Local supermarket chain Giant Eagle has a brilliant marketing scheme called fuelperks For every 50 dollars you spend on groceries in their stores, you earn a one-time, 10-cent-per-gallon discount at Giant Eagle’s “GetGo” gas stations. The discounts accumulate until you use them (or they expire in three months). If you buy 109 dollars of groceries, for example, you will earn a 20-cent-per-gallon gas discount. (The remaining 9 dollars will carry over to your next grocery purchase.)
What makes the scheme brilliant is that its psychological effect is wildly in excess of the discount’s actual value. Many people will wait in lines to buy gas from GetGo, even though the discount provides no incentive to do so. Further, as gas prices rise, many customers perceive the discount to be all the more valuable, even though it is not.
I thought it would be interesting to scrutinize the discount and answer some common questions about it.
How much is the “fuelperks” discount worth?
The discount is typically equivalent to about 3- to 4-percent cash back on your grocery purchases, depending on the average amount of gas you purchase per fill-up. For example, my mid-size car has a 14-gallon tank, and I always buy a full tank’s worth of gas, so for me the discount is about 2.8 percent:
14 gallons × 0.10 dollars/gallon / 50 dollars = 0.028
If you drive a luxury-barge SUV and can manage to buy a full 30 gallons at each fill up, you will earn the theoretical maximum discount of 6 percent.
How do I get the maximum benefit from the discount?
To get the maximum benefit, follow two simple rules:
- buy a full tank of gas whenever you use earned discounts at GetGo
- use your discounts before they expire
Do I lose benefits if I buy gas somewhere else?
No. Even if you buy most of your gas somewhere else, as long as you buy gas from GetGo frequently enough to use your discounts before they expire, you will get the maximum benefit.
When gas prices increase, do I get more benefits?
No. The value of any discounts you have earned depend on the quantity of gas you purchase. The price of gas at the time of purchase has no effect on the discount.
Any other questions?
If you have any questions (or comments), please post a comment.