Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is the AA Smartfuel Card A Claytons Card?

Apart from the 3 years I lived in Fiji in the mid 70/s I have been an AA member since I bought my first car, a Hillman Imp in late 1965 or early 1966. My father made me join before he would let me buy the car. I have utilised their services a number of times over the years - mainly for flat batteries due to car lights being left on.

When AA introduced their rewards system I used to fill up at BP Service Stations and from time to time a $20 voucher would arrive in the post. Late last year they changed to:

AA Smartfuel

Soon after I bowled into one of Hastings BP stations and filled up, I had already enjoyed their introductory 6c off offer at my nearby Caltex garage, cost was about $107.00 and I handed over my Smartfuel Card expecting at least 4c a litre off to be told when I asked what the discount was that there was none but, I could buy some sunglasses and get a discount.

My next experience was to visit my closest BP with my 5 litre can for lawnmower fuel and my 9kg gas cylinder - total cost about $45.00. Sorry your card doesn't apply for Gas and you have to spend $40 on fuel to get a discount.

Finally last week I filled my car at my nearby Caltex station at a cost of about $110.00. Armed with my Smartfuel Card and a New World 6c a litre off voucher - I went to Caltex because they were advertising 6c off with a Smartfuel Card - I asked the till operater (remember when they used to serve you at the pump) which would be best and he said the New World voucher because it would cover my whole purchase whereas the Smartfuel Card was limited to the first 50 litres.

I see BP are offering 2c a litre discount until the 28 January. How generous of them when I can get 4c a litre off just by spending $20 at a supermarket. Caltex at least has 6c a litre off until then. I can't wait to see what the February offers are.

In the meantime I think the AA Smartfuel Card is not as smart as the AA advertising suggests.


Anonymous said...

I spend $700 - $800 a month on fuel. I almost always used BP because at least I got something back in rewards points on the AA card.

Thank you AA, I no longer prefer BP. Oh - except when silly Greens want us to avoid using BP then I will exclusively buy petrol there.


WWallace said...

Agreed, pdm. The latest AA card is useless for discounts. I never use it.

Plus, while Gull is cheaper than everyone else, I'll support them -- to encourage price competition on petrol sales.

pdm said...

para - Caltex seem the best bet for the AA Card, otherwise Shell and Fly Buys.

WW - Gull is a fair bit out of my way in Hastings. I am hardly ever in that part of town.

Anonymous said...

The AA card is as useful as the proverbial chocolate teapot. It joins a long line of failed promotional follies on the part of the AA-BP axis.

Remember Kaching-Go?

Anonymous said...

It's the same witha lot of these schemes, start out with a hiss and a roar, over estimate the take up and benefits, underestimate the costs of running them and margin improvement. You end up having to restructure the whole thing to make is sustainable, but then it is different so less attractive, so it doesn't meet targets. etc etc etc.

The best/worst one was the Hoover one in the UK which offered free flights if you bought an appliance. Uptake was so high it basically put the company out of business because the promotion cost more than the sales revenue.

That said, it's a bit lame whinging about someone giving you stuff for free but it's not as much as you want. Sounds almost like that solo mum who can't be bothered working because she 'only' gets $50 more than not working


pdm said...

Insider - the card has not delivered on it's launch advertising as far as I can see. This puts it under the scrutiny of the Consumer Guarantees and Fair Trading Acts if someone should complain.

Somehat different to your beneficiary example.

anon 9.41am - how about a nickname.

Paulus said...

My local BP has an 8c a litre occasionally. I am told to watch the sign when the offer is on, so I watch. I am not enamoured by the AA card new system.

Anonymous said...

BP is always the most expensive petrol in Wanganui. I too was surprised when I purchased 60L of petrol at Caltex and found the 6c discount was only on the first 50L. I agree that Gull is always the cheapest and will always support them.