Greater Greater Washington

Retail


What's the point of supermarket gas rewards if you don't drive to the store?

Supermarket chains like Giant and Safeway are expanding into urban areas, where many shoppers don't come by car. But their "rewards points" loyalty programs are only good for discounts on gasoline, benefitting those who drive frequently and have the biggest gas tanks.


Photo by dan reed! on Flickr.

These policies are set at the corporate level, not by individual stores. Nationwide, most supermarkets are in places where customers have little choice but to drive. But Giant and Safeway give out rewards points even at stores in urban neighborhoods, where many shoppers don't have cars.

Gas rewards programs may be effective at turning frequent drivers into loyal customers. But to turn non-drivers into loyal customers, they first have to turn them into drivers. That's an extra step, and an unnecessary one. Wouldn't it be simpler to provide a reward that all shoppers would appreciate?

The more you (drive and) shop, the more you save (on gas)

The two stores' gas rewards programs follow similar rules. In both cases, for every $100 you spend, you earn points that let you save 10¢ per gallon at a participating gas station. Safeway's maximum discount per gallon is $1.00, while Giant will give up to $2.20.

Your actual gas savings can vary greatly depending on the size of your vehicle's gas tank, because you redeem your rewards points with a single fill-up, limited to one vehicle. Large SUVs can make the maximum purchase of 25 gallons (Safeway) or 35 gallons (Giant), for savings of $25 or $35 for $1,000 of grocery purchases. The typical compact car's 10-gallon tank limits its driver to only $10 of savings for the same grocery bills.

If you don't drive enough to empty your tank each month, your savings are even smaller. Giant's points expire 30 days after you earn them; Safeway's somewhat less perishable points expire at the end of the next month.

Of course, full-time pedestrians and transit riders save nothing at all, since they don't purchase gasoline.

Should grocery stores reward people for driving?

A well-designed rewards program encourages all shoppers to buy more. Gas rewards fail that test, because they persuade only one group of customers, drivers, to increase their purchases at the store. And at stores in urban areas, where most customers may not drive, these rewards only convince a minority of shoppers.

Grocery stores don't gain any advantage when their customers drive instead of walking, biking, or riding transit. It is true that drivers, with their car trunks, can carry home larger purchases. But they don't spend much more than pedestrians and cyclists who make several, smaller trips instead of a few big ones. Stores would clearly benefit if more of us walked, since they could accommodate more shoppers with fewer parking spaces.

It's conceivable that gas rewards might prompt some shoppers to drive more and walk less, so they can take advantage of their gas rewards points. To the extent that gas rewards influence people's transportation choices, they lead to more pollution, traffic congestion, parking shortages, and wear and tear on the roads. That's bad for all of us.

Responsible rewards are fair to all and maximize store revenue

Some grocery stores do offer rewards to non-drivers. Dawson's Market in Rockville and its sister store, Ellwood Thompson's in Richmond, give customers who walked, biked, or took transit to the store a 25¢ discount. Both stores have free parking, but they don't participate in gas rewards programs.

For stores that do, however, a better rewards plan would offer a benefit useful to all the store's customers. For instance, the store could offer discounts on its own merchandise to customers who accumulate reward points. No subset of patrons would be left out under such an arrangement. All shoppers would have an incentive to buy more from the store, both to earn and to redeem reward points.

Supermarkets need to make sure they're communicating a clear, consistent message to the public about the excellence of their products, customer service, and shopping experience. Gas rewards programs promote the message that driving is preferable to other travel modes, uniquely worthy of reward. That message is irrelevant to the stores' mission and risks alienating the non-driving public.

If you have an opinion about a supermarket's gas rewards, you can share it with Safeway or Giant.

Ryan Arnold earned a master's degree in Architecture from the University of Michigan. He currently lives in Arlington's Bluemont neighborhood. 

Comments

Add a comment »

folks who have cars have more choices in grocery buying than folks who dont, typically. I can walk or bike to my local safeway, can bike to my local giant, and with some difficulty get to a Harris Teeter.

By car I can more easily get to all those, as well to a TJ's. a Shoppers Food Warehouse, and even a Whole Foods, Wegmans or Costco.

realistically if I had no car I would always shop at the Safeway, even if they were a bit more expensive.

They have every incentive to lower prices for drivers, and keep them higher for non-drivers. I dont expect to change that. What I WOULD like is better bike parking at the Safeway, and that I think, is doable.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 11, 2014 1:03 pm • linkreport

Too funny: I watch them rack up at the bottom of my receipts from the Dupont Safeway and just shrug.

I would love to get a SmarTrip reward, but I'm sure that's impossible.

When I lived in Southern California, Vons (another Safeway brand) used to give sandwich rewards, good towards pretty decent deli sandwiches. I thought it was nice, and certainly something that can be used in an urban store.

by sproc on Mar 11, 2014 1:05 pm • linkreport

Well, to be fair, they reward you for shopping, not for driving — or driving to the store. The rewards don't incent you to drive to the store, the incentive is to shop more so the driving you do gets cheaper. We know from recent history that demand for driving isn't affected a whole lot by a few cents here or there on gas prices.

We have one car we drive maybe once a week regardless of loyalty programs, and it totally rules when we buy gas once a month and get the maximum discount. It's almost like it's MORE of a reward for driving so little. Same back when we only did rental cars 5-6 times a year. We'd be diggin some 1994 gasoline prices every time we filled up!

But sure, stores should work hard to add other ways to reward people that either aren't driving much or don't drive at all. Certainly lowers costs for the stores over the longterm. I'd prefer to see a both/and rather than an either/or, though.

Of course, the other aspect of their loyalty program is the discounts you get in the store, right.

by Steve D on Mar 11, 2014 1:06 pm • linkreport

Typical car bashing that comes up here every few years.

If you don't like their reward program, shop somewhere else.

I'd be far more concerned about Cerebus's plan to sell of Safeway real estate holdings.

by charlie on Mar 11, 2014 1:08 pm • linkreport

good points about the inflexible rewards. My bigger beef was Safeway's promotional campaign with the giant balloons on top of DC gas stations -- it was tacky suburban blight in the middle of the city and in some places totally inappropriate.

by anon_1 on Mar 11, 2014 1:12 pm • linkreport

Giant & Safeway had Adams Morgan/Colombia Heights over a barrel for years - then Harris Teeter came along. And a market at Target. Come 3/21: why hello, Trader Joe's!

Vote with your wallet and they'll make a change, not sooner.

by yup yup on Mar 11, 2014 1:17 pm • linkreport

if this post is mostly about urban areas where there are multiple choices within walking distance, the key thing to do is to remind the local supermarkets of that choice. But they are likely constrained by national or regional marketing policies.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 11, 2014 1:22 pm • linkreport

"Nationwide, most supermarkets are in places where customers have little choice but to drive."

and remember, the issue is NOT can you get to the nearest supermarket without driving. There are plenty of places you can do that. Its can you get to the SECOND nearest supermarket without driving - because if you can't, and you're carfree, you are captive.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 11, 2014 1:23 pm • linkreport

I liked this post and take from it that it would be better if Giant and Safeway, or any grocer, offered optional discounts, e.g., cash discounts not dependent on gas purchases. Perhaps they do?

by David Marlin on Mar 11, 2014 1:26 pm • linkreport

This would be a good argument to take straight to the companies. Here are their customer comment pages:

http://www.safeway.com/ShopStores/Comments

http://www.giantfood.com/contact/

by Andy on Mar 11, 2014 1:28 pm • linkreport

I live across the street from the Blairs Giant in downtown Silver Spring. I was baffled the first time I went there and noticed that I got gas rewards, but not something like discounts on drinks at the Starbucks inside the store.

The Giant is the easiest to walk to, but we can also pretty easily walk to Safeway and Whole Foods. It's not like there isn't competition between supermarkets in walkable urban areas.

by Paul on Mar 11, 2014 1:30 pm • linkreport

It sounds like the proposal is to switch to the system used by CVS. After spending so much, get a coupon for $X off your order. Obviously there's precedence for this, so it wouldn't be groundbreaking by any means.

I don't think the gas rewards encourage driving. I do think they encourage people who spend a lot on gasoline to shop at specific stores.

by RP on Mar 11, 2014 1:33 pm • linkreport

Grocery stores have been building more stores in urban areas and are serving people who are more likely to take transit. You'd think there would be one chain that would see the competitive advantage in offering transit rewards to shoppers.

I can easily walk to two Capitol Hill supermarkets, Safeway and Harris Teeter, and I shop at both of them. If one offered transit rewards and the other didn't, I'd almost exclusively shop at the one that did.

by Ted on Mar 11, 2014 1:34 pm • linkreport

I own a car (live in Adams Morgan) but don't drive to the store. I get the gas rewards at the Safeway on Columbia Rd., but I never use them. Why? Because apparently they expire (I always seem to be around 20 points out of 100, never more), and - the bigger reason - the gas stations where they are usable have vastly higher gas prices than others. Safeway's deal is with ExxonMobil, but those stations are the most expensive in the city. I'm much better off heading down to the Valero on W and 14th or the whatever it's called opposite the 9:30 Club, where gas prices are around $0.20 - $0.50 per gallon cheaper.

by EdH on Mar 11, 2014 1:37 pm • linkreport

Maybe I'm missing a step, but when I've tried swiping my Safeway card at an Exxon gas station pump it does not seem to do anything (and I shop at Safeway every one or two weeks).

by Steve D. on Mar 11, 2014 1:52 pm • linkreport

Personally, we don't make the decision of where to shop based on gas (or any other) rewards programs. We figure out which store is offering what we need the cheapest that week, and go there... i.e., if we need 15 pounds of chicken to freeze, and it's a buck cheaper per pound at Giant than Safeway, it's a no-brainer to go to Giant. I would imagine, though I don't know for sure, that "choice" shoppers pick their store for that week in a similar fashion.

by JES on Mar 11, 2014 2:04 pm • linkreport

This is not about rewarding people for driving, it's about increasing profit for the enterprise.

Motor fuel is the loss leader in marketing gimmicks like this.

Over here in Salisbury we have a chain of Exxon Tiger Marts that do the same marketing gimmick.

Entice the costumer into the store with discounts on one product that has a naturally low profit margin and get them to buy the products on the shelves that have the high profit margins.

by Sand Box John on Mar 11, 2014 2:09 pm • linkreport

It's a good idea to provide a loyalty reward that's more widely applicable to customers than a gas discount that doesn't cost the grocery store more money to provide (I'm guessing they're paying little to nothing for their partnership with Exxon since they're sending extra customers to Exxon). What would that reward be?

For instance, the store could offer discounts on its own merchandise to customers who accumulate reward points.

Let's say they gave a 5% or $5 discount on your next purchase of groceries. That would cost them the full amount of the discount. The gas reward is probably close to free for them to provide since Exxon appreciates the referral. Exxon builds the cost of marketing/referrals into their prices which is part of the reason their gas costs more than the no-name brand gas station (even though the gas itself all comes from the same handful of large refiners).

Basically, the grocery store is partnering with Exxon to give you a discount on gas that's already priced artificially high. So, it's not really a discount. It works for Exxon because this way they can "price discriminate" -- charge a higher price to customers who don't count their pennies and a lower price to cost conscious customers.

by Falls Church on Mar 11, 2014 2:37 pm • linkreport

Umm... there are other reward programs. Likewise, most of the time the receipts are full of coupons for items I will never purchase.

by selxic on Mar 11, 2014 2:39 pm • linkreport

"Gas rewards programs promote the message that driving is preferable to other travel modes, uniquely worthy of reward. That message is irrelevant to the stores' mission and risks alienating the non-driving public."
Only in the hothouse of "progressive" thought like GGW can somebody think that grocery stores are trying to encourage driving. They are trying to entice people to shop in their stores, but without actually costing them much money. The gas reward programs don't cost the stores that much money -- it is hard to accumulate too many points because they expire every 30 days, the points don't save that much money even if you do use them. But human psychology being what it is, many people go out of their way to shop certain places to get the points.

by Mike on Mar 11, 2014 2:40 pm • linkreport

As far as I am concerned, gas points are a scam. The gas station near me that is tied to the program is consistently 20 cents a gallon more expensive than others in Alexandria. What is the point?

by movement on Mar 11, 2014 3:35 pm • linkreport

My friends and I all use a friend's phone number who drives when making purchases for points etc.

It is, generally, useless as the points expire quickly, etc. But we also have the satisfaction of knowing we're throwing off market research scams, too.

by Capt. Hilts on Mar 11, 2014 3:39 pm • linkreport

Guess what? You're not entitled to a reward program of exactly your choosing. For the vast majority of people in this country, a gas reward is useful. Why would safeway or giant have an incentive to add another program and the cost to manage it for a pretty small minority of people who don't ever drive?

Harris Teeter used to give away stuff like lawn chairs and grill sets once you racked up enough reward points. A lot of people liked them, and would find uses for them. For others, they were entirely useless. Was Harris Teeter trying to encourage a suburban lifestyle with big lawns and outdoor grills? No, they were just recognizing that a lot of their consumers had those things already, and wanted to find a product they could give that the largest percentage possible of their consumers would enjoy.

When you're a business, you build your rewards programs around what's useful to the majority of your customers, you don't waste effort to make things marginally better for a pretty small minority.

by Zeus on Mar 11, 2014 3:42 pm • linkreport

I think the article misses the point of supermarket gas rewards generally. As many people have noted, they're a scam. They're designed to attract the kind of shopper who is willing and able to change supermarkets over an offer of sixty cents off their next fill-up, even if doing so costs them a couple of dollars in increased costs and the promotion is only good at one filling station in Delaware between the hours of 9:45 and 10:15 on Wednesdays during a full moon. The point is to attract people to your store without offering a deal they'll use; if people used the offers they qualified for, it would cost the company money.

That said, people who don't drive to the store can certainly be targeted by equally attractive-sounding-but-useless promotional efforts. All you need is a customer loyalty card. I'm a single guy who routinely buys the smaller cartons of milk, so they know my household regularly drinks milk at a modest rate. Naturally, I get all these "get your milk for just a dollar!" special offers with fine print that reveals that they're offering a gallon of milk for a dollar with purchase of another gallon of milk at the regular price. They can offer this to me because they know I won't take advantage of it; I can't finish one gallon of milk before it goes bad, let alone two.

by cminus on Mar 11, 2014 4:44 pm • linkreport

all i want from my supermarket to get me there more without my car, is some decent bike racks. Still wouldnt do most of my shopping that way, but Id be much more inclined to go for a couple of items now and then.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 11, 2014 5:06 pm • linkreport

Forget the rewards, it's the privacy issue that's frightening. When you enter your rewards # somewhere a server loads all your purchasing information so that anyone can research intimate details about you. How sexually active you are (condoms, lubricants), how fat you are, whether you're coupon-clipping frugal or a spendthrift, what ailments you have, etc.

Soon we'll have facial recognition so retailers can track your every movement and activity in "public" as the police in London do now.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 11, 2014 5:13 pm • linkreport

Tom C, THAT's why you share a phone number with a bunch of your friends.

by Capt. Hilts on Mar 11, 2014 5:15 pm • linkreport

I got my rewards card under a fake name - I presume all they really wanted was something to link my purchases together for market research purchases, not my actual identity.

You are of course free to purchase your privacy sensitive items for cash, without using your discount card.

and of course its impossible to tell my weight, since they can't tell how much I exercise.

They can however tell that John Doe is something of a tightwad.

by Privacy issues on Mar 11, 2014 5:17 pm • linkreport

Tom C, THAT's why you share a phone number with a bunch of your friends.

"OMG, this guy is like 500 pounds and he's getting it every night!"

by Privacy issues on Mar 11, 2014 5:18 pm • linkreport

What is clear to me - Shell gas has some cross promotional relationship with Stop&Shop (corporate parent of Giant) that now runs all the way from the Mid Atlantic to at least the NY Metro Area.

What is not clear to me - who pays the pump owner the difference between the rewards price and the listed price.

Is the program about getting more people into grocery stores or more people to a specific brand of gas?

Put another way - if the store gives a sandwich, Starbucks, $ off, or some other in house discount, it is making less money at the registers. It is possible that the gas station relationships cost the store chains very little; there is a lot more local competition for brands of gasoline than there is for brands of grocery stores. Take Downtown Silver Spring:

Groceries - Giant, Safeway, Whole Foods

Gas (within a 5-7 minute drive) - Shell, BP, 7-11, Exxon, at least 1 or 2 independent stations

Without knowing the fiscal relationship between the store brands and the gas brands how can one make an argument as to what the grocery stores should or should not offer?

by gooch on Mar 11, 2014 5:27 pm • linkreport

1) Safeway's primary reward program is the discounts it provides to safeway club card holders. The savings are potentially large - 20-30% if you target your purchases. By comparison, $1000 of shopping saves you maybe $10-20 on a gas purchase.

2) This is not just Safeway, but a combined promotion with gas stations. It is primarily an effort to compete with places like Wal-Mart and Costco that offer cheap gas as a loss leader at locations adjacent to their foodstores. In other words, it is competition, not a giveaway, and thus suggesting transit benefits is an unrealistic alternative, at least until Costco starts offering discounte Metro cards.

by ah on Mar 11, 2014 5:36 pm • linkreport

Nowadays I think a lot of people have choices in DC on where to shop. I regularly walk/bike to Whole Foods, Giant, Walmart and Safeway. I could easily add Harris Teeter and Trader Joe's if I wanted.

Being that I don't own a car I frequently shop and buy modest amounts on each trip. So the gas rewards are useless to me as a loyalty enticement. I think its just a case of upper management still having a suburban viewpoint. Business's do better when they know and respond to their customer's actual needs.

Some other blind spots that irritate me are:
1) Stores only having grocery carts that are the size of semi-truck trailers.
2) Items on sale that require you buy more than one could possibly carry more than a few feet.

by JeffB on Mar 11, 2014 5:44 pm • linkreport

Items on sale that require you buy more than one could possibly carry more than a few feet.

Most grocery deals that say "X for $Y" don't actually require you to buy that many. You get the per-item discount no matter how many you get. Obviously doesn't apply to "buy one get one free."

by MLD on Mar 11, 2014 6:45 pm • linkreport

@MLD, actually, I've seen "buy one get one free" offers translated into half-price on single items at Harris Teeter. They will add on language like "Must buy second product to get discount," if they aren't doing the half-off version.

by Craig on Mar 11, 2014 7:41 pm • linkreport

I feel that the grocery stores are targeting a very low hanging fruit for customer rewards. Gas prices tend to be the one unit cost that people fret over most. People grumble or cheer over a 10 cent raise or drop. Even though it may result in only a dollar per tank difference, it for some reason a very rewarding thing for people to save on gas.

Thankfully, more people are learning to truly save on gas by forgoing the car all together if they can.

by Chris Allen, PE on Mar 11, 2014 7:53 pm • linkreport

Umm... there are other reward programs.

For example?

by David C on Mar 11, 2014 9:10 pm • linkreport

I love it when logic is a revelation, bravo! NIce catch and look forward to more gotchas. I feed on irony.

by StyrofoamMon on Mar 11, 2014 9:42 pm • linkreport

Here you go, David C.

by selxic on Mar 12, 2014 2:53 am • linkreport

Excellent post. ...it's true, why should we reward driving? I never thought about that before, and once again the writer brings up a fresh perspective.

by Beth J. on Mar 12, 2014 5:38 am • linkreport

This is pretty silly for urban areas. In the UK, you're rewarded with a discount on your groceries at Tesco. I think drivers would be just as happy to get a discount on groceries -- it's all money being spent on something.

by James on Mar 12, 2014 6:31 am • linkreport

These programs do not reward driving. They reward blind brand loyalty and corporate handshake agreements with per-gallon fuel prices that "appear" to be lower, but as was actually mentioned by other commenters here are not actually lower than the cost of fuel available outside of the reward partnership scheme.

In fact, in addition to fuel being available cheaper elsewhere, often times groceries are available slightly cheaper outside of the rewards scheme retailers. Pricing isn't consistent, after all. Of course, this is a website predominantly about land use, transit, and urban living - so I wouldn't have expected the thrust of the article to be anything other than hand-wringing over gas rewards - but a more balanced look at the programs would have yielded an entirely different problem that is inherent in these schemes.

You see, when you shop at a store that offers these kinds of deals, they recoup the "loss" on fuel sales through charging higher premiums on your groceries. It isn't noticeable by anyone except the most die-hard of extreme penny-pinchers or coupon-collectors, but various products in these stores will have minor ($0.05 ~ 0.10) mark-ups that help pay for the loss-leading gas discounts. What's more, participating fuel stores will also trend towards higher per-gallon pricing in order to recoup their "losses" from selling to the occasional driver who comes by with a huge "discount" banked up and fills their car plus the two or three spare portable tanks they keep in their trunk for exactly this purpose for the full discounted fuel amount.

The net result is a "savings" that ends up costing everyone involved more, whether they drive or not. And that wouldn't change whether the "savings" were payed back to participants in fuel, transit rides, or deli sandwiches. This is the real problem that needs to be addressed - worrying about driving is "encouraged" by these programs is at best a sidebar and at worst the exact kind of conversation management wants the public to be having because it means they won't be confronted about the true issues.

by Ryan on Mar 12, 2014 7:12 am • linkreport

As mentioned many times already, in reality gas rewards really do little to save money, especially when you consider the fact that the stores that do offer it are generally on the more expensive end when it comes to grocery prices.

However, I will say it comes in pretty handy come holiday season when we have a handful of folks we will buy gift cards for. The store we buy them from always honor the gas rewards program for them and sometimes even do double points, so buying gift cards we would have otherwise bought somewhere else does end up saving me nearly 2 bucks a gallon and probably around 20-25 bucks for the following fill-up.

Our store also used to offer the choice of either gas or food rewards, where you can forgo the fuel savings and actually put that money onto your next grocery bill. Guess that was costing them too much for the bean-counters to handle though and ended up getting rid of it.

by Joe on Mar 12, 2014 8:12 am • linkreport

Another issue for Safeway are some of the specials.

I shop at the Columbia Rd. Safeway. Safeway frequently has deals along these lines: Buy 3 12-packs of soda/water get one free. Since most people walk to this Safeway and have stairs to climb, these buy-in-bulk deals are useless.

by kob on Mar 12, 2014 9:20 am • linkreport

But I will say this about Safeway, and it's a big plus.

The store usually have some donation request at checkout to fight this or that disease or help vets. I'll bet it raises a tremendous amount of money, and I hope they never stop doing it.

by kob on Mar 12, 2014 9:23 am • linkreport

selxic, that link only shows gas rewards. Perhaps you could TELL me what the other rewards are instead of making me look for them. I usually charge $150 hour to do someone else's research.

by David C on Mar 12, 2014 11:16 am • linkreport

Good point by JeffB on cart sizes. My local Safeway offers three sizes of shopping container: basket, small cart, and huge cart. The small carts are invariably all in use, and the baskets frequently are as well, while there's always a corral full of the giant carts. I don't think Safeway gets how many of their customers aren't driving and thus are keeping an eye on how much they buy at any one time.

by cminus on Mar 12, 2014 12:12 pm • linkreport

"Gas rewards programs promote the message that driving is preferable to other travel modes, uniquely worthy of reward."

This blog is slowly starting to sound like a parody of itself. The only thing gas rewards "promote" is the advantage of co-branding. You're absolutely right -- it would be nice if they had some kind of alternate program for people (like you and me) who don't gas up as often. But that would dilute the existing program; so they've made the calculation that serving the driving public is going to have the broadest appeal to their customer base. I obviously don't have any data but I have a feeling that most of their customers are people who drive on at least a semi-regular basis. (Whether or not they drive *to the store* is irrelevant.)

@cminus -- re: cart sizes -- Research shows that customers who use larger carts purchase more items, so I suspect some of this is by design. That said, I remember Harris Teeter on Kalorama having fewer small carts at one point but eventually adding more. There's something to be said for responding to your customers' needs as opposed to blindly chasing an inflated bottom line. In my experience, the former leads to the latter in most cases.

by WestEgg on Mar 12, 2014 1:24 pm • linkreport

If you don't like it, shop somewhere else.

Oh, wait: non-car-owners are limited to the stores they can walk/ride to. And because of that, stores know they have less competition for your business and have less reason to give you an incentive.

But car drivers have a lot more options, so these incentives offset the price of driving past the competition to get there.

But that effect is muted. The incentives are only good at Exxon/Mobil(Safeway) or Shell(Giant), which are already 20-40 cents more expensive than Sunoco or Liberty. So the incentives don't really save drivers money or incentivize driving more. They just create a few more options for where to fill-up that week.

by Noreaster on Mar 12, 2014 5:47 pm • linkreport

The gas discount at Giant and Safeway is probably among the least attractive loyalty discounts that those stores offer, even for households that spend a lot on groceries and gas. Timing purchases of items like meat, juice or ice cream that regularly have deep discounts with the loyalty card can result in savings in the hundreds of dollars a year, far exceeding the value of the gas discount, if one drove enough to redeem it.

In addition, Safeway regularly sends me an e-mail for a $5 discount on my next purchase of $20 or more, along with larger than normal discounts on particular items that I purchase frequently. Giant also sends e-mails for additional discounts. (And if you have privacy concerns, you can set up a secondary e-mail address to get those messages.)

Many companies that I do business with have promotions that offer discounts or special access for things (particular sports or entertainment events or travel) that are of no interest to me, and gas discounts at the supermarket fall in that category. That isn’t a reason to call them out on it.

by OtherMike on Mar 12, 2014 6:33 pm • linkreport

Supermarkets should explore other incentive options that can meet the needs of all their customers. Having a well rounded rewards program will drive customer loyalty.

by Caleb on Apr 30, 2014 4:31 pm • linkreport

They also offer a 5% discount on your bill with points if you opt not to use it for fuel.

by Shari on Jun 21, 2014 10:04 am • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

or

Support Us