How to take best advantage of groceries for gas rewards programs

Thursday, January 17th, 2013 By

Motion blur shot of a grocery cart speeding through a store aisle.

Groceries for gas is a nice way to save. Are you taking advantage? (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/Caden Crawford/Flickr)

Despite recent positive fluctuations, the cost of gasoline is still high for average families. Merging trips to the pump with trips to the grocery store can provide some relief. If your local grocery chain offers a rewards program that translates into discounts per gallon at the pump, it would be prudent of you to take advantage, if you aren’t doing so already.

Groceries for gas – Types of rewards programs

Depending upon the grocery store, the fuel discount will typically require you to purchase the gas at an affiliated station. You simply have to buy a certain amount of groceries – usually $100 or more – in order to qualify for the discount on gasoline. This will vary, however, so studying your grocery store loyalty program’s terms and conditions is advisable if you aren’t sure.

Groceries for gas – Discount-based programs

The two most common variations on the groceries for discounted gasoline-type program are the flat discount and the tiered discount. With the former, if you meet the qualifying amount of groceries purchased, you’ll receive a set fuel discount, per gallon. With the latter, the amount of the discount increases as you reach higher grocery spending levels.

Groceries for gas – Point-based programs

Sometimes, rewards programs work with points. Points accumulate over time, as they do with a credit card rewards program. Points can be used toward gas purchases when the consumer desires, and will typically carry over for 30 to 60 days.

Groceries for gas – Club store discounts

Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club often have their own gas stations, and offer fuel discounts to members ranging from 5 cents and 15 cents per gallon, a discount that often outdoes standard grocery chain fuel discounts. It is not uncommon, however, that to use such fuel stations, you must be a member of the warehouse store in question.

Groceries for gas – Helpful tips for use

To begin with, know when your fuel discount qualification or points expire. There’s nothing worse that working toward a goal, then forgetting to cash in/cross the finish line. Use points before they expire, or during the specified redemption period. Know your rewards program’s rules, and verify that you’ve hit the mark if you aren’t sure.

Don’t earn your fuel discount over multiple visits if you can help it. It’ll cost you more in gasoline to drive to the store the extra times. Plan your shopping list for a single visit that will earn you the gas discount you seek. Wait until your grocery store has special sales, too, so that you’ll get more bang for your buck. Also, don’t overlook chances for double rewards, as many stores will periodically offer such specials.

Finally, use common sense. Sure, one store may offer you fuel discounts, but if that’s more than offset by more expensive groceries, you aren’t helping yourself. Scrap the rewards program and shop where groceries are more affordable.

Sources

ABC 9 WSYR East Syracuse

Giant

WiseBread

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