5 Ways To Make the Most of Grocery Store Gas Rewards Programs

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Many grocery stores offer gas rewards programs, allowing customers to earn a discount on filling their tanks for shopping in their stores. There are a few tricks and tips I have to make the most of these gas rewards programs and crank up your savings at the pump.

Avoid Small Trips Several Times a Week
I’ll admit, some weeks we fail to plan and fall into the habit of running to the store every couple days to get odds and ends.  It’s not the best way to make the most of gas rewards programs since most stores require that you spend a certain amount before you earn any gas savings. Take the time each week to make your grocery list and get your weekly shopping done in one trip.  

Example: At Weis, one of my local stores, you have to spend $50 to earn $.10 per gallon.  If you spend $40, no gas rewards.  Zip.  So going to Weis every other day and spending $10 a shot is not going to earn you any gas rewards.  You need to do one trip and spend $50 to earn anything.

Gas Rewards are calculated BEFORE coupons!
Gas rewards are calculated on your total BEFORE any coupons are applied.  Let’s say your store rewards a discount of $.10 per gallon every time you spend $50 in one trip. If you ring up a grocery bill of $50, then use $20 worth of coupons, you’ll only pay $30 and still get yourself a discount of $.10 per gallon.  Sweet!  The lesson here: Trips where you buy $50 WORTH of groceries are what you’re looking for.  You don’t have to actually SPEND $50 (or whatever the threshold is at your store).

It’s worth noting here that gas rewards are NOT calculated before any store discounts.  If you buy something that’s on sale that week, only the sale price that you’re charged is going to count toward your gas rewards.  Not the original/regular price. 

Example: Emerald Nuts are on sale, BOGO (that’s buy one get one free!).  They are regularly $5.99 each.  You buy 2 and pay $5.99 total.  You’ll only earn rewards on $5.99, not the price before the BOGO store sale which would have totaled $11.98.  Now, if you use a coupon for $1.50/2 (that’s $1.50 off 2), you’ll only pay $4.49 for both nuts, but you’ll earn gas rewards on $5.99.  Get it?!

Be aware of the gas rewards program dates
Make sure you check with your local store, or at the bottom of your receipts to see when the points accumulation period ends and when the redemption period ends.  Often there is a week between the two dates and during that time, you may not be able to accumulate any gas points. You might choose to avoid a big shopping trip (if you can, of course) during the redemption week when no gas points are awarded.  Another reason to be aware of the program dates: Use those rewards before they expire! Make a note on your calendar on the first day of the redemption week and then wait until your tank is empty before filling up with your big discount!

Use coupons for free items to hit your mark
If you’re not going to hit the threshold needed to earn gas rewards, use any coupons you have for free items to put you up over the limit.  Remember, gas rewards are calculated before coupons.  If you still need to spend a little more to earn your rewards, throw a free item or two into your cart to hit your mark and grab those savings!

Keep your flyers and check your receipts
Sometimes stores offer deals to let you earn additional gas points.  One of my local stores, Giant, does this a lot: “Buy 4 participating items, get 200 gas points!”  Other stores will offer gas rewards for filling a new prescription in their pharmacy. Sometimes there’s a glitch of some sort and your gas points aren’t awarded.  Check your receipts and hang onto your store flyer until that sale week is over so that if there’s a problem you can easily point it out to customer service. Don’t miss out on those gas rewards you’ve earned!

How do you make the most of grocery store gas rewards programs?

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