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ACCC set to approve Qantas-BP loyalty deal

Qantas's loyalty tie-up with BP petrol stations is set to get the go ahead from the ACCC

Qantas's loyalty tie-up with BP petrol stations is set to get the green light from the consumer watchdog despite the regulator's misgivings over the sharing of customers' data.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says it proposes to authorise the deal, which was announced in September, even though it has "some concerns about the potential for consumer harm arising from BP sharing consumer data with Qantas".

The ACCC on Friday said it encouraged both parties to adopt recommendations about the collection of consumer data when the regulator publishes the final report from its review of customer loyalty schemes later this year.

The ACCC's draft report published in September said the watchdog was concerned about the opaque, take-it-or-leave-it privacy policies of major loyalty programs.

The draft report also raised issues with how some schemes collect data on consumers using linked payment cards, even when they have not scanned their loyalty card.

Nonetheless, the ACCC granted interim authorisation for the deal to take effect from February 1 and will make a final decision that month.

"We consider that these arrangements will provide public benefits, for example by giving consumers more opportunity to earn and use rewards program points," ACCC commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.

"The arrangements are also likely to provide cost savings to the parties, by allowing BP to negotiate with Qantas on behalf of BP petrol station owners, rather than each station owner needing to negotiate individually."

BP's proposed switch from rival airline Virgin Australia was announced by the companies in September.