When Stacie and I walked into our local Giant supermarket recently, we noticed their new partnership with Shell (Gas) where you earn points towards “money off at the pump”.
Here’s the skinny, straight from the Giant website:
How it works
For every dollar you spend at Giant, you earn a point on your card. Earn 100 points, save 10¢/gallon on gas. The more you shop, the more you save – you can redeem up to $2.20/gallon in a single fill up.
Points are valid for 30 days.
How to redeem your points
- Follow the prompts at the pump to start
- Insert your Giant Card (or, enter your phone number or 12-digit key tag number)
- Select payment and fuel grade
- Watch the price drop instantly!
Stacie and I were all excited because we like to shop at Giant (although not exclusively) and we like Shell gas. But we were definitely disappointed by the item I marked in red above: Points are valid for 30 days.
I thought the program would be similar to Giant Eagle Fuelperks in my home state of Pennsylvania where the points don’t expire for 3 months AND you can earn more than just 30 cents off a gallon. You see, it’s just two of us, and we don’t like the pressure of having to spend at least $100 at a single store within 30 days just to get a few bucks off for gas.
Overall, I think this deal is better for families who buy a lot of groceries and $100 isn’t hard to reach in a month. But I don’t recommend the program if it means you’re buying unnecessary items just to reach a certain goal. In the end, you should calculate how much you’re really saving on gas versus saving by shopping elsewhere. And remember, it doesn’t matter if gas prices are going up, you’re still only saving 10, 20 or 30 cents per gallon.
Therefore, the maximum savings you can earn:
10 cents on 35 gallons: $3.50
20 cents on 35 gallons: $7.00
30 cents on 35 gallons: $10.50
And how many of you have a 35 gallon gas tank?
- You might think “Oh, I’ll just go buy a barrel to store the gas!”. Well, gas containers aren’t cheap either.
- You might think “Oh, we have multiple cars, so I’ll just fill them all up at once!”. Well, try coordinating a gas fill without putting back the nozzle and ending the transaction. Is it really worth all the hassle?
Alternate Ways to Save Money on Gas
Personally, I use my Pentagon Federal CU Credit Card to earn 5% back at the pump, and I don’t need to push myself to buy up $100 worth of groceries in a month to do it. Now, if I DO earn the gas discount, I’ll also use my PenFed card to earn extra discount.
In reality, the 5% discount is more like 3.5% because of fuel taxes (differ by state). I have a 22 gallon tank on my truck, and I use 87 octane. Usually my fillups happen at 20 gallons. If I use $3/gallon as a round number, here are my savings:
20 x ($3.00(0.035)) = $2.10 on a tank with just the PenFed card.
20 x ($3.00(0.035)+0.10) = $4.10 on a tank with the PenFed card and Giant savings.
So, think about using your rewards card in combination with the store promotion (if you’re willing/able to buy that much in groceries from one store in a month) to maximize your savings at the pump. In my case, I’m not going out of my way to try to save an extra $2, because we tend to shop at 3-4 different stores and save much more on sale items.