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Gas station loyalty programs add up to savings on fuel purchases | Business

Most gas stations, and convenience stores with fuel pumps, have free loyalty programs that allow customers to save a little money.

Some, like Fuel Rewards at Shell stations, give you a small cents-off savings on gas just for participating.

Others, like Circle K Rewards or ExxonMobil’s return-and-earn program, let participants accumulate rewards (such as cents-off discounts on gas) based upon how much they spend. 

None of these programs offer big savings, but they are savings nonetheless — enough, for example, to more than offset South Carolina’s recent gas tax increase.

For people who tend to patronize the same service station, or same brand of gas, signing up for the brand’s loyalty program can mean paying a little less for fuel every time.

For example, I finally got around to signing up for the Fuel Rewards program, because I typically fill up at Shell stations. Now, I key in my ID before I gas up, and save at least 5 cents a gallon.

So, not a big deal, but I’m saving a little money every time for no more hassle than punching a few more numbers on the keypad at the pump.

Some of these programs want you to link your loyalty cards to credit or debit cards, and they offer additional discounts for non-fuel purchases — if you want to go to the trouble.

Loyalty program discounts come on top of other savings you might already be getting, such as cash back or points from a credit card. 

Remember, reputable websites that buy and sell gift cards are also a good resource for small, ongoing savings at gas stations you frequent. Typically, you can buy gas station gift cards for 2 percent to 3 percent less than face value.

Better still, watch for grocery store promotions. Publix regularly offers $50 gas stations gift cards for $40, for customers who spend $50 on groceries.

Here are some of the gas station loyalty programs:

  • Fuel Rewards (Shell) —…

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