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I love miles and points to save huge on travel, but I also enjoy saving money on everyday things that we need when we are home. My favorite is when I can do both at the same time and earn miles and points while saving money on everyday things. One of the ways I did that this week was by purchasing some gift cards at my local Kroger’s grocery store, paying with a reward credit card that earns a bonus at grocery stores, and timing the purchase with when the grocery store was awarding bonus fuel points on select gift card purchases. This means I earned points toward travel and a discount on gas just for buying gift cards to restaurants we were going to visit anyway!
Kroger offers this type of deal from time to time, and while the specifics of the deal vary, the overall approach remains the same. Here are the details in case this is something that might work for your family.
Regular Rates for Earning Fuel Points:
- Earn 1 fuel point for each dollar spent on groceries at Krogers
- 2x fuel points for gift card purchases at Krogers. For example, $25 in Gift Cards = 50 fuel points. The terms do state that some types of gift cards aren’t included such as: Kroger and Kroger Family of Stores Gift Cards, Green Dot prepaid reloadable products, MoneyPaks, American Express Variable Load Gift Cards, Visa Variable Load Gift Cards, and MasterCard Variable Load Gift Cards.
- Non-federally funded prescriptions each earn 50 fuel points.
Rates for Redeeming Fuel Points:
- 100 fuel points = 10¢ off per gallon of fuel
- Max of $1 off per gallon on fuel purchases at Kroger fuel stations (1,000 points) and 10¢ per gallon at participating Shell Stations (100 points).
- Program discount is good for one purchase of fuel, up to 35 gallons.
Fuel Earning With 4x Gift Card Special:
With the current promo of earning 4x on restaurant gift cards, that means you are earning 100 fuel points for every $25 in gift cards you purchase. If you max out the 35 gallons when you fill up, that means that you are saving $3.50 in gas for every $25 restaurant gift card you purchase. That isn’t life altering, but it certainly isn’t bad.
Taking it Up a Notch with Rewards Credit Cards:
That is a decent deal all by itself (assuming you were going to eat at one of the available restaurants anyway), but it can easily be taken up a notch by using a rewards credit card that pays out a bonus at grocery stores. Here are a few examples:
Blue Cash Preferred American Express: 6% back at US Supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases annually, then 1%).
US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature: 2x at grocery stores (if that is the largest spending category that month among gas, grocery or airline purchases) and points are each worth up to 2¢ each toward airfare.
American Express(R) Premier Rewards Gold Card: 2x Membership Reward points at grocery stores. The 2x can be even more valuable if you transfer to a hotel or airline partner during a transfer bonus.
There are plenty of other rewards cards out there that give cash back or bonus points at grocery stores, but for this exercise assume you have the Blue Cash Preferred that gives 6% back. This means that for every $100 in restaurant gift cards you purchase, you will end up with $6.00 back (up to your annual max). With the current 4x Kroger gift card promo, you will also end up with 400 fuel points which will translate to 40¢ per gallon off on gas. If you are able to max out the 35 gallons then that results in a $14 in savings on gas per $100 in restaurant gift cards. All in that is a 20% ($20 off a $100 purchase) savings in the form of rewards for money you were presumably going to spend anyway. Note that the savings are negated if you eat out more as a result, lose the gift cards, etc. We stocked up on a few $25 gift cards to some casual restaurants we would visit anyway like Panera Bread, Chipotle, Jason’s Deli, etc.
I enjoy stacking discounts for maximum rewards and would love to hear if some of you take advantage of this or other similar offers as well!