Do you feed your family and your vehicle with Kroger food and gasoline? If so, let’s hope that you put food on the table and gasoline in the vehicle, as any other combination could cause a problem. Also, you can get points for doing so, which is probably why you are here.

To earn points at Kroger, you’ll need a Kroger Plus card. This is just like any other grocery store credit card out there. You’ll have to fill out an application and they’ll give you a card on the spot. Sounds easy, huh?

Are Kroger Gas Rewards A Good Deal or a Sham?

When using your Kroger Plus card, you’ll earn 1 point per dollar spent on items in Kroger stores. It is important to note that only in store items qualify for points, as fuel purchases do not earn points.

You’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on gift cards. You may want to look into buying gift cards and then buying groceries with those gift cards, as you’d earn more points by doing that. It would be humorous to see the look on the cashier’s face as you buy gift cards, go get some groceries and then pay with those gift cards. I don’t have firsthand experience going this route and I‘m not even sure if you can purchase groceries with those gift cards, so exercise caution if and when you try this out.

Finally, you’ll earn 50 points per non-federally funded prescription that you have filled at Kroger. So, if Uncle Sam isn’t footing the bill, you can earn a cool 50 points with each prescription that you fill.

Note: You can earn and use points at the Kroger Family of Stores, which includes Baker’s, City Market, Dillons, Fry’s Food Stores, Gerbes, King Soopers, Quality Food Centers (QFC), Smith’s and, you guessed it, Kroger. So, any of those that have fuel stations should work just well for using fuel discounts. You can also get discounts through Shell.

Redeeming Your Rewards Certificates

You’ll have to accumulate 500 points to get your first rewards certificate, which will be mailed to you. It will be worth $5, as each point is worth 1 cent. After your first certificate is mailed, you’ll receive 1 rewards certificate for every 100 points that you earn.

Rewards certificates are mailed out quarterly. Leftover rewards are not carried over into the next year. For example, if you have 97 points left at the end of 2012, they’ll go down the drain.

There is a maximum payout of $250 per rewards cycle. So, if you plan on spending at least $25,000 over 3 months at Kroger, then this may not be a good option. Assuming you don’t own a restaurant (in that case you probably wouldn’t shop at Kroger anyway) this cap shouldn’t be an issue.

Redeeming Your Points For Gas

To redeem your points for fuel, you can do so at Kroger or Shell stations. You can redeem 100 points for a discount of 10 cents per gallon on a one-time fill-up at Shell.

You’ll have a bit more flexibility when shopping through Kroger, as you can redeem from 100 to 1,000 points (in increments of 100 points) to get up to $1 off each gallon on a one-time fill-up.

Strategies for Maximizing Your Kroger Points

1. Use the 1-2-3 Rewards Visa to earn more points.

There are several versions of the 1-2-3 Rewards Visa that offer fuel rewards to those who frequent Kroger (or affiliated) fuel stations. These include the following:

  • Kroger 1-2-3 Rewards Visa
  • King Soopers/City Market 1-2-3 Rewards Visa
  • Dillons/Baker’s 1-2-3 Rewards Visa
  • Smith’s Food & Drug Stores 1-2-3 Rewards Visa
  • Fry’s Food & Drug Stores/Fry’s Marketplace 1-2-3 Rewards Visa
  • QFC 1-2-3 Rewards Visa

With this card, you’ll earn 1 point per dollar spent outside of Kroger stores. You’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent inside Kroger stores and 3 points per dollar spent on Kroger (and affiliated) products. In other words, you’ll earn the most points by shopping at Kroger stores and buying their in-house products.

During the first 3 months with this card, you’ll receive an additional discount of 25 cents per gallon on a 1-time fill-up for each 100 points that you redeem. You’ll get this in addition to the discount of 10 cents per gallon that you’d already get. So, if you drive a tank or a car with a huge hole in it’s gas tank, you could save quite a few dollars by using this card.

After 3 months, the additional discount drops to 5 cents per gallon. That’s not too bad. Also, there is no annual fee, meaning that you won’t pay a dime in fees if you keep up with your bills.

2. Use a Gas Rewards Credit Card

By using a non station-specific credit card and your Kroger fuel points, you can take advantage of multiple sources of rewards at once. A good card to do this with is the Blue Cash Everyday card, which offers 2 percent cash back on gas purchases and no annual fee.

Common Question: Is it better to go with the 1-2-3 Rewards Visa card or a gas rewards credit card that you earn 2% back with on fuel?

Let’s take a look at how each would work for you during the first 3 months and then for the next year after that, assuming that you spend $500 and $2,000, respectively. Also, let‘s assume that you get the standard 10 cents per gallon off each time and the average price ends up at $4 per gallon:

CardPrice / GallonPurchasedTotal Spent (3 Months)Fuel Points SavingsCredit Card SavingsTotal Savings
1-2-3 Rewards Visa$4125$500$12.50$31.25$43.75
Gas Credit Card (2% back)$4125$500$12.50$10$22.50

As we can see, the 1-2-3 Rewards Visa card is the easy choice over the first 3 months, as you’ll get over $20 more back with it during that time period.

Now, let’s see how this would play out in the year following the first 3 months, using the same assumptions and considering the reduced rewards with the 1-2-3 Visa card after 3 months is over:

CardPrice / GallonGallons PurchasedTotal Spent (1 Year)Fuel Points SavingsCredit Card SavingsTotal Savings
1-2-3 Rewards Visa$4800$3200$75$37.50$112
Gas Credit Card (2% back)$4800$3200$75$60$135

Based on these results, the a gas rewards card that gives you 2% back would work better on an ongoing basis. With that being said, it still may be worthwhile to go with the 1-2-3 Rewards Visa card over the long haul, as the extra points that can be earned with it may work out better for you.

Of course, it always pays to do the math. If you purchase your groceries regularly at Kroger, though, then the extra rewards on the 1-2-3 Rewards Visa card should work out better for you in terms of fuel discounts, making it a better gas card if you prefer to fill-up at Kroger (or affiliated) stations.