The ACCC will allow Qantas, BP Australia and independent BP petrol stations to collectively participate in the BP Rewards, Qantas Frequent Flyer and Qantas Business Reward programs for five years.
The authorised arrangements include allowing BP to require BP-branded petrol stations to participate in the Qantas rewards programs as a condition of new BP petrol station franchise agreements, as well as when existing agreements are renewed.
“The proposed arrangements are likely to result in public benefits, such as providing consumers with more opportunities to accrue and redeem rewards program points and allowing BP to negotiate directly with Qantas on behalf of its petrol station franchisees,” ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.
“Qantas has the biggest loyalty reward scheme in Australia in terms of member numbers, and BP is a major petrol retailer. However, we don’t believe this will have a significant negative impact on competition, because there are many other retailers in Australia, in petrol and other markets, who could launch or participate in different loyalty programs.”
The ACCC was also concerned that the sharing of consumer data between independent BP petrol stations and BP, and between BP and Qantas as a result of these arrangements had the potential to cause some harm to consumers, such as a reduction in privacy.
However, the ACCC notes that 85 per cent of independent BP petrol stations are subject to the Privacy Act, and that BP is implementing additional safeguards to protect data that BP petrol stations receive.
“We encourage BP and Qantas to also adopt our recommendations relating to the collection and use of customer data, as set out in our final report into customer loyalty schemes, and also encourage the remaining BP petrol stations to agree to be covered by the Privacy Act,” Mr Ridgeway said.
The ACCC has authorised the conduct until 20 March 2025.
The ACCC’s determination is available at BP Rewards, Qantas Frequent Flyer and Qantas Business Rewards loyalty programs.
Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.
Further information can be found at BP Rewards, Qantas Frequent Flyer and Qantas Business Rewards loyalty programs.