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Obscure Avios partners – Shell Drivers Club

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This is another post in our series on partners.  Click on ‘ non-travel partners’ under Categories to see the other entries.

Shell Drivers Club is the loyalty scheme for Shell garages in the UK.  Joining is simple – pick up a card at a Shell station when filling up and register it online.  You earn 50 Avios just for registering your card, so it is worth doing this even if you switch to a different reward later.

The scheme is simple – you earn 1 Shell point for every litre of petrol you buy, and 2 points = 1 Avios.  As well as Avios, 500 points can be turned into £2.50 of Shell vouchers or £2.50 of Waitrose vouchers.  The benefit of taking Avios is that Shell converts (once a quarter) your points in multiples of 20 (ie 10 Avios) with no minimum, unlike the 500 point minimum for other rewards.

Shell also has an e-shopping portal, but this is very badly executed and in my experience it failed to track my purchase.  Be wary of this.

So … is this a worthwhile way of collecting Avios?  If you buy enough Shell fuel to get to 500 points on a regular basis, you will effectively be ‘paying’ 1p per Avios (since 500 points is worth 250 Avios or £2.50 in vouchers).  That is a bad deal as far as I am concerned.

I also would not switch from a cheaper garage to Shell purely for the Avios, unless my employer was paying the bill or Shell is the cheapest in your area.  Assuming £1.30 per litre, you are spending £650 to get £2.50 back!!

Even if your employer is paying, Tesco offers a better reward structure.  Tesco gives you 1 Clubcard point for every £2 you spend on petrol,  so a similar 500 litre spend at £650 would get you 325 Clubcard points, so 780 Avios.

The only reason to collect with Shell is if you qualify for the current ‘new partners’ Avios promotion.  This is attractive – 75 Avios from Shell (ie just 160 litres of fuel per quarter) gets you 2,000 bonus Avios.  If you value an Avios at 0.75p, then spending £208 on 160 litres of fuel gets you £15 of Avios back, which is very good.  Once this promo ends in November 2012, though, collecting via Shell becomes an expensive luxury unless someone else foots your petrol bill.

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