The basic idea for gift card loyalty programs allows the customer to earn points by purchasing groceries or gift cards to various vendors such as retail stores, online stores, airlines, and more.
These points are then redeemable on gasoline purchases at affiliated gas stations for cents off per gallon, sometimes adding up to an entire tank of gas for free.
In other cases, a customer can save up to 50 cents per fill-up on eight fill-ups per month.
Grocery Store Gift Card Purchase Programs
Kroger is a national chain (U.S.A.) that does business under several different names of supermarkets, including Payless, King Sooper’s, Ralph’s, Fry’s, and City Market. In addition to fuel rewards, some stores offer special promotions to earn extra points on specific gift cards.
Around the holidays’ offers have even included $10 off of $100 worth of specified gift-cards, plus the earning of gas rewards.
Giant Eagle, a regional chain in the Midwest, offers one of the best loyalty programs. The program allows the customer to earn unlimited fuel discounts up to a completely free tank of gas.
Conversely, money spent on gasoline can add up to discounts on food purchased at the grocery store.
Some other regional chains which participate in rewards programs for gift cards include Safeway, Von’s, Shop ‘n Save, Rainbow Foods, and IGA. A little research into local supermarkets will give the best idea of what is available in each area.
Budgeting With Gift Cards
Besides these obvious savings that purchasing gift-cards through a rewards program can offer, gift cards can also be an excellent tool for budgeting.
Much like making use of a cash/envelope system, buying gift-cards each month or each payday can prevent a family from overspending.
When the giftcards are gone, the spending money is gone until the scheduled time to buy new gift-cards.
This can be especially helpful for little expenditures that can add up to a lot. Swiping a debit card here and there may not seem like much, but even a simple daily coffee can add up to hundreds of dollars a month.
If you starts out the month with a $25 Starbucks gift card, it’s much easier to stay on budget.
Purchasing gift cards for iTunes, movie theatres, Target, Kohl’s, and hundreds of other places can work the same way, giving a bit of accountability to keep the budget on track.
Being Careful With Gift Cards
Keeping a small permanent marker in the car or a purse helps keep balances straight by writing on the back each time a gift-card is used.
Some gift-cards even allow people to register them online in case they are lost or stolen.
Most gift-cards that are available for purchase do not have expiration dates or other stipulations, but that isn’t always the case.
However, beware of purchasing Visa or American Express gift cards, as they often come with a service fee which cancels out any potential savings.