Progressive in Panama

Paula Thomas, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes


With over fifty years operating petrol stations and convenience stores in central America, Terpel is well known and respected across South America as a popular fuel retailer. Headquartered in Bogota in Colombia, it operates over 2,200 petrol stations as well as a loyalty programme called “LifeMiles” – one of the largest loyalty programs in Latin America, however as part of a goal to understand how large multi-national brands design their loyalty programmes to suit local needs, we were intrigued to notice that Terpel in Panama operates a number of different convenience store brands and also a completely independent loyalty programme and proposition called “Friend Terpel“. Throughout the country of Panama, the chain operates more than 150 fuel stations , with over 100 stores offering convenience products from two distinct brands – “Va & Ven” and “Quick Shop“.

In this article, we’ll explore how the “Friend Terpel” loyalty programme is tailored to the needs of Panamanian consumers and their increasingly digital sophistication, with Panama boasting 114% mobile penetration, 95% literacy and dramatic improvements in the speed of both mobile and fixed internet connections.

Terpel operates over 2,200 fuel stations across five countries in Central & South America – mainly Columbia.

How Does It Work

The “Friend Terpel” programme operates using a plastic card which is given out to customers in stores, then it must be activated and managed via a digital app which track the consumer’s spend. Members earn 1 point for every dollar spent in qualifying service stations, convenience stores, and car washes, and these points can then be exchanged for rewards across multiple reward categories. Points once allocated are valid for three months.

The app offers the following simple functionality:

  • Purchase tracking, so loyal customers who make frequent purchases of certain categories earn one free.
  • Points earned in the station/store can be exchanged for a range of rewards including chicken combos, pizza, hot dogs, coffee, car washes etc.
  • Users of the app enjoy exclusive discounts and promotions.

The “Friend Terpel” app for Terpel customers in Panama.

The following video describes the whole programme from start to finish – in Spanish – so we’ve included a translation of it for you below also:

Video Explanation of the “Friend Terpel” programme in Terpel Panama.

“Now in Terpel, we reward you for your loyalty with Friend Terpel, the first loyalty program in gas stations in Panama, created to honour our best clients, you our friends!

Join Friend Terpel with only 4 steps:

Step 1: Ask for your card in any of the participating stations.

Step 2: Download the app Friend Terpel in your smartphone from Google Play or App Store.

Step 3: Complete your personal information.

Step 4: Link your Friend card. 

Now you are ready to collect and win. You only have to present your card with your purchases.

For each dollar you spend, you will accumulate one loyalty point to be redeemed for fabulous rewards in our stores and even fuel discounts.

Download Friend Terpel and discover all the benefits that it has for you, from your favourite and nearest station to special promotions and prizes. Remember that the more purchases you make, the more opportunities you will have to win.

Live a memorable experience with Friend Terpel!”

It’s fascinating to see smaller countries within a company’s network developing their own localised loyalty solutions in fuel and convenience retailing, offering their own advanced and engaging digital platforms for their customers rather than simply adopting the Club Terpel programme operated by their colleagues in Colombia. We will look forward to reviewing that programme separately.

Vision and Ambition

While Panama is a small country of approximately 4 million people, the Terpel team there has no shortage of vision and ambition. As well as winning the prestigious award as one of the “best places to work” in Latin America (the only fuel brand in Central America to have achieved that), their shared vision by 2022, is to achieve “30.4% market share, with the best brand positioning, recognized as number one in service and for our commitment to the country.” Clearly a successful retailer and a convenience loyalty programme to watch with interest in this digitally savvy country.


About Us:

Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty and digital marketing technology company specialized for the convenience store and foodservice industries. Our proprietary cloud-based technology platform allow retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns with a proprietary process we call the “customer connection cycle’ to engage, promote and reward customers activities in real-time across digital and media channels.

How we do it:

We have developed the most advanced loyalty and digital marketing technology platform specifically for convenience store and foodservice retailers globally.

Retailers use our self-service dashboard to create and manage loyalty driven marketing campaigns that increase purchases with their existing customers, as well as effectively target and acquire new customers through partners or paid media channels.

One core component of live loyalty is gamification. We have gamified branding, loyalty and promotions. We believe this approach is essential in order to get customers’ attention and ultimately truly engage them with repeatable actions thereby winning their loyalty.

Check out some of our exciting/proven results here:

About Me:

Paula Thomas

Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes and Independent Loyalty Consultant

With over twenty-five years marketing experience, I specialise in loyalty marketing consulting, managing consumer loyalty propositions, strategy and operations. In addition to working with Liquid Barcodes, my clients have included Telefonica O2, Three Mobile, Electric Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and The Entertainer, as well as Avios – the global points currency for some of the world’s top airlines. I am also a former judge for the Loyalty Magazine Awards. 



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