CITGO Claims Success With Visa Rewards Offer

At halfway point, not all marketers wowed by summer program

HOUSTON -- CITGO is halfway through the summer promotion for its new rewards offer and is bragging that it has seen success with the offering.

CITGO has been laying the groundwork for the promotion since February this year, as exclusively reported by CSP Daily News.

The promotion itself was launched June 1 and is set to run through September 20. Customers earn a $15 CITGO gift card once they make eight $20 or more purchases at a CITGO station, either in store or at the pump using CITGO's "Good Rewards" Visa card.

CITGO has said that the program is "the highlight" of its advertising campaign for this year, designed to increase traffic and sales at marketer stations. Promotion plans in May included advertising on cable TV and on Internet search sites.

According to CITGO, as of July 29 nearly 3,200 consumers have enrolled in the program, representing more than 3,700 Visa cards. Some 21,500 text messages have been sent to their phones, and 477 of those people have earned a $15 gift card so far.

But not all CITGO marketers are wowed by the program. "I don't think the numbers are real impressive," said one long-time CITGO marketer in the Southeast. "All I know is that we haven't seen many of the cards at our stations. Usually, when we have a successful card promotion, I have dealers on the phone wanting to know how to get onto the program. I haven't heard a peep from them on this one."

In order to qualify for the $15 rewards, consumers must register their Visa card at a special website,, and provide their mobile phone number. Visa then tracks consumer purchases and sends text messages encouraging them to make additional purchases. Once the cardholder has earned a reward, he receives a text message with a unique code and Website link where he must redeem the gift card by November 22.

There are also some catches. Visa debit card users must choose the "credit" option when paying with their debit card and purchases made using a personal identification number (PIN) do not qualify. And, if a customer doesn't want to provide his mobile number or an email address, he won't get a discount. Further, CITGO acknowledges in a message to retailers that the consumer could be charged for the text messages they receive.

Effective July 1, CITGO also introduced a 10-cent transaction fee on all first-time CITGO gift card activations.

Based in Houston, CITGO is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by PDV America Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

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