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Can buying petrol really be rewarding?
Texaco Star Rewards Credit Card
Member Name: ChrisGeering
Texaco Star Rewards Credit Card
Date: 09/01/10, updated on 10/01/10 (1164 review reads)
Advantages: Free to join and a reasonably broad range of outlets to redeem rewards
Disadvantages: No major supermarkets where you can redeem your rewards
In answer to the title of this review, in my opinion, no. For all of us who need to fill up at the pumps for work, family and leisure, the amount we spend has been at the mercy of the volatile price of oil and the taxes imposed by the UK governments. In the past 18 months or so, we have seen a full range of prices from an approximate high of £1.20 per litre (unleaded) in July 2008, to a low of approximately 90p per litre (unleaded) in the December 2008. The prices are now rising up again at a current approximate price of £1.09 per litre (unleaded). The price could again rise further in 2010 if the UK government decides to increase VAT after the next election and if the price of oil continues to rise. So, we motorists need to find clever and ingenious ways to try and get something back from the petrochemical industry. One of the ways in which we can do this, is by making the most of loyalty schemes, of which the Texaco Star Rewards scheme is the main topic of this review.
At the moment, I drive a regular commute of approximately 100 miles per day in distance, so my fuel costs are relatively high (usually £65.00 per week), even though I drive a small car (a Ford Ka). Asides from other means of saving money whilst driving, which can be found on the Money Saving Expert website (see the link below), my use of the Texaco card has accumulated £25.00 in rewards since June 2008. Whilst this would seem a fairly miniscule return over this period of time, it should be noted that I also fill up at Tesco's on a regular basis.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS AND YOUR MEMBERSHIP PROFILE
Firstly I wish to state that this scheme is NOT a credit card as specified by Dooyoo, but is a loyalty card. If there is a Texaco near where you live, or if you fill up there on a regular basis, it is worth you applying for a Texaco Star Rewards card. The application process is free, and you do not even have to pay for a stamp to send off the registration form. Using the catchphrase of Alexander the Meerkat, the overall application process is, well, "simples". All you have to do is to pick up a registration form in the Texaco shop, fill it in, and you can post the form in-store. You will also receive a card that you can use straight away, which you can start redeeming "stars" once you have made a purchase. The card design is fairly basic and unspectacular - it is black all over with the Texaco emblem in the top-right corner, with "Star Rewards" written in white outlined text.
With your card, you will need to register your details, either online, or by telephone. The full details about the registration process can be found at the Texaco Star Rewards website (see the link below). If you register online, you will need to enter in your 12 digit number on your card, and once successful, you will need to set up your profile by entering in your name, address, e-mail address and your password so that you can return to your profile at a later date. When you view your profile online, there are a few basic options available to you. You can view how many stars that you have accumulated, you can update your profile and password, you can request or add a new card and you can also view your redemption history. In short, the member part of the website is very user friendly and easy to read and follow.
HOW DO YOU ACCUMULATE STAR REWARDS AND WHAT CAN YOU GET FOR THEM?
Like the application process, the basic rules for accumulating stars are also very straightforward. Simply, for every £1.00 that you spend in store, you will accumulate 1 star. This is not just limited to purchasing fuel, and can include buying products in store such as oil or basic shopping goods or even mobile top-ups. 1 star is the sterling equivalent of 1p, using this card is the equivalent of earning 1% cashback. Unfortunately you can only earn stars at Texaco, which means that as mentioned above, this card is only useful to you if you buy petrol regularly from this company.
In terms of what you can spend you hard earned stars on, there is a bit more variety, but you cannot redeem you stars as cash. To redeem your stars at one of the organizations below, you will need to reach the minimum threshold. Then you can redeem the reward on the Texaco Star Rewards website by clicking on "view star rewards" whilst you are logged in, and then clicking on redeem on the relevant reward. Once your reward has been accepted, this will be added to your redemption history in your profile, and your voucher will be on its way in the post (for rewards that distribute actual paper vouchers). In my experience, I have redeemed my stars for £10 Argos vouchers, and £15 Texaco vouchers. In both cases, the vouchers arrived surprisingly quickly in the post, approximately 1 week after redeeming them online. I also had no problems at the checkout by using either of these vouchers.
If you collect enough stars, you can redeem them on the following:
- Texaco Vouchers = 500 Stars = £5 voucher
You can redeem you stars on purchasing fuel at Texaco, or use the voucher for any other purchase, such as a car-wash or buying some tasty confectionary before your road trip.
- Argos Gift Vouchers = 500 Stars = £5 voucher
You can spend your vouchers on buying any product that takes your fancy at one of the 14,000 products in the Argos catalogue.
- Love2Shop vouchers = 500 Stars = £5 voucher
This is arguably the most diverse vouchers available, as these can redeemed at BHS, Boots, Carphone Warehouse, D2, Fads, Halfords, HMV, H Samuel, Index , JJB, Mothercare, Principles, Threshers, Warehouse, Waterstones, WH Smith and Wilkinson.
- Marks and Spencer = 500 Stars = £5 voucher
Your voucher can be used to redeem any product in Marks and Spencer.
- Virgin Atlantic = 1000 stars = 1000 flying club airmiles.
You can exchange your Stars for Virgin Atlantic flying club miles. If you already have a Virgin account number, then all you need to do is click on redeem and enter your Virgin account number. If you are not a member you can call Virgin to set up an account on 08701 61 60 59.
- NCH The Childrens Charity = 1 star
You can make a difference to the lives of the UK's most vulnerable and excluded children, young people and their families. Texaco also improves your donation, by doubling the star contribution.
The overall range of outlets at which you can redeem your stars is fairly diverse, but lacks a major food supermarket, other than Marks and Spencer food which is quite expensive. This may be because the big players such as Tesco's and Sainsbury's have their own loyalty schemes.
If you are a regular buyer of fuel from Texaco, or you drive past a Texaco station on a regular basis you should pick up one of these cards, particularly if you do not already have an existing fuel loyalty card. It costs you absolutely nothing, and you effectively earn 1% cashback on your fuel, though you can only earn stars at Texaco and can redeem your rewards at specified outlets as vouchers unless you donate to charity or claim the airmiles. However, the range of outlets available are fairly diverse, though there does not appear to be a major food supermarket where you can redeem your rewards. In terms of redeeming the vouchers, in my experience this has only taken a week from the time at which I ordered the voucher online and is quite speedy.
One important point that I will leave you on, is that you should not let the loyalty card dictate your fuel purchase. If your local Texaco is more expensive than another petrol station just down the road which does not offer a loyalty card, you would be better off saving your money at the cheaper petrol station as you are effectively saving your money at the time of purchase. The reason why I do not solely buy my petrol at Texaco alone is that other nearby petrol stations such as Tesco's sometimes offer double clubcard points at a comparable (or sometimes cheaper fuel price). As they say though, it pays to shop around, particularly with the volatile fuel prices we see at the moment, as there are some weeks when my local Texaco in Hanley is the cheapest petrol station in the area.
Texaco Star Rewards:
Money Saving Expert - Cheap Petrol and Diesel:
© CJG, 2010
Summary: Pick up one of these cards if you stop at Texaco on a regular basis