Esso essence

Couche-Tard buys Esso gas stations

To the point Couche-Tard acquired the Esso service stations in Quebec and Ontario. What can this change for points & miles hunters?

This post is also available in: FR

Couche-Tard buys Esso gas stations

img 0889Imperial Oil announced that it has entered into agreements with five fuel distributors across Canada to resell 497 Esso retail service stations to them.

In Quebec and Ontario, Couche-Tard announced the acquisition of 279 service stations. These service stations are primarily located in Ontario (229).

The other 50 are in Montreal or its suburbs.

This allows Couche-Tard, which has a strong presence in the region, to get its hands on prime locations. Couche-Tard was already selling Imperial Oil fuel under the Esso brand at several service stations.

The implications for points & miles

The most generous places in the distribution of points & miles are gas stations.

There are many ways to get points from your station (Esso, Petro Canada…), miles (Aeroplan, AIR MILES…), bank points (RBC, BMO, American Express…):

  • By filling up your gas tank (different levels depending on the type of fuel)
  • Buying products in the convenience store at the gas station
  • By purchasing gift cards with your cards… that offer bonuses at gas stations!

In short, when an industry giant like Esso is set to disappear in favour of another like Couche-Tard, we should take a close look at the situation.

The Esso / Aeroplan partnership

hero home3Esso is an Aeroplan partner.

You can collect miles quite easily. It’s also a great business to extend the life of your Aeroplan account (and therefore your miles) by making an occasional purchase.

There is no indication – once the transaction is finalized – that this partnership will continue with Couche-Tard.

Because Couche-Tard is already partnered with… CAA Quebec.

The Esso / American Express partnership

At least once a year, American Express runs a promotion in partnership with Esso. I had explained to youhow I had maximized this promotion recently.

Couche-Tard accepts American Express… but will there be more of these promotions in the future?

The Couche-Tard / CAA Quebec partnership

At Couche-Tard gas stations, you can easily accumulate CAD as I explained to you a while ago, but you can also get rebates.

For example, by presenting your CAA Quebec membership card, you can get 2% back on your gas purchases and 3% back in CAA Dollars on all your in-store purchases.

carnival 411494 640In addition, CAA Quebec has its own MasterCard credit card (free from year to year) that allows you to earn CAA Dollars on your everyday purchases… and to accumulate discounts at Couche-Tard gas stations! Plus, it’s accepted at Costco!

In addition, by presenting your CAA Quebec membership card and paying for your purchases with your CAA Quebec credit card, you can get 5% back in CAA Dollars at Couche-Tard! That’s a lot of money for a free credit card.

Gift cards available at Couche-Tard

One thing is certain: gift cards will continue to be available at gas stations. Couche-Tard sells them today in its service stations, and this will always be the case in the “future ex-Esso”.

It will be interesting to see if a combination of the available gift cards will be operated. In fact, some gift cards available at Couche-Tard are not available today at Esso and vice versa.

In the meantime, I will continue to buy gift cards from Petro-Canada because I can wash my car for free that way!

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are still a few outstanding issues, including the partnerships with Aeroplan and CAA Quebec. Will they be able to endure, or even co-exist?

This news may be a game-changer for some of you who are used to working at Esso.

This could be the opportunity to discover the CAA-Quebec Dollars program, or to switch to Shell and AIR MILES!

This post is also available in: FR

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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