When my home town Kroger store recently opened a gasoline station, I tried out their discounted fuel. Not knowing exactly how the program worked, I simply asked for the biggest discount, which turned out to be $0.50 a gallon. With my 18 gallon purchase, I saved $9! Needless to say, I like this program! To learn how to maximize my savings each month, I grabbed a brochure.

### Based on that brochure, here are the basics of the Kroger point program:

- You get a point for every dollar you spend in the grocery store.

- There is no limit to the number of points you can earn.

- You get $0.10 per gallon for every 100 points, but a maximum of 1000 points ($1/gallon discount) can be redeemed at one fill up.

- Fuel discounts apply to a maximum of 35 gallons of fuel, per vehicle, per purchase.

- You can carry unused points to the end of the following month in which they were earned, but, once you are into the next month, those points must be used for a separate fill-up.

- You can choose not to use your points when purchasing gasoline.

Clear as mud? Bear with me…my tips are extremely simple and I only have two of them.

**1. Don’t spend extra on groceries in order to get a bigger gasoline discount**…that is what Kroger hopes you will do. A $100 grocery purchase will save you ten cents per gallon at the pump – a whopping $2 savings if you need 20 gallons of gasoline. You can save far more than $2 by comparison shopping, watching for sales and clipping coupons.

**2. Take your biggest discount when your fuel tank is nearly empty**. Why? Those 500 points (for example) will save you $10 dollars if you buy 20 gallons of gasoline, but only $5 if you buy 10 gallons. I like $10 better than $5, don’t you?

I realize there are nuances to this program that I did not address, but I believe if you buy your groceries wherever you get the best price, then wait until your tank is nearly empty before redeeming your points, you will maximize your savings.

*Readers: do you have other tips on how to maximize your Kroger (or any other store) points at the gas pump?*

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Around Christmas Kroger offered 4 times the fuel points if you bought gift cards from them, they have gift cards from many different stores. $25 of gift cards was equal to $100 of groceries. And if you were going to be shopping at those other stores anyway while Christmas shopping it was a good deal.

Chuck — I realized that Kroger was giving double points throughout December on all groceries, but I was not aware of the deal they were offering on gift cards. I agree…if you are going to be shopping at those other stores anyway, buying the gift cards from Kroger makes sense. But one needs to be careful. Spending that $25 to get $100 worth of points will save about $2 at the pump (and you need to buy 20 gallons to save that much) so I would be VERY sure I was going to be shopping at the store I bought the gift card for. Might be safer to simply buy the gift card as a gift.

I somehow missed the December deal with gift cards. Darn…I’ll have to pay more attention.

Do you know if the points are based upon the before coupon total or the final amount that you pay?

Pam — The points are based on the final amount you pay.

In Los Angeles, they run a similar deal with Shell Gas station via Ralphs (Kroger owned). Whenever you enter your Ralphs number, you get $0.10 off each gallon. Regardless of how much you pump, it costs 100 points. If you pump 10 gallons, you break even on the point exchange (100 points = $1.00). I typically get around 14 gallons for my sedan. That means I have $0.14 per gallon. If I had a truck with a 35 gallon tank, I’d save $0.35 per gallon.

So, in my case, I buy Shell gas cards. This way I get 2% cash back on my Sallie Mae Credit card, 2x or 4x Ralphs in-store rewards, at least 10 cents off my gas if I fill 10 gallons or more.

The only thing that is different between Kroger and Shell is this part:

You get $0.10 per gallon for every 100 points, but a maximum of 1000 points ($1/gallon discount) can be redeemed at one fill up.

TekGems–I learned that I can use my Kroger points at participating Shell stations (limit of 100 points per fill up). But I am having trouble following you on 14 or 35 gallon purchases. Doesn’t 100 points always equal $.10 per gallon discount no matter how many gallons you purchase? How do you come up with $0.14 or $0.35 per gallon?

I love the fuel points at my local Kroger. What you need to do is take full advantage of coupons. Let’s say that something is on sale for $1 and you can get a $0.50 off coupon that doubles, I will head to eBay and purchase 20 of these coupons. Over the week, I will purchase $20 worth of items for free AND I get $20 toward my gas points. Each and every week, you should be able to find at least one thing that you can get for free. I’ve found this to work rather well.

Liz…I am confused. Kroger told me that you only earn points on the final purchase price, so I don’t understand how you can get gas points for “free” items.

The value of your 100 points is worth a $1.00 if you get an in-store rewards check every quarter. You make the value of those points greater if you pump gas 10 galoons or more. 100 points becomes $1.40 if you pump 14 galoons, or $3.50 if you pump 35 galoons. So, you end up getting a better value for 100 points the more gas you buy in one purchase.

I know it’s confusing. It took me a few minutes to do the math in my head.

My husband and I both go to Kroger at the same time when our cars are on empty and fill up. It saved us $30 last week. You can get up to 35 gallons of gas with your points. You also get 50 fuel points if you fill in prescriptions at Kroger pharmacy.

Carol–I like your plan, but I am pretty sure that Kroger doesn’t. The rules say “Fuel discounts apply to a maximum of 35 gallons of fuel, per vehicle, per purchase.”

That’s interesting. I didn’t realize it said per vehicle. I would have never thought of the idea but a local Kroger manager told me that’s what I should do when we have a lot of points. He said he even tells people to fill up cars and gas can for the mower!

Hey … you got permission so go for it! Unlike you, I actually considered filling both cars, but decided against doing so when I read the fine print. Besides, our two vehicles require different grades of gasoline, so doing so would be a bit tricky.

Sorry, my math is off on this one. I thought about it a few minutes, but I still got it wrong! LOL.

If you fill up 35 gallons, your gas savings will be $3.50 ($0.10 x 35). Your cost per point (CPP) is 2.857 cents which is very good.

If you fill up 10 gallons, your gas savings will be $1.00. You break even in this case, because if you kept the points, your Ralphs in-store rewards would also give you $1.00.

If you buy gas and fill up less than 10 gallons, you are losing money. For example, if you fill up 1 gallon, your gas savings is $0.10. You could have made $0.90 more if you just waited for the Ralph in-store rewards check. Your CPP in this case is $1.00 which is very poor redemption rate.

I hope that makes it more clear.

TekGems– OK. Now your math makes sense. The point is not to squander those points…make sure your car is close to empty before redeeming them.

Another tip for you: The points expire at the end of the month so I always make sure to take my wife’s Suburban to Kroger for a fill-up toward the end of the month to make sure I don’t lose any points. We do most of our shopping for groceries at Wal-Mart since the costs are lower, but will stop at Kroger for items like milk and quick trips since it is closer to home and much easier to get in and out.

cashflow — Your strategy sounds a lot like mine. The other day, when my van (26 gallon tank) was nearly empty, I was planning to go fill it up when one of my kids borrowed it and added a bunch of gas to it. Now I am watching the tank and the calendar so I won’t lose those 1000+ December points I accumulated.

I have a tank that you can fill up if you need to spend the points 🙂

Hahaha. Sorry, Tim. Thanks for the offer, but you are too late. I just filled my van this morning. Maybe another time.

In addition to filling up your car, bring along some 5 gallon fuel tanks and fill those up as well to get you to 35 gallons. Its cheap gas, don’t waste it!

Kevin — I have to admit that I hadn’t considered taking some gas cans along. Good tip.