What to Look for in Malaysian Petrol Loyalty Programs
As Malaysians, we take our petrol very seriously.
Sometimes, something as simple as an announcement of petrol price fluctuations will trigger a sudden rush to petrol stations just so we can take advantage of the current prices before they change the next day, usually higher.
As automobile drivers and motorcycle riders, we don’t have much of a choice when it comes to buying petrol as it is basically the blood we need to keep our vehicles moving. No matter what happens, petroleum is something that we will always need for the foreseeable future and in continuous supply, much like toothpaste or even toilet paper.
One thing we do have control over, however, is where we get that petrol from. With a number of competing companies having petrol stations located almost everywhere we go, competition can be quite tough for those businesses. One way that they try to differentiate themselves and attract customers is through their loyalty programs.
What is a loyalty program?
A loyalty program is simply one where customers register and earn points for every ringgit that they spend with the business. These points can then be redeemed for things such as discounts or even products that the customer may want from whatever rewards catalogue the business has available.
These loyalty programs are more commonly seen in businesses such as airlines and hotels, but they are also being used by petrol companies to encourage customers to patronize their stations and the supporting businesses they may have on-site.
In the case of petrol stations, these reward points would usually be applicable to their on-site convenience store for items such as food, drinks, and other basic automotive items like motor oil.
How do I decide what loyalty program to choose?
With quite a number of petrol companies to choose from, how do you differentiate between the different loyalty programs? What information should you look for to help you decide which one is best for you?
Well, here are a few things to consider:
Location, location, location
First and foremost, when choosing which petrol station or company to be loyal to, the most important thing is location. There’s no point in choosing a company that doesn’t have petrol stations anywhere near your home, office or your commute, as you’ll probably have to drive far just to reap the benefits that they offer.
Instead, choose one that has petrol stations based near your home, office, or whichever route you travel most frequently. Long-haul drivers can also try and see which ones are more prevalent on major highways, as your odds of patronizing those businesses would be a lot higher.
How points are earned
When comparing loyalty programs, take a quick look at how points are earned and what ratios are involved. ‘Ratio’ in this context refers to the ratio of every ringgit spent vs. the points that you receive in exchange.
Additionally, some loyalty programs also offer bonus points on certain days, such as the weekend, perhaps during festive seasons, or even during the period of the year surrounding your birthday. No matter what loyalty program you use, this information will always be good to keep in mind so you can make the most of it.
Furthermore, loyalty programs also encourage customers to patronize the convenience stores they have on-site. Groceries, utility bill payments, and even card top-ups can sometimes offer more points for you to collect.
Also, be sure to note that some petrol companies have collaborations or partnerships with major banks. This means that they may offer credit or debit cards which double as loyalty cards for that particular petrol company’s stations, offering you loyalty benefits that not only offer value to your petrol purchases but also your banking!
How long before they expire
All good things come to and end. While collecting a large number of points is great, those points will also expire eventually, so it’s important to be aware of when they’ll expire and make sure to use them before that date.
Look for loyalty programs that offer a lengthy expiration period, and see if any of them let you redeem expired points. Some loyalty programs have been known to offer vouchers, usually of lesser value, as a way for you to make use of expired points.
What those points can be used for
Now comes the fun part of the process. With lots of points collected, what can you actually redeem them for? Could it just be for cool souvenirs from their product catalog, or can you use those points to get more petrol in the future? Does their catalog also include other products like home appliances, tools, consumable goods or even electronic gadgets? These are important questions to ask, and usually the answers are provided in the brochure for the loyalty program in question. Be sure to find out, so you can leverage your points for things that you actually need or want!
Last but not least, think about the quality of service that you receive from different petrol stations. While being loyal to one particular company in exchange for points is good, some drivers tend to value quality of service much more than that. Sometimes, no amount of points will be enough to make you overlook terrible service or product quality.
When the staff of the petrol station are friendly and the environment is clean and safe, sometimes that’s all that’s needed for a person to choose to be loyal to that business.
Get more value for your hard-earned money!
In conclusion, loyalty programs are not something that you should overlook. You work so hard everyday just to earn money to be used in exchange for good and services, so why not do a little bit of research to make sure that you choose the right loyalty program, and get more value out of every ringgit you spend!