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Welcome to summer! In my little world that means welcome to weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, and other celebrations where gift giving is required. I actually love giving gifts, so while financially it can hurt a bit to have so many events in a two or three month time frame, I think it is pretty fun. Whether you like gift giving or hate it, everyone should maximize it to the fullest! Yesterday the stars lined up to make maximizing these purchases pretty easy – especially if you shop at a Kroger (or similar) grocery store.
While shopping at a Kroger’s grocery store yesterday, I saw this sign when I was walking in the door.
Some might say the sign looked a bit homely, or even almost tacky, but to me it was absolutely beautiful.
It signaled the return of 4x fuel points on gift card purchases at the grocery store. This is fantastic since it coincides with the Chase Freedom Visa card 5x quarterly bonus category of grocery stores that runs through the end of June. If you don’t have a Chase Freedom card, then you could substitute in another card that earns bonuses at grocery stores such as the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card that earns 2x Membership Reward points on gas and groceries in stand alone gas stations or grocery stores, or if you are a cash-back kinda shopper (which I am not) then even the Blue Cash Preferred Amex that earns 6% back could be a good choice (up to first $6,000 annually).
For the purposes of this exercise, I will use the Freedom card as an example since it is the card that I have and use at grocery stores currently. Yesterday I picked up three gift cards. I bought one Amazon card for $50 that will be used to purchase various children’s birthday presents so that I can take advantage of Amazon Prime (that I purchased in the first quarter of this year when Amazon was offering 5x points on the Freedom) and have them shipped around the country for free. I got one Babies R Us $25 gift card to use as part of a baby shower present for a cousin who is registered at that store. I also picked up one $25 Subway gift card since it is a convenient lunch stop for The Man and me. Grand gift card total was $100 for purchases I would make in the next couple weeks anyway. This $100 in gift cards earned me 400 fuel points, which translate to $0.40 off per gallon at the gas station. It also earned me 500 Ultimate Reward points that I will likely transfer 1:1 to either United or Hyatt, though Ultimate Rewards offers many other redemption choices I could pick from.
I was already at the grocery store to purchase food for my family, and I was already going to make purchases at Subway, Amazon, and Babies R Us anyway, so this purchase required no extra time or money. I had about $80 of other groceries that I purchased at the same time, so my $180 charge at a grocery store is not likely to be a charge that raises any red flags with a bank, or otherwise puts my points in jeopardy. This is just almost too easy. The card issuer wants me to use my card at grocery stores, and the grocery store wants me to buy gift cards. Fantastic! I’m happy to oblige on both fronts. I need to do the math to see how much I have spent at grocery stores on my Freedom card this quarter so that I can be sure to maximize the $1500 quarterly limit with other gift card purchases that I will be able to utilize this summer.
This may not be an overly fancy or complicated way to rack up the points, but it sure is an easy and effective way. In my view, every little bit helps, and I will welcome those 500 points to my Ultimate Rewards account, and I will appreciate the extra 40 cents off per gallon when we fill up my husband’s truck.
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