Grocery Store Gas Rewards Programs

It seems that lots of grocery stores nowadays have some sort of gas rewards programs. It can be a very effective marketing tool if you think about it: promote sales at your store and “help” people save money at the pump. With the costs of groceries going up as well, I bet a lot of people think they can reach the store purchase minimums quickly.

Around me, initially only one of the grocery stores had this type of program. At this store the program consisted of buying certain items at full price and you would get cents off at the pump. Weekly the store would advertise people who paid $0.01 per gallon of gas with this offer. It seems lately they have switched to offering cents off discount after you purchase $50 in groceries on one transaction. I tried many weeks to find an good deal with this offer but every time buying the item on sale trumped any savings at the pump buying the item full price provided. For example, you could buy one 2lb bag of baby carrots for 1.89 and save 0.05 cents per gallon up to 15 gallons. Or wait for the following week when carrots would be on sale for $1 per bag. So you could save 0.75 one week or 0.89 the following. So, you can see how this never seemed like a winning proposition.

I guess the other main grocery store not wanting to be left out and because gas prices are so incredibly high nowadays came up with its own gas rewards program. At this store you have to purchase $50 in one single order (after coupons and store discounts) to earn “premiums.” Six premiums equal one $10 gift card. So you have to spend $300 to get a ten dollar discount, that’s a 3.33% discount. Sure if you are getting no discount, this is better than nothing. However, I can never spend more than $25 at this grocery store. The only time I hit around that amount is when I buy meat.

To me it just doesn’t make sense to spend so much money to get such a measly discount. Right now we are using my husband’s Discover card to get 5% off. We don’t have to have any minimum purchases, we get the discount every time we fill up with gas.
Does a store by you offer gas reward programs, if so, have you made them work for you or have you found another way to pay less for gas?