On a weekly visit to my local Safeway Gas Station at 9645 Belair Road this week, I was shocked to learn that the Gas Rewards Program had been downgraded. Upon speaking to the gas station attendant, she explained that the program rewards had been downgraded effective: August 1, 2012.
Original Gas Reward: 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 spent
New Gas Reward: 10 cents off per gallon for every $400 spent
Original Everyday Gas Reward: 3 cents off per gallon anytime
New Everyday Gas Reward: none
New Gas Reward added: 3 cents off per gallon for the first $100 spent only
Fortunately, my family splits our food shopping between Safeway and Giant. We gain perks from both stores for gas rewards. Upon calling Giant Food at White Marsh Mall this week, I was informed that "Giant's gas rewards program remains the same and has no plans to downgrade its rewards system in the forseeable future".
Giant Food Store Rewards: 10 cents per gallon for every $100 spent. A bonus 20 & 30 cents additional rewards advertised weekly.
This downgrade by Safeway is predicted to become a standard in the marketplace in the upcoming months. A recent brief on CNN's Daily Business Report stated that many big retailers and food chains are planning to reduce the benefits offered by reward programs due to the rise in gas, fees and transportation costs. So, recent changes by Safeway's gas rewards program may a be an early sign of the norms to come.
(On Safeway's Reward's Website: http://www.safeway.com/ShopStores/RewardPoints-FAQ no updates about the changes have been made yet as of the date of this opinion blog.)