Wednesday (4/13) marks the end of the double and triple coupons program at Kroger stores in the Houston area. Kroger has also announced “changes” to their fuel rewards program.
For as long as I can remember, you have been able to earn fuel rewards points as follows:
-Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on groceries (this has been based on the pre-coupon total and I am hoping this will stay the same)
-Earn 50 points for every non-federally funded prescription filled
-Earn double points per dollar on gift card purchases (for example, you would earn 100 points if you purchase a $50 gift card) – this does not apply to the purchase of Kroger gift cards and pre-paid debit/credit cards.
Several months ago, they also announced that you could begin using your Kroger fuel rewards at Shell gas stations. You can scan your Kroger Plus card or enter your Kroger card number at participating Shell locations.
In the past, you would earn a 10 cents off fuel reward for every 100 points earned. You could only redeem one fuel reward each time you fill up your vehicle. The points have always “expired” at the end of the month after they are earned. For example, if you earned a 10 cents off reward in February, you would have until March 31st to redeem it.
The “big” change that Kroger has announced to their fuel rewards program is that you can now redeem multiple “cents off” rewards in one fill-up. For example, if you have earned 3 rewards in a month, you can receive 30 cents off your fill-up. You can redeem up to 1,000 points at once (or $1 off per gallon).
Here are my thoughts on these changes:
-Kroger is spinning this as a “big” change which will better meet the needs of their customers in the Houston market when in fact the only real change (at least from what I can tell) is that you can now redeem more than one fuel reward in one visit.
-I used to earn 3-5 fuel rewards per month because they were based on pre-coupon totals. My typical out of pocket spending to earn these rewards was $50-100. Now that double and triple coupons are ending, I would imagine that I will be spending significantly less at Kroger in the near future.
-My car holds 20 gallons of gas, so a 10 cent fuel reward will save me $2 on average per fill up. I’m not convinced that $2 saved on fuel will balance out the money I would save if I shopped elsewhere (Target or Walmart, for example), especially given that I have to spend $100 just to earn this reward and also given that Kroger’s fuel prices are not always competitive to begin with.
What are your thoughts on Kroger’s changes in policy? Is their new and improved (at least according to them) fuel rewards program enough to make you stick around or will you be taking your business elsewhere?
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