Using and a Mastercard to Save on Gas

This deal was graciously shared with me by, if you’d like to sign up for the service consider signing up using his link to support him. I waited to publish this post until he posted about it, out of respect to him.

Week one of #milemadness is over, and today I’ll discuss one angle which earned me some extra points in the contest, and we’ll go over how it can work for you. The Basics you’ll need are:

  1. A Mastercard which earns you miles/points
  2. A Shell station (to use the rewards)
  3. A grocery store which sells to you on Credit. 

Fuel Rewards Network

For a quick intro into how Fuel rewards network works, here’s a quick (and loud) youtube video about the process:

If you’ve used any of the Airline Dining programs FRN works similar to those. You register your credit card number and any purchases in the current promotional categories, such as dining, or grocery count towards your fuel rewards.

Grocery Rewards Structure

The ongoing FRN offer is $.03 back when you link your grocery store loyalty from one of the 8 participating stores. These stores have a small footprint, and most of you won’t be able to use this $.03 offer.

The good news for those of us not living near these 8 chains is there’s a promotion until 3/31 which awards $.05 off per gallon for each $100 you spend at almost any grocery store. A $500 gift card would earn $.25 off up to 20 gallons, or a maximum of $5 in gas. You can stack these, to earn up to $.08 a gallon if you’re lucky enough to live in the footprint of the participating $.03 grocery stores.

FRN Grocery
The eight participating partner store brands are displayed above. Only these 8 stores allow for the added $.03 per $100 by linking your store rewards card.

There is a list of stores participating in the Mastercard $.05 offer. Even if your store shows on this list it is always good to test if your store is participating by making a small test purchase. It takes a few days for purchases to be credited to your FRN account, but once you know your store is participating.

Double Dipping

If you can find cards which charge you less than $5 per $500 in card value, like these, and this, you could turn this into a money maker.

FRN 1.65

The Fuel Rewards will continue to accumulate in your FRN account, and when you go to use them at the pump you’ll see the savings off of your per gallon price.  Some stations allow you to take the price all the way down to $.01 per gallon, others stop you at $.11 per gallon.

Triple Dipping

For the #milemadness tournament I was triple dipping. I bought a few gift cards which earn my store’s gas points and I bought them with my US Airways Mastercard. For a $500 purchase, with a $4.95 fee I was earning 505 USDM, $2 x 25 gallons from my grocery store, and another $.25×20 gallons off at Shell via the Fuel Rewards Network.

These purchases bring up the question, was I buying miles and getting gas discounts for free? or buying gas discounts and getting miles for free? The haul for a $500 card ends up being $55 in gas discounts for $4.95, plus my time and travel. Whenever possible I try to double or triple dip like this. As you can see, the value of the miles is dwarfed by the value of the gas.

Ending Soon

I know the current $.05 per $100 promotion is ending in a few weeks, but if you can use it those few weeks could be enough to earn significant free gas. If FRN continues the promotion, or comes up with something else just as good I’ll update you all, possibly via the Milenomics online forum we’re in the process of discussing.

Update 3/11: Milenomics Reader Melissa shared in the comments of this post that even without any spending you receive a 3cent per gallong discount at Shell.  Not an amazing savings, but every little bit helps. More on this discount here: (Thanks Melissa!)

About the author

- Written by Sam Simon. All ideas are my own, but I encourage you to see my point of view and I promise I'll try to do the same. Connect with me on Twitter @Milenomics.


  1. When our local grocery store runs this with Shell. Shell blatantly raises their prices above them by the amt of the discount

    1. Janis: take a second look at this program, it is not run by the grocery stores, but by fuel rewards network. There is no real limit on the discount you can achieve using this program. You can get gas for as low as between 1 and 11 cents per gallon. 20 gallons would cost you between $.20 and $2.00.

  2. Great article! I am an avid user of the Fuel Rewards Network program and love it. I just wanted to let you know that the 3¢ offer is actually available to anyone with an FRN card not just those in the grocery markets. I know because I don’t live in a grocery market, but use it anytime I don’t have a rewards balance to save a little extra. 🙂

    1. Melissa: There are so many different promotions from FRN it is hard to keep track of all of them. The 3¢ deal I refer to in the post is for those specific stores,link your store loyalty card and earn 3¢ off per gallon per $100 spent (no limit to the $ off per gallon). However I’m going to update the post with your find–that even without spending anything you earn 3¢ off per gallon using your FRN card at Shell. Great little tip, thank you for sharing it! I agree–every little bit helps.

      1. You’re right, there are a ton of different promotions through the program. Thanks for adding that one in, hope it helps more people save!

  3. At which grocery store are you earning $2X25 gallons for one Visa gift card purchase? How do you earn that?

  4. Do you remember how long it took after you made the grocery purchase for the discount to hit your FRN card/account? I bought a GC last week and it hasn’t shown up on my account yet. The FAQ says 5-7 business days, but I was wondering if that is consistent with real life results.

        1. This is just a follow up on my experience… I don’t remember how long it took to get my points, but so long that I gave up hope. And since the purchase involved gift cards, I wasn’t sure that I would have any luck sending my receipt in to get it manually corrected. When I happened to check my account yesterday, I had $2.10/gal of rewards dating all the way back to during March. I’m not sure when they hit, but like I said, I had given up, I want to say it took like a month.
          What made me check was a weekly email from Jewel (a supermarket here in the chicagoland area) that mentioned the fuel rewards program again. I clicked the link and found that they have a current program (see where you earn 5c/gal for every $50 of spend at jewel. The previous incarnation of this program said that it ended in February, but now the dates for the current promo say October 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014. It makes me wonder if these overlapping promos caused some kind of IT problem. I don’t really know, but my faith has been restored (tentatively) in the FR program, and I will be shopping at jewel-osco with my master card quite a bit during May and June. (woohoo!) If you live near jewel-osco, you probably should be too. :-)
          I might also be buying a couple of extra gas cans.

  5. Didnt work for me unfortunately. Used Citi AA card to buy 500 gift card at krogers more than 20 days back but the discount yet to show in my FRN account. Irritated with FRN.

  6. There is one limitation – you are limited to 8 redemption at Shell per calendar year. When you hit this number, you will not get a grocery bonus for this calendar year.

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