How To Hack Your Grocery Gas Rewards Programs To Save More Money

Young woman refilling car with petrol in gas station.
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When brands partner together, it can be a beautiful union, especially for consumers. In 2022 Starbucks and Delta Airlines teamed up, providing loyal customers of each company with dual rewards when using their apps, as GOBankingRates previously reported.

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Yet the combo of grocery and gas rewards is a trend that has stood the test of time. After all, both are necessary purchases required on a regular basis and both have skyrocketed in price over the past year.

According to the latest Consumer Price Index data, groceries are up in price — year-over-year — by 12% as of November, and fuel costs 10.1% more. So, being able to take advantage of loyalty programs for both categories is a great benefit, especially when you know how to hack the system.

Shell has partnered with a number of regional brands including Kroger, Fry’s, Hy-Vee, Ralph’s, Dillons, Stop & Shop and others. Exxon and Mobil stations have a similar arrangement with Albertson’s and Safeway, and BP has teamed up with Mariano’s, Pick ‘n Save and Harris Teeter. The parameters for all of these programs are nearly identical — once you spend $100 on groceries, you’ll get 10 cents off per gallon at the pump.

Make Your Money Work for You

When it comes to “hacking” the system to get more out of grocery and gas rewards programs, there are big savings to be had. DoughRoller’s Charles Aquino noted a savings of about $200 a year by using said programs. Aquino also offered up some related tips.

Look for bonus promotions: Sometimes, grocery stores will up the ante on earnings — Aquino pointed out that Ralph’s has a current deal where weekend purchases produce double points, so every $100 spent on groceries nets 20 cents off on gas. And sometimes grocery stores will offer double or triple points when you buy specific items like meat or seafood.

Get gift cards to buy groceries: One great trick for getting more rewards is to buy grocery store gift cards to pay for your weekly haul. Brands like Safeway, Vons, Ralph’s and Kroger provide double points for doing so, so every $100 spent on gift cards will provide 20 cents off on fuel.

Stick with your preferred rewards combo: The best and fastest way to add up points towards fuel rewards is to shop only at grocery stores and gas stations that have an agreement together, rather than spreading purchases around, which will divide your point-earning potential.

Make Your Money Work for You

Always use your fuel rewards when filling up a nearly empty tank: Since discounts are based on volume purchased, you’ll get the most benefit when you head to the pump when you’re nearing empty.

Consider where you fill up: Gas prices can vary depending on where the station is located, as well as a variety of other factors. Familiarize yourself with nearby stations frequently offering the lowest prices, and fill up there (if the brand matches your preferred promo, particularly).

Use credit cards with cash back opportunities to pay for food and gas: Every time you buy groceries or fill up your car, you’ll be tallying up towards cash back on your credit card bill for a total win-win situation.

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Make Your Money Work for You

For even more grocery-fueled gas savings, you might want to look at Costco, too. Costco’s own fuel stations offer big savings — during the peak of high gasoline prices the past year, Costco’s gas was about 60 cents per gallon less than most competitors, per GOBankingRates.

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Make Your Money Work for You

About the Author

Selena Fragassi joined in 2022, adding to her 15 years in journalism with bylines in Spin, Paste, Nylon, Popmatters, The A.V. Club, Loudwire, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine and others. She currently resides in Chicago with her rescue pets and is working on a debut historical fiction novel about WWII. She holds a degree in fiction writing from Columbia College Chicago.
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