Our blog has mentioned opportunities to save on fuel in the past; whether gasoline or electricity, there's always a need to refuel before returning the car as prepaying for fuel is almost always a poor idea. Most previous posts were about the failing Plenti program -- one nice nationwide promotion (since expired) for $20 after three fill-ups and the also-terminated ability to earn Plenti points on Alamo rentals. Plenti is fading into the sunset; as of May 4, the only remaining participants will be ExxonMobil, Rite Aid (soon to be acquired by Albertsons) and a failing grocery store chain. Given ExxonMobil's discounts and partnerships are tenuous at best, BP's nationwide offer of cash discounts or United Mileage Plus miles is an offer worth considering.
The BP Driver Rewards program starts by presenting the enrollee a choice -- fuel discounts or United Mileage Plus miles. One can choose either but not both offers:
- The fuel discount is 10 cents off per gallon (up to 20 gallons) for every $100 in fuel purchases.
- The United Mileage Plus offer is 200 bonus miles on first fill-up plus 1 mile per gallon for using the Driver Rewards programs, 2 miles per gallon if the user has a registered credit card and purchases regular fuel, and 3 miles per gallon for purchases of premium gasoline. The screenshot above was an email that came directly from United to our email accounts.
A traveler who finds a BP that happens to also be price competitive on an app such as GasBuddy could choose the fuel discount (which tops off at $2 per every $100 spent) or the frequent flyer miles (which tops off at about 77 United miles per $100 spent given the current national average price of fuel of about $2.60 per gallon); unlike many credit cards with bonus offers, the BP Driver Rewards program is per gallon purchased rather than per dollar spent. So we truly would never pay a premium at BP given the negligible rebates.
The cash rebates aren't much and the only mileage earning opportunity is United; however, we know a lot of travelers who earn miles on United primarily by their existing rental car transactions! And if one's spending a lot of money at a BP station anyway, whether at home or while traveling, then either choice is a modest salve for the hefty fuel charges on one's credit card statement. A traveler who fails to enroll in the Driver Rewards program would be ineligible for discounts or frequent flyer miles on their purchases at the pump.
One Part of the Offer to Ignore
We're really fans about loyalty points and BP / United have combined to allow a renter to save on gas purchases by redeeming United miles. For 1,200 United Mileage Plus miles, a renter can save $10 on a 20-gallon BP fuel purchase -- it's one use for United miles but it's definitely an offer we can refuse in our worldview!
Use 60 United MileagePlus award miles per gallon for $0.50 off per gallon on a maximum of 20 gallons (for a maximum of $10 off) per fuel purchase. To be eligible to use miles at participating BP stations, you must have an eligible form of payment linked to your Driver Rewards account and have at least 1,200 miles in your MileagePlus account at the time of purchase. For the option to use miles for cents off per gallon, swipe your linked form of payment at the pump.
Again, there's no reason to participate in BP's Driver Rewards offer unless the pump price is competitive at one's most frequent locations. Yet if one's stopping by a BP anyway, there's an ever-so-slight benefit available through cash discounts or United MileagePlus miles that can accrue over time.
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