If you’re familiar with the BP card and the rewards system, you’re likely aware that BP offered one of the best gasoline rewards programs available (earn 5% rebates on their gasoline). As part of a 500 million dollar marketing plan, BP has decided to give its rewards program a million dollar overhaul. This overhaul was initially supposed to have taken place two years ago but instead will become effective March 1, 2012.
As noted in BP’s press release1, this million dollar marketing plan is supposed to include “a distinctive fuel offer, improved customer experience, and a more compelling loyalty rewards program…” BP also plans on including the energy sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic Committee and Team USA as part of this marketing plan. Besides all of these other changes that BP has planned, the one new change that cardholders seem to be the most interested in is the “upgraded” rewards program.
BP’s newly launched Pump Rewards payment technology is supposed to be groundbreaking technology which allows customers to redeem cents per gallon rebates immediately by essentially rolling back the price at the pump. Not only this great benefit, but other forms of technology such as the ability to distribute rebate codes that can be used once at the pump, but also the ability to produce third party promotional cards that customers can personalize for other offers are included in the new Pump Rewards technology.
How is the New Pump Rewards Different From the Old Pump Rewards?
According to the press release, you may wonder how the new multimillion dollar marketing plan is different than the old Pump Rewards system. Better yet, you’re probably wondering if the new plan is actually an upgrade, how you will earn the rewards in the new system, and whether the BP card is still the greatest gasoline credit card on the market. Here is a quick comparison of both of the formulas and an explanation of how they work.
The Old Rebate Formula vs the New Rebate Formula
As mentioned in the introduction as well as the review on this site, the old Chase BP Visa card was one of the better if not best gas credit cards available because of the rewards program. Not only could you earn significant rewards and discounts on gasoline purchases but you could earn extra rebates on travel and dining purchases and other purchase s as well.
With the old system, within the first 60 days of card ownership, you earned 10% rebates on up to $500 worth of gasoline purchases, 4% on dining and travel, and 2% on all other purchases. After 60 days, you were able to earn 5% rebates at BP Amoco stations and 2% rebate on every $1.00 of net purchases made at retail establishments classified as Dining Airline, Auto Rental, or Lodging and also a 1% rebate on all other net purchases.
With the new BP Reward Formula, within the first 60 days, cardholders earn 25 cents per gallon for each $100 in eligible purchases. You can use this rebate on a one time purchase of up to 20 gallons. Purchases of non BP gasoline such as at other gas stations means you don’t receive a rebate. These special rewards are also not available for the standard BP card, but rather the Visa Signature or BP Visa for the first 60 days. In order to get the most from the new Pump Rewards program, you would need to drive a vehicle that could handle purchasing 20 gallons of fuel at one time. If you receive your rebates with the new Pump Rewards program in the form of an immediate price reduction, you will also receive the maximum rewards on 20 gallons of fuel. However, even if you max out what is available (which is actually unlikely) you will still be receiving approximately half of what you would have with the old Pump Rewards Program (within the first 60 days of card ownership).
After 60 days with the new BP Rewards Program, instead of the previous 5% rebate that most consumers would have received, cardholders receive a 15 cent rebate per gallon up to 20 gallons for each $100 spent. For everything else, you earn 5 cents off on up to 20 gallons. The standard BP card only offers 5 cents per gallon and not the 15 cent per gallon rebate which is available for BP Visa Signature and BP Visa cards. If you add the numbers, you’ll find that the old rewards program is better than the new after 60 days of membership as well as for the first 60 days.
And the reason because of where gas prices are today. For you to earn an equivalent of 5% rebates using the Visa signature card, gasoline prices need to be $3.00 a gallon. As you all know, we are quite a long way from that!
Other Not So Great Changes
As if earning less in rebates weren’t enough, there are also additional restrictions with the new program that make it more difficult to earn the already limited rebates. For example, rebates expire 12 months after they are earned, you have to purchase 20 gallons of gas to maximize your rebates (sorry you may have to purchase a larger vehicle for this to work out for you), and you cannot use these rebates at the pump in Alabama or New Jersey.
Although the BP Rewards Program was once the best in its league, it has now followed what other gas cards have been doing by paying rebates based off an amount per gallon rather than a percentage of the money you spend on gasoline. It is a bit admirable maybe for BP to launch a 500 million dollar marketing campaign, but consumers are already seeing how the change in the Pump Rewards system is not actually an upgrade, but a rewards program that is now barely able to stand up next to better cash back gasoline cards. The convenience that the new, immediate rebate at the pump provides to cardholders with the new BP Pump Rewards system is clearly not worth earning less in rebates and rewards.