We take a look at the new AA Smartfuel discount card.
Recently the AA launched its Smartfuel discount card. It allows cardholders to earn discounts on fuel through their spending at other participating retailers. You don't have to be an AA member to have a card, but members usually get bigger discounts and other benefits.
AA Smartfuel has replaced the AA’s previous rewards programme. Any credits you have on that programme will be used as a discount on your next membership renewal. AA members receive Smartfuel discounts by using their new membership card. Non-AA members will have to apply for a Smartfuel card at aa.co.nz/smartfuel.
How it works
You buy something at a participating retailer and swipe your Smartfuel card at the checkout. A cents per-litre discount (which varies from retailer to retailer) is added to the card.
Each time you use your card the discounts add together to give a total cents-per-litre discount. You can check your current level of discounts on the Smartfuel website.
When you fill up at BP and participating Caltex service stations the total cents-per-litre discount is deducted from the cost of up to 50 litres of fuel. Several people can each use a linked card to accumulate a single discount.
Every time you make a redemption, your accumulated discount is wiped. For example, if the fuel fill is less than the 50-litre maximum, the remaining discount is lost. If you take a discount on a 30-litre fill, the transaction will wipe your current balance clean. You can’t get the same discount on the other 20 litres later. You start accumulating again as you continue spending from the time of redemption. You can't use this discount in conjunction with other discounts – like supermarket fuel discounts.
The card works on a monthly cycle and any unused discounts expire at the end of the month after the month they were awarded. So discounts you earn in December will expire at the end of January.
- Depending on your personal spending patterns, the fuel discounts could be worthwhile. But don’t spend at participating retailers just to get them. You may find the same or a similar product more cheaply elsewhere.
- Keep track of your discount cycle. Losing a decent-sized discount would be really annoying.
Something for nothing?
We like the concept of a really good fuel discount for just doing the shopping. But there’s rarely something for nothing – the discounts have to be paid for somehow. So watch you aren’t paying too much for the goods that earn the discount.
You need to be smart in your shopping and not just rely on AA Smartfuel to do the thinking for you.
Here’s an example: the November promo for the AA Smartfuel card says if you buy a 4-litre pack of SAE 15W/40 Castrol GTX Modern Engine Oil from BP you qualify for a 20c discount on a maximum of 50 litres of fuel. That can save you $10 on your fuel purchase.
We found this oil in a BP Wellington service station for $49.99. Just down the road, at Repco, we found the same oil for $10 less ($39.99). Both prices appeared to be the normal price for each store. But in the same Repco oil rack we found an equally suitable for modern engines 4-litre pack of Shell Helix HX5 15/W40 oil on special at $32.99.
Buying a different oil that will do exactly the same job saves you $17. Now that’s smart!
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