Triple Dip and Get Paid to Buy Lots of Miles at Safeway Stores! (5/21-6/3)

Update (5/29): It seems as though there are all kinds of promotions going on across the country, and most cash back discounts are not ringing up correctly at the registers. Make sure you push for the deal you’ve seen offered. As an added bonus numerous readers are finding fuel points for Variable Load MC’s bought with groceries!

We’ve covered Safeway deals here on Milenomics numerous times.  In fact, this past year Safeway’s agressive Visa and Mastercard promotions have been the single cheapest ways to aquire lots of cheap/possibly negative cost miles for me.

Safeway Ad
Note the wording of one per household. In the past this has not held true–until we confirm that proceed with caution.

News of this current deal comes by way of Frequent Miler’s Quick Deals. Reported last night, buying two variable load Mastercards at Safeway stores will knock $15 off of your total. Since two of these gift cards include $11.90 in purchase fees you’re looking at a pure profit of $3.10 on a purchase up to $1,000.

Depending on which card you use, how close you live, and how little time it takes to buy and liquidate these cards it is possible to come out slightly ahead and purchase miles for better than free.  This is an excellent time to use your Milenomics Cost Tracking Sheet we discussed last week, and keep track of these purchases.

Even using a 1x Card makes sense in situations like these, but when you add in multipliers the value increases exponentially. Using a 2X card on a $1011.90 purchase would earn you 2024 miles, using a 3x cash card would earn you $30.36 cash back. using a 5X card would result in $50.60 in cash (which could buy an awful lot of lifemiles right now).

The Bad News; Not at All Safway Branded Stores

I tested this out at my local Safeway Branded store (Vons) this morning. There was nothing in the weekly circular, there was also nothing in my Just4U, and no signs around the store at all. I purchased two variable load Mastercards for $250 each, and received no discount.

I’ve checked circular ads for Tom Thumb in TX, Randalls in TX, Safeway in CA/OR/NV/MT and haven’t found the deal in any of them.  Also Vons in Southern California doesn’t have the deal. In fact the only two states I saw the deal in were Colorado and Wyoming Safeways.

I’m calling this dead at Vons Branded stores, and alive only at some (possibly CO and WY only?) Safeway stores. Please share your stores’ status in the comments section. If the ad does not appear in your local circular I think it is best to assume your store is not participating in this $15 off deal.

Update: Milenomic Elaine reported that this deal is in her Just4U (Portland area), so even if you don’t see it in your circular, check your J4U account. Thanks Elaine!

The Good News: Fuel Rewards on Mastercards?

An incredibly happy accident occurred from my purchase this morning. On the front page of the weekly ad for Vons is a coupon for 2x Gas points on Groceries:

Gas Rewards

I bought a soda–for $2, and of course had my coupon ready to earn my 4 points for the purchase. Instead I earned 1000+ Gas rewards for my $500+ purchase. This means that this coupon is incorrectly giving gas rewards on Mastercard Gift Cards when purchased with groceries.  

This coupon also appears in the Safeway Circular, so I’m going to assume the above glitch works for Vons and Safeway branded stores at the very least.  This would allow someone in a Safeway store footprint to triple dip:

  1. Purchase with Mile Earning Card
  2. Utilize $15 off of 2x Mastercard Purchase
  3. Scan coupon and earn 2x Gas rewards

The value of 1000 gas rewards for me is $22 since I fill two cars when I use each reward. The math then works out to:

  • $1000 purchase:
  • 1,000 Miles
  • $3.10 profit
  • $22 Gas Rewards
  • Total: $25.10 profit

Again this triple dip combination only works at Safeway stores as best I can tell, but the combination is awesome!

For those of us who don’t have the ability to triple dip earning the gas points more than covers the cost of these cards, so keep an eye out for the 2x Coupon in your circular, and buy one grocery item with your gift cards.

Update (5/23): Readers have reported getting 2x Fuel rewards by adding a 2X grocery coupon from their Just4U accounts:

Just4U 2x gas rewards

Loading this to your card, buying at least one item which earns fuel rewards (some states exclude dairy for example), and you should also get fuel rewards for your Variable Load Mastercard purchase.

Exploiting the Deal

If you have the $15 off 2 MC purchase in your circular the deal is best maximized by going the full $500 on each card. It could make sense to go lower–especially if you have a picky store, or a scared cashier.  Since it is technically a money maker at any level you could go below $500 total to not need a manager override.

There’s also the issue of these being Mastercard Gift Cards from US Bank. These are notoriously tougher to liquidate at Wal-Mart than almost any other card (*Cough* *Celebrate* *Cough*), so Buyer beware–have a backup plan for liquidating these.

If you don’t have the $15 off and you do have the coupon for 2x Gas rewards on groceries, buy something small, and use the coupon along with your Mastercard purchase. You won’t need to buy 2 cards, so you could just buy 1 $500 card and earn $1 off up to $25 gallons of gas.  This works best if you have a Vons Gas station near you.

Note: The coupon working on Variable load Mastercard gift cards is clearly a glitch. There is no telling how much longer it will work.

As always I want to remind you of the float rule, which states: If tomorrow your ability to cash out MMR purchases went away would you have serious issues with paying your credit card bill? If the answer to that question is yes–you bought too many.  

Never assume a cash out method will exist past today.  If you have more info on the $15 off coupon, or the stores where this works please share it in the comments section.

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. The Safeways in the San Francisco area are offering 4x for gift cards. Don’t know if they will accept credit cards for MC and Visa gift cards.

    1. Gail: For these Variable Load Mastercards (and Visa’s) they don’t qualify for the 4x promotion. There is one Mastercard which does earn 4x gas rewards right now, but I don’t want to write about it and kill it–too valuable. Email me if you’re interested in it.

      1. I’m only getting 2x on those other cards. Despite having Just4U promo for 2x and having 2x in local flyer. Maybe trick is to add small legitimate items?

  2. The area I’m in at the moment has weekly ad that says “Buy $200 in Mastercard and get $15 off your next shopping visit” with fine print that says “Excludes variable gift card.” Still might be a good way for me to unload this pesky Amex that has been burning a hole in my pocket!

  3. At a Safeway here in Colorado { Metro Denver } the ad in the weekly flyer is the same as you posted. When going to the gift card display it says $15 on next shopping visit. Not quite instant, but a manager said I was welcome to use a credit card if I so desired. I never shop at Safeway, but guess I could use the $15 coupon at the gas station.

    1. Unclemel: Thank you for the comment, and the data point. Yours is further proof that this seems to be a really odd promotion, and one which is not nearly as consistent as others have been in the past. I’m glad it worked out for you, others seem to be having less luck.

  4. I am new to Just for U. I bought two cards and a grocery item ($4), but my receipt shows just 4 fuel points, no 2x love even for the grocery item. Does it reflect later somewhere and not on the receipt? My card on the app definitely shows the 2x attached.

    1. Robert: sounds like something went wrong. They points should be issued immediately just as they were for the grocery item. Only earning 1x on the grocery purchase makes me think something got in the way of the 2x fuel points.

      There are quite a lot of 2x coupons in J4U right now, make sure you selected 2x groceries and not another one like 2x produce, meat, etc.

      1. My J4U coupon definitely says grocery, and my receipt also says grocery for my $4 item. As double confirmation, there is no sales tax on the grocery item which should be the case for California. I did just link my Safeway card to the J4U today, so maybe it takes some time to kick in?

        1. Robert: sorry for the delay in responding. It is possible you needed to give it 24 hours after linking your card, but given the trouble others are having I think this is really a Safeway issue. The promos are all over the place. People are getting fuel points who haven’t loaded the 2x, others aren’t. Coupons aren’t printing for the proper value, cashiers seem to not know what is going on either.

          Email me, I’ll make it up to you with a tip that might help.

  5. Bought two $100 MCs as per the terms of the ad insert for where I am staying (WA) and nothing printed. Cashier checks with another cashier, and she says that this one is coupon free — the credit will automatically apply to next grocery purchase. Didn’t need any groceries, but we’ll see … too bad I won’t be near the same store soon. I don’t have a good feeling about this promo…

  6. I don’t think a coupon prints. I think it is a refund that comes off the purchase price of the groceries. Also, I believe you must have added the offer to J4Y before you purchase the GCs.

  7. Purchased 2 Gcs for $494.05 each,nothing else. Coupon didn’t print out. Showed attendant the ad which said $15 instantly. Called supervisor and he promptly handed me $15.53[ tax included,sweet]. Looked at bottom of receipt and saw 1976 fuel points. Who’s to argue,right? Went to different Safeway after work tonight and they wouldn’t sell me gcs with a cc. Oh well. Will try different one tomorrow.

  8. My WA Safeway has $15 off next trip if you buy 2 MC’s (variable load excluded). After reading that the coupons don’t print out, I brought the coupon along with me just in case. I bought 2X$100 MC’s and sure enough, the $15 didn’t print. I showed the lady the coupon and she tried to call a manager to figure out what to do. The manager didn’t call the phone after 2 pings and 2 people were queued up, so she just gave me $15 cash. I looked on the receipt and also got 400 fuel rewards points (2X) and I didn’t have to buy a grocery item. Crazy.

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