Okay, this is kind of annoying. Last week I reported that Kroger is overhauling their gas discount program. According to the note on my receipt, details would be forthcoming in the May 6th circular. So when I checked the circular, they had a vague blurb that closed by saying to check the store for details. Round and round it goes… Anyway, here’s the deal…
Save 15¢ per gallon any grade on gas when you buy $100 worth of groceries at any Kroger and use your 1-2-3 Rewards MasterCard at the pump. 15¢ per gallon maximum savings. Not valid with any other fuel offer. Limit 25 gallons. Details at store.
It’s unclear to me from this whether or not you have to charge your groceries, or just your gas. Given that they use the little keychain affinity cards to track your purchases, they should be able to give you credit whether or not you use their MasterCard. But for some reason I suspect that they’ll require the grocery purchases to be made on your Kroger 1-2-3 MasterCard as well (the ambiguous wording in their blurb notwithstanding).
So how does this stack up against the old discount plan? Well, they were previously giving a $0.03/gallon discount just for scanning their affinity card at the pump, and a $0.10/gallon discount for every $100 in groceries that you purchased (regardless of your form of payment). The $0.03/gallon discount is now a thing of the past and, although the new $0.15/gallon discount seems more generous, you can’t use it in conjunction with third party reward credits cards.
While the Kroger 1-2-3 MasterCard does give cash back (5% on Kroger brand groceries, 2% on other purchases at Kroger Stores and/or Fuel Centers, and 1% on all other purchases) it’s not as generous as Citi reward cards (and the like) which typically provide 5% off on all gas, grocery, and drug store purchases. With gas closing in on $3/gallon, that 3% reward differential works out to $0.09/gallon. And if you’re forced into using the Kroger 1-2-3 MasterCard to make your food purchases, the new deal gets even worse as compared to the old one. That being said, you’ll most likely come out a bit ahead using the Kroger 1-2-3 MasterCard (assuming you buy enough groceries to get the $0.15/gallon discount) as compared to a standard reward card sans the discount.