Sadly our headline is accurate. Pilot/Flying J has cancelled the awesome TSD Fuel Discount program for RVers. The TSD Fuel Saving program has been a lifesaver for many of us driving or pulling our RVs with diesel-powered engines. Unfortunately the program has been cancelled by Pilot/Flying J and we are concerned that the program could ultimately end everywhere. If you are not a member, we highly suggest you sign up and start saving while you can.
In case you missed it, here's what happened. RVTravel.com released a story to the Associated Press titled “This diesel fuel savings program is for real” on January 29, 2020. The people at RVTravel thought it would be a good idea to amplify the benefits of the fuel savings program letting everyone know about it. Unfortunately the article backfired and resulted in Pilot/Flying J eliminating the TSD fuel discount for RVers.
The reality of the TSD Fuel Program is that not everyone saves money. The TSD Fuel Program ONLY works for Diesel vehicles. Why? The Fuel Program was developed by TSD Logistics who manages a fleet of over the road trucks (OTR). Fuel is the biggest cost for trucking businesses. All trucking businesses negotiate discount levels with gas station chains based on volumes they will be purchasing from the chain. The more fuel a business consumes, the higher their discount levels are. TSD is driving down their Fleet operating cost by expanding their fleet to the Diesel-powered RVers.
This is a link to the article we wrote that explains How the TSD Fuel Program Works.
At the end of the day, however, the practice of only giving discounts to Diesel RVers is likely the catalyst that killed the program. There are far more gasoline-powered RVs on the road. A wide release of an article landing on the screens of thousands of RVers that cannot participate in the program was not received well. The RVTravel.com article set off a series of events that ultimately led to the cancelation of the TSD Logistics Fuel program at Pilot/Flying J and it is possible that the entire program could eventually be terminated.
Our understanding is that the RVTravel.com article set off a firestorm of emails and calls to the executives at both Pilot/Flying J and Good Sam. Gasoline RVers were upset that they were not getting the incredible discounts that the Diesel club was receiving and complained loudly. Good Sam executives were upset because the discounts handed out freely to anyone that signed up for the TSD Logistics Fuel Program are significantly more than what Good Sam provides to RVers through their “Pilot Flying J RV Plus Charge Card.” The Good Sam program provides a fixed 5¢/gallon savings for gasoline vehicles and 8¢/gallon savings for diesel.
Comparing the 8¢/gal Diesel savings from Good Sam to the 37.6¢/gal we received after fees on a fill-up we reviewed earlier this year, one can certainly understand why no one is happy about the cancellation of the program by Pilot/Flying J.
Reference our article titled How the TSD Fuel Program Works for more info on the savings.
According to the March 6, 2020 follow-up article in RVTravel.com titled Good Sam tells Pilot/Flying J to end big diesel discounts to RVers, “(Good) Sam has an exclusive discount program with Pilot/Flying J. RVers are only to receive discounts on fuel purchases at these branded outlets IF they have a Good Sam membership card.” The article was assuming that Pilot/Flying J cancelled the TSD program because Good Sam told them too. The reality is there is likely more to the story.
Why was the TSD Logistics program cancelled by Pilot/Flying J?
As stated in the RVTravel.com update article, the initial assumption was that Good Sam “forced” Pilot/Flying J to cancel the TSD Logistic program due to their “exclusive” RV Discount agreement with them. Pilot/Flying J received so many complains about the cancellation that they issued an Official Statement on diesel discount debacle.
“Pilot Flying J is no longer in business with TSD Logistics (TSD). Unfortunately, it was recently brought to our attention that TSD was reselling our fuel by offering its discounts outside of the company.
We were unaware of this activity and did not agree to the resale of our fuel. Our contract was with TSD and its fleet of drivers only.
We aim to provide the best experience to all of our guests, including RV and auto travelers as well as professional drivers. We continue to offer discounts and rewards to RV customers through our partnership with Good Sam. This partnership had no influence on our decision to end our business relationship with TSD.”Pilot/Flying J Official Statement
We believe the reason the TSD program was cancelled is a combination of Pilot/Flying J's agreement with Good Sam and a breach of contract by TSD Logistics. Although we do not have access to the contracts between TSD/Pilot Flying J to verify our theory, we were able to review the Pilot/Flying J Fleet Program Terms and Conditions posted on the Pilot/Flying J website. Assuming TSD Logistics was bound by the Fleet Program Terms and Conditions, they would have been in violation of section 2.7 of the agreement. This is likely why Pilot/Flying J's official statement said, “Pilot Flying J is no longer in business with TSD Logistics (TSD).”
“Any purchases on Customer’s Account will only be for the purchase of products and services for business or commercial purposes and not for personal, family or household purposes.”Pilot/Flying J Fleet Agreement Section 2.7
RVs are “Recreational Vehicles” and primarily being used for personal, family and non-business purposes by their owners. When TSD Logistics started offering fleet cards to RV operators they were not complying with the terms of their agreement with Pilot/Flying J's Fleet contract.
Why cancel the TSD program now?
Under normal circumstances Pilot/Flying J would likely not care about how TSD Logistics was using their fleet cards. It has been a don't ask don't tell policy that has been working well. TSD Logistics benefits from higher volume fuel consumption & discounts for their fleet and Pilot/Flying J increases fuel sales. It is a win-win for both companies.
However, all of that changed when RVTravel.com issued an AP press release that was picked up by numerous mainstream news organizations. The RVTravel article pulled Good Sam directly into the discussion. It is understandable why Good Sam would be upset. The TSD Program highlights how Good Sam is not really saving money for their customers. 5¢ – 8¢ a gallon is nothing compared to what a fleet of thousands of gas-guzzling RVs would actually receive in a Fleet Program.
Accordingly, there is no question that Good Sam has some sort-of exclusive deal with Pilot/Flying J. They are the ONLY company that Good Sam directs their members too. To gain access to thousands of Good Sam members, it is reasonable to assume that Pilot/Flying J would sign an exclusive marketing agreement with them. Pilot/Flying J makes more money off of the Good Sam program as well. Their Fleet Program has a variable discount rate based on usage volume that is significantly higher than the fixed rate offered through Good Sam.
The TSD Logistics Fuel Program still exists and is working at Loves and other Truck Stops across US and Canada. We hope they continue to operate. There is legitimate savings when filing up using the TSD card. However, the chances are they are in breach of contract with the other Fleet Discount programs as well. The program may not last long. Our recommendation is to sign up now and save while you can.
Here's the link to the TSD Fuel Savings Program. We would appreciate it if you would list us as a referral. They will give us $25 after you buy 100 gallons of fuel. The referral helps us keep the lights on and keep writing these articles.
Please use the code “RVJK1028” in the “Referred by” box. This is how they will credit us for you joining the program. We sincerely appreciate your help.