme projects. Shell will match every 250 points you earn making a total of 500 points or £2.50 of rewards. This will then be given to the projects. Alternatively you can opt to donate your rewards to the RSPCA, Macmillian or Motability. Every 20 points you earn will equal a 10p donation.
Shell also has a higher tier club available for drivers who use Shell V-Power and V-Power Diesel fuel. The V-Power Club card offers double points when filling up with one of these two types of fuel.
Sign up online and you’ll receive 50 bonus points.
Texaco’s Star Rewards works along a similar line to the Shell scheme. You’ll get one point for every £1 you spend. From here, 500 points will get you one of a range of vouchers. You can choose from a £5 Texaco voucher, £5 love2shop voucher, £5 Argos gift card or £5 M&S gift voucher. Alternatively a minimum of 1,000 points will get you a £10 iTunes Gift Card or 1,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles.
Again, a charitable option is also available. For every one point you accrue 1p will be donated to Action for Children.
Star Rewards members will also be entered into a regular prize draw to win a holiday worth £5,000.
Total is still running a loyalty scheme, though it is due to come to an end in March 2012. Total Rewards offers vouchers for sports, holidays, movies and restaurants across the country to motorists spending £30 or more at Total. Vouchers can be obtained on a transaction-by-transaction basis or you can register your debit or credit card to ensure that everything you buy at Total counts towards your rewards balance.
Drivers can also benefit from monthly prize draws.
Unfortunately 27 March 2012 will be the last day for motorists filling up at Total to collect reward vouchers or enter prize draws. These reward voucher codes will then have to be banked by 31 May 2012 with a majority of offers expiring on the same day.
So if you have a Total Rewards voucher still hanging around, you’ll need to act fast or you may lose out.
Esso has no formal loyalty scheme. However the company is offering free cinema tickets to drivers who fill up in Esso forecourts. Spend between £30 and £59.99 and you’ll receive one voucher, while those buying over £60 of fuel will receive two.
When you have accumulated three vouchers, you can apply for one free cinema ticket valid at over 340 cinemas nationwide. But remember to keep your till receipts as you’ll need to send these off with the vouchers when you claim.
Supermarkets have some of the cheapest petrol around, and you can save even more by using a loyalty card. Nectar is one of the biggest loyalty schemes covering several retailers and both Sainsbury’s and BP petrol forecourts.
You’ll earn one Nectar point for every litre of fuel you purchase at a Sainsbury’s or BP petrol station and two points for every £1 you spend in a BP or Sainsbury’s store. If you use BP Ultimate fuel you can sign up for the Ultimate Club and collect double Nectar points.
From here, every 500 points will give you £2.50 to spend across a variety of stores.
The Morrisons Miles scheme will give you up to 10 ‘miles’ for every litre of petrol you buy. Collect 5,000 miles and you’ll be rewarded with £5 of in-store shopping vouchers.
You can sign up for the scheme at your nearest Morrisons forecourt.
If you fill up at Tesco petrol stations, you’ll earn one point for every £2 spent. Pay using the Tesco Clubcard Credit Card and this will double to one point for every £1 spent – as well as an additional point every time you spend £4 in store.
You’ll receive £1.50 worth of vouchers for every 150 points you collect. These can be spent in store, online, at petrol stations or on other rewards such as flying clubs, fitness memberships and days out. Check the Clubcard website for a full list.
How do you save money on fuel?
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