Category Archives: Gas Discounts

Year in Review – 2016

One of the goals of Valuetactics.com is to prove that these tactics are worthwhile.  To do that, I provide monthly reports of our points, miles and savings activity.  I also try to provide semi-monthly updates as a way of showing the typical level of valuetactical activity in our household.
updates

My wife and I don’t do manufactured spending.  We don’t do extreme couponing.  We don’t apply for new credit cards as often as humanly possible.  We simply put all our spending on credit cards, strategically apply for good card offers, and make use of other miscellaneous savings tactics.  I think my monthly totals updates are a good representation of what a normal couple could expect, if they take advantage of the tactics on this site.

2016 Totals

Just like my monthly totals, here is our household annual points and miles activity.  (I count redemptions in 2016 if I booked the tickets in 2016, even if the trip will be in 2017.)

Earning

  • earned 90,025 airline miles
  • earned 202,452 hotel points
  • earned 91,473 Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • earned 97,093 Citi Thank-You points
  • earned 64,308 “other” points

Transferring

  • transferred 84,000 Ultimate Rewards to airline and hotel programs
  • transferred 25,000 Citi Thank-You points to an airline program

Redeeming

  • redeemed 35,000 airline miles (+ 83,046 transferred from Chase UR and Citi TY)
  • redeemed 95,000 hotel points (+ 5,000 transferred from Chase UR)
  • redeemed 40,728 Citi Thank-You points
  • redeemed 66,226 “other” points

Total value from redemptions booked in 2016: $15,495.90
Total credit card interest (and annual fees) paid in 2016: $1,149.24
Total interest saved with 0% promotions: $290.90
Free gas tactic savings: $252.45  (a 17.98% overall discount)
Net value for all our efforts: $14,890 !!

You can do it!

I show these results not to brag, but to motivate you to capture some value of your own!  Here are some of my favorite articles to guide you:

Which Card Should I Get?
Are you too disorganized for this stuff? NO!
Tracking is the Key (and why you shouldn’t do it)
3 Years of Collecting Points Could be Worth $77k
Chase Ultimate Rewards: Versatility Matters!
Don’t Hoard Points!
Zeroth World Problems

If you contact me privately, I can walk you through some ideas for which credit cards to get to meet your goals.

And of course you should like the ValueTactics facebook page and join the discussions there!

Here’s to a valuable 2017!
sea-sunset-beach-couple

Last Chance for Double Coupon Tuesday

Tomorrow, August 30th, is your last chance to get some major value at Super America gas stations by doubling a coupon.  You could save $25 by pumping 25 gallons of gas with a doubled $0.50 coupon.  It’s a great deal, but alas – Double Coupon Tuesday will be discontinued after this week, making tomorrow the last eligible day for this awesome tactic.

In the past 2.5 years I have saved approximately $1,000 using coupons at Super America stations.  Over half of those coupons were used on Double Coupon Tuesdays, so I attribute almost $500 in savings to having my coupons doubled.
Free Gas on Double Coupon Tuesday

If you have any My SA Rewards points,

. . .tomorrow is your last chance to redeem them at the higher rate (I estimate $2.84 per thousand points).  After tomorrow those big $0.50 coupons will eternally be worth only a mere $0.50 per gallon.  That will bring their value down to $1.42 per thousand points.

Take Action; Do Not Despair

If you have been hoarding My SA Rewards points, now is the time to use them.  For details on how to maximize the value of these points, please review my free gas tactical page, where I detail how I have saved hundreds of dollars by using this coupon method.  If you just filled up or if you never bothered to get a My SA Rewards card, don’t worry. . .

Whenever programs change for the worse or deals disappear, I always give the same advice: Use it as a lesson to create a bit of urgency for yourself (there’s no better time to start saving money than now!), but don’t despair.  Deals and opportunities come and go all the time.  The trick is to stay alert, read ValueTactics.com daily, and make sure you don’t miss the boat the next time around!

facebook likeIf you’re still confused on how to get some last minute value out of Double Coupon Tuesday at Super America stations before it is discontinued, “like” the ValueTactics Facebook page and contact me on there.  I’d love to walk you through it!

The Free Cheese Stick Loophole

I figured out a way to get 54 cheese sticks and $3.03 worth of gas for free when you make a $25 fuel purchase at Super America gas stations.  At least that’s one way to spin the convoluted points-earning scheme I have come up with.

Is this what free gas looks like to you? (Or is that just my points psychosis taking hold...)

Is this what free gas looks like to you? (Or is that just my points psychosis taking hold…)

It all started when I was in my local Super America station, talking to the cashier about the impending end of Double Coupon Tuesdays.  I was planning on buying a few hundred dollars worth of gift cards, earning 10 pts per dollar, in order to have enough points (8,750) for one last $0.50/gal coupon before the end of August.  He mentioned that another good way to quickly earn points was with the food item promotion where you earn 1000 points for every 6 items purchased.  Normally I avoid buying gas station food because it’s expensive and unhealthy.  But the cashier showed me the best deal on food items, which is 3 cheese sticks for $1.50 (regularly $0.75 each).  If you buy 6 of them for $3.00, you get 1000 points.

That perked my ears up.  When spending 8,750 points for the $0.50/gal coupon and using it on Double Coupon Tuesdays, you can get $1.00 off per gallon up to 25 gallons.  This means the points are worth $2.86 per 1000.  And now I discover I can “buy” 1000 points for $3.00 and get 6 cheese sticks out of the deal.  That’s 6 cheese sticks for $0.14!  But wait . . .

The above calculation only considers the bonus points and doesn’t account for the regular points earned on the $3.00 purchase, which is an extra 60 points.  Furthermore, if your $3.00 purchase is paid with a gift card (as it should be if you are using the free gas tactic) you earned another 30 points when you bought the gift card.

6 cheese sticks for $3.00: 60 pts for purchase + 30 pts for gift card + 1000 bonus points = 1090 pts per 6 cheese sticks purchased.

cheesepoints
At 1,090 total points for each group of 6 cheese sticks, you’d have to do it 9 times to get the 8,750 points required for the big gas coupon. This would leave you with 1,060 points leftover, which is worth $3.03 in free gas according to the above valuation.

Two sides of the same coin

You can choose to look at this deal in one of two ways.

  1. You’re buying 25 gallons of gas at a small discount, and getting the 54 cheese sticks for free, OR
  2. You’re buying the cheese sticks at a discounted price, and getting the big gas coupon (worth $25) for free.

Either way, it all revolves around the fact that Super America doubles coupons on Tuesdays and that you can buy a $0.50/gal coupon with 8,750 My SA Rewards points.  Which brings me to the next part:

Now, the kicker . . .

None of this will work after September 1st.  That’s right; My SA Rewards points will be worth exactly HALF of what they are currently worth, starting next month.  As I wrote about last week, Super America will stop double coupon Tuesdays after this month.

The moral of the story

If all the math in this deal breaks down in a few days, why waste my time explaining it to you?  Why did you just read this?  Several reasons:

  • You can still take advantage of this deal through this Tuesday.
  • Working through the calculations and point valuations for a little scheme like this probably isn’t worth much, BUT it’s exactly this type of in-depth analysis that leads to exceptionally awesome discoveries like the loophole I wrote about last week that was worth over a million frequent flyer miles.
  • The breakdown of this deal is yet another example of why you shouldn’t wait to get in the game!  Deals are always disappearing and getting downgraded.  If you enjoy getting something for nothing, traveling for free, and maximizing valuable opportunities, then read more ValueTactics.com and get in the game now!

SuperAmerica Stops Double Coupon Tuesdays




A week ago Nicoleen was warned by the manager of our local SuperAmerica that double coupon Tuesdays would be discontinued at the end of this month.  Yesterday, at another SuperAmerica station, I confirmed this rumor when I saw this sign at the pump:
Jpeg
Double coupon Tuesday has been the bread and butter of our free gas tactics for the past several years.  The policy would double the fuel discount on any coupon (even competitors’ coupons), every Tuesday.  As I explain on the free gas page, this allowed me to trade in points for a $0.50/gal coupon every couple of weeks, use it on a Tuesday (making it a $1.00/gal coupon), and redeem it for the maximum 25 gallons to get $25 in free gas!
Recent reciept
With this and other tactics, I have received an average yearly discount of 13-19% on all gas purchases since I began tracking them.  I am currently sitting at just over 19% for 2016.
gas2016

How much will this hurt the free gas tactic?

It will hurt it a lot.  The following chart shows the breakdown of where my gas savings comes from (data from January 2014 to current):
gasproportion
I didn’t calculate the proportion of the coupon savings that was derived from doubling the coupons on Tuesdays, but a glance at my discount tracking data makes it pretty obvious that the double coupon Tuesdays make up a sizable percentage:

Tuesdays highlighted in yellow

Tuesdays highlighted in yellow

As you can see, most of the coupon savings comes from Tuesdays.  And the majority of the Tuesday savings comes from the big $0.50/gal coupon redeemed as $1.00/gal coupon.  It takes 8750 My SA Rewards points to buy this coupon, which makes the points worth about $2.86 per thousand.  Obviously you would never want to trade in points to use this coupon any day other than a Tuesday.  After this change in policy, My SA Rewards points will only be $1.43 per thousand when used on the gas coupon.

What to do now?

  • Very apropos to the post I wrote last week about not hoarding points, if you have My SA Rewards saved up, find a way to use them on gas coupons in the next 3 Tuesdays!
  • A small positive side effect of the change is that it no longer matters on which day you use coupons at SA.  This is a slight increase in convenience, which does have a small amount of value in my mind.
  • I will be checking through the redemption options for My SA Rewards to see if there is another, more efficient use of points now that the gas coupon is half as valuable.
  • There’s a chance that other local stations such as Holiday or Kwik Trip would double coupons on Tuesdays.  This has been reported in the past but without the need to compete with SA, it’s unlikely they will do so now.

Like everything else related to the ValueTactical arts, we are at the mercy of the whims of the program administrators, banks, airlines, and hotel chains.  Programs change all the time.  Instead of getting down about it we need to simply adapt and find the best way to maximize whatever opportunities are out there at this moment!



2015 Gas Savings Total

My target for gas savings on my work commute for the year was $600.  As I alluded to in my last update, I exceeded the goal.

Drum roll please…

In 2015, for commute miles only, I saved $614.28 by using free gas tactics!

The total gasoline cost for my to drive to and from work last year was $3,457.79.  After the $614.28 in discounts my out-of-pocket cost was $2843.51.  That means that last year 17.78% of my gasoline was free!

2015-gas-total

How did I do it?

The free gas tactic is pretty simple.  A common gas station brand in my area is Super America.  By swiping your rewards card every time you buy gas, you get a $0.03/gallon discount.  Pay with a pre-loaded fuel gift card (which you purchased earlier with your points-earning credit card of course!) and you get another $0.03/gallon off.  Then, clip competitors’ coupons out of the junk mail for an additional $0.07-0.10 off per gallon.

Every time you make a purchase at SA, be it the pre-loaded fuel gift card OR the actual fuel purchase, you earn points.  Every few weeks I have enough points to buy a $0.50/gallon gas couponThe magic happens on Tuesdays when Super America doubles all coupons.  With a max of 25 gallons, the big coupon is worth $25 in free gas!

As a bonus step you can post your results on the outside of your cubicle so all your co-workers want to visit valuetactics.com

As a bonus step you can post your results on the outside of your cubicle so all your co-workers want to visit valuetactics.com

If you don’t have any Super Americas in your area, keep an eye out for similar deals at your local gas stations.  Small savings at the pump can really add up!