CLEVELAND - Today's high gasoline prices are pushing consumers to look for discounts wherever they can, and many retailers are happy to help. Giant Eagle, Acme, Marc's, Kmart and Walmart all offer significant gas rewards attached to store purchases.
"As long as their gas prices are competitive with everybody else, I'll take it on both ends, the food and the gas," said Giant Eagle customer John Minzenberger.
- Acme gives points on thousands of designated products, redeemable as cash for fuel purchases at Circle K.
- Marc's offers prepaid discount fuel cards with an automatic 10 cent per gallon discount at Speedway.
- Giant Eagle's Fuelperks program saves 10 cents a gallon on fuel purchases at Get Go with every $50 spent on the chain's Advantage card.
Rewards programs are not only popular with consumers. Retailers like them because it's a way to draw in more customers and gather shopping data at the same time.
"That is a very powerful tool for Giant Eagle, as well as very valuable to our area customers," said Rob Borella, spokesman for Giant Eagle.
Most retailers link you with specific gas stations to redeem your points. "I wouldn't go out of my way for it," said Get Go customer Ed Miller. "It's just convenience more than anything. If it's by a station that has either E85 or reward points, I'll go there."
Be sure to look at the fine print for any product exclusions or date limitations. Every card program offers different deals, so research which one is best for you, if any.
"Many consumers hate those programs," said Kent State University business professor Paul Albanese. "They really feel that it's intrusive, and they don't want to be connected in that way with the retailer."
If rewards cards aren't your thing, you can also save on gas costs in other ways.
- Empty your trunk; less weight means better mileage.
- Get a tune-up; a smooth-running engine uses fuel more effectively.
- Check websites like GasBuddy to find the cheapest daily prices near you.
If you're looking for more gasoline discounts, consider credit cards that offer fuel rewards, such as ones from Chase Bank or American Express. Read through card offers carefully before applying, however, because program details can change frequently.