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Walmart, Kroger, and Other Grocery Rewards Programs That Will Save You Money

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Walmart Cyber Monday Sale
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Loyalty Pays Off

Loyalty programs — almost a given at major supermarkets — are a win-win: Customers get access to special deals and discounts, while stores keep them spending in one place and gain access to an ever-growing mountain of data on their spending habits. Here's what's on tap at the nation's biggest grocery chains, including a new rewards program and access to a popular streaming platform for Walmart+ members. There are also a few notable stores where you're out of luck, no matter how loyal a shopper you are.


Related: 50 Ways to Save at the Grocery Store

Walmart store exterior
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Walmart

Program: Walmart+

Cost: $98 a year ($12.95 a month)


This biggest of big-box stores used to eschew loyalty programs, but in 2020 it introduced Walmart+ to compete with the juggernaut that is Amazon Prime. Unlike many loyalty programs, it's not free to join, but if you're a dedicated Walmart shopper, the $98 price could be well worth it. The benefits: 

  • Walmart Rewards, a new perk that offers cash back on bestselling items including groceries, household goods, pet care, and other categories, to be put toward future purchases 

  • Paramount+ Essential subscription for streaming ad-supported TV shows and movies starting in September

  • Free delivery of eligible items (not just groceries) from local stores for orders over $35 

  • Free next-day and two-day shipping of eligible items (not just groceries) from Walmart.com with no order minimum

  • 10 cents off each gallon of gas at participating gas stations (including 12,000 Exxon and Mobil stations across the country, along with 2,000 Murphy's stations found only at Sam's Club and Walmart)

  • Mobile scan-and-go program for contact-free checkout

For most customers, the major draw here is free delivery a la Amazon Prime. Remember, Walmart's grocery pickup — while not quite as convenient as delivery — is also free, no membership required.

Kroger
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Kroger

Programs: Kroger Plus/Boost

Cost: Free/starting at $59 a year 


Any seasoned Kroger shopper would tell you it's foolish to buy much of anything at this ubiquitous grocery chain without a Kroger Plus card. Signing up is free, and unlocks a world of savings within the Kroger ecosystem:

  • Access to all sale prices (without joining, you're mostly out of luck) including the store's much-anticipated "mega events"

  • Personalized digital and paper coupons based on previously purchased items

  • Coupons for free items on select Fridays

  • One fuel point for every dollar spent, with double fuel points on gift cards

Upgrading to the Boost membership program buys extra benefits:

  • Free next-day grocery delivery (or within two hours at the $99 membership level) for orders of $35 or more
  • Double fuel points

Once you've racked up 100 fuel points, you can get 10 cents off each gallon during a single fill-up at Kroger's gas stations, up to $1 total discount.

Target | 2013
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Target

Program: Target Circle

Cost: Free


You may not think of Target as a grocer, but Walmart's arch rival has been working to expand its food game in recent years, adding thousands of products to its Good & Gather line. Boost your grocery savings by taking advantage of Target Circle, the store's free loyalty program. Here are the perks:

  • Exclusive discounts of 5% to 50% on groceries and other items 

  • 1% in earnings to redeem at Target for non-RedCard holders (RedCard holders still get a 5% discount every time they use their card)

  • 5% off a shopping trip as a birthday reward

  • A say in which local nonprofits benefit from Target's charitable giving

Ultimately, Target Circle is best in combination with a RedCard, which you can get as a debit card if you're leery of a store credit card. The RedCard unlocks more benefits, including that 5% discount, plus free shipping from Target.com.

Whole Foods Under Amazon a Year Later
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Whole Foods

Program: Amazon Prime

Cost: $139 a year ($14.99 a month)


Whole Foods used to have a traditional loyalty program, but gave it the heave-ho when Amazon acquired the chain in 2017. Today, special perks are reserved for Amazon Prime members. Of course, Amazon Prime comes with a host of benefits that might make the high price tag worth it (even for those who don't shop much at Whole Foods). Here are the highlights: 

  • Free grocery pickup from local Whole Foods stores on orders over $35 (sadly, while Prime customers used to get free Whole Foods delivery, that perk is no more)

  • Extra 10% off Whole Foods sale items

  • Prime-only Whole Foods deals throughout the year

  • Free same-day and two-day shipping of all Prime-eligible items from Amazon, access to Amazon Prime streaming content, and Amazon's many other Prime benefits

Not a Whole Foods shopper? Prime members in eligible areas also get free access to Amazon Fresh grocery delivery.

albertsons
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Safeway, Albertsons, and Vons

Program: Just for U

Cost: Free


These three grocery chains, the biggest under the expansive Albertsons corporate umbrella, have the same loyalty program, called Just for U. Joining is free, and the benefits are very similar to what Kroger shoppers get. Here's the rundown:

  • Freebies exclusively for members

  • Personalized deals based on previous purchases

  • Digital coupons

  • One reward point for each dollar spent

As at Kroger, it takes 100 reward points to earn 10 cents off each gallon of gas during a single fill-up at participating Exxon or Mobil gas stations. But if you'd rather forgo the fuel, you can also redeem points for free grocery items, or even cash discounts.

Publix
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Publix

Program: Club Publix

Cost: Free


For a long time, this beloved southeastern chain was a rewards-program holdout, but in 2020, it did an about-face and started Club Publix. The free program offers the following benefits:

  • Advance notice of sales, including popular buy-one-get-one events

  • Personalized coupons based on past purchases

  • Digital perks including in-store payment with the Publix app, digital receipts, and digital shopping lists

  • Personalized product recommendations

In certain markets, you can also use your Club Publix account to support a local school, directing Publix to donate a portion of its sales.

food lion
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Food Lion

Program: MVP

Cost: Free


If your go-to grocery store is Food Lion, then signing up for the store's free MVP loyalty program is a no-brainer. As with most stores, you get a physical rewards card to scan for in-store trips, but linking it to a digital account will give you the most bang for your buck. Here's what you get:

  • Access to sale prices, including weekly HotSale deals

  • Personalized and digital coupons

  • Reward dollars to redeem on frequently purchased items

Food Lions also have a convenient in-store "savings kiosk" where MVP members can scan their cards and get a personalized sheet of offers, a nice physical reminder for those who don't obsessively track potential discounts in their shopping app.

Stop&Shop Stopandshop
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Stop & Shop

Program: Go Rewards

Cost: Free


This primarily northeastern chain, one of the biggest grocery brands owned by parent company Ahold Delhaize, incentivizes shoppers with its free Go Rewards program. After signing up for an account online, program members can receive:

  • One point for each dollar spent at Stop & Shop

  • Personalized offers based on previously purchased products

And what can you do with those points? You can either redeem points for savings at checkout, free items, and special discounts, or save them up for gas discounts — 100 points will get you 10 cents off each gallon of gas during a single fill-up at Stop & Shop and select Shell gas stations.

Meijer
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Meijer

Program: mPerks

Cost: Free


Shoppers at this major Midwestern chain have access to the free mPerks rewards program. The benefits of signing up:

  • Personalized discounts and offers based on previous purchases

  • Digital coupons and receipts, including the ability to get credit for past purchases 

  • Reward savings that can be applied to purchases at checkout

Unlike most grocery loyalty programs, mPerks doesn't involve a rewards card; instead, shoppers use their phone number and a PIN to access their account. 


Related: From Kale to Kellogg's: How Americans Spend Money at the Grocery Store

Shop Rite
Shop Rite by Mike Mozart (CC BY)

ShopRite

Program: Price Plus Club

Cost: Free


Join ShopRite's free Price Plus Club to make the most of shopping trips with this mid-Atlantic chain. Along with standard grocery-loyalty perks, it also allows some unique savings opportunities. Here's the rundown:

  • Members-only discounts

  • Special offers and freebies, including holiday promotions

  • Points towards free educational equipment and supplies for local schools through ShopRite for Education

  • Personalized mailings and checkout coupons based on previous purchases

One of the nicest benefits of ShopRite's program: Members are automatically notified of product recalls if they purchased affected items — some nice peace of mind in a world where it's easy to scroll past news of the latest salmonella outbreak.

Winn-Dixie
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Winn-Dixie

Program: Winn-Dixie Rewards

Cost: Free


This well-known Southern grocer offers more savings opportunities through its free Winn-Dixie Rewards program. Here's what this points-based program offers:

  • One point for every $2 spent at Winn-Dixie

  • Deals for earning more points, including "mystery bonus" points multipliers and special weekly bonus-point deals

  • Bonus points on diapers, wipes, and other baby products through Winn-Dixie's Baby Club

Redeem every 100 points for 5 cents off each gallon of gas at Shell gas stations. Don't need to fuel up? You can also save up every 100 points for $1 off groceries. 

Giant Eagle
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Giant Eagle

Program: Advantage Card

Cost: Free


A Giant Eagle Advantage Card is key to unlocking savings at Giant Eagle grocery stores, its more-upscale Market District stores, and GetGo gas stations. You'll need to head to customer service in person to snag your card. Once it's in hand, you can get:

  • Exclusive discounts, special sales, and digital coupons

  • One perk for every dollar you spend on groceries and gift cards

  • Two perks for every gallon of gas you purchase at GetGo

  • Five perks for every prescription refill at Giant Eagle pharmacies

After you've saved up at least 50 perks, redeem them for 10 cents off each gallon of gas during a single fill-up at GetGo, 2% off a grocery trip, or free grab-and-go food at GetGo.

Best Things to Buy at Aldi
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Costco Advantage
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Costco and Sam's Club

Program: None


When you think about it, by joining Costco or Sam's, you're already a member of a big loyalty program. You already have to pay to shop, so assuming you want a return on that investment, your loyalty is already cemented. Plus, there are members-only perks that go far beyond free food samples and cheap rotisserie chickens.


Related: Costco Brand Products That Shoppers Love

H-E-B
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Trader Joe's Holiday Treats
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Trader Joe's

Program: None


Trader Joe's makes its feelings on loyalty clubs perfectly clear on its website: "'Sale' is a four-letter word to us. We have low prices, every day. NO coupons. NO membership cards. NO discounts. NO glitzy promotions or couponing wars at our stores. We offer the best everyday values, every day." So don't hold your breath for any points or rewards here anytime soon (the Everything But the Bagel seasoning is reward enough).