Aviation

ACCC green lights Qantas-BP partnership, but raises concerns over consumer data

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

Australia’s consumer watchdog has given Qantas the green light for its loyalty partnership with petrol giant BP.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it will allow Qantas, BP Australia and independent BP petrol stations to collectively participate in their respective loyalty programs for the next five years.

The authorised arrangements include allowing BP 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.

“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 noted 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,” Ridgeway said.

The petrol giant was previously partnered with Virgin Australia a cornerstone partner in Virgin Australia’s Velocity loyalty program, next to Wesfarmers and Coles’ flybuys program, despite the fuel giant’s bid to ditch the airline in 2017 when it tried to purchase Woolworths’ network of fuel stations.

Qantas announced its plans to partner with BP in September.

Featured image credit: iStock.com/ermingut.

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