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

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Walmart store exterior
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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 in the meantime). Here's what's on tap at the nation's biggest grocery chains, including Walmart subscribers now getting a bigger break than before on something we're all watching like a hawk lately — gas prices. We also cover a few notable stores where you're out of luck, no matter how loyal of a shopper you are.


Related: 50 Ways to Save at the Grocery Store

Walmart Cyber Monday Sale
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Walmart

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

  • Receive 10 cents off each gallon of gas at participating gas stations, which is a raise from the previous 5-cents-off perk. (Walmart has also vastly expanded the network of gas stations where you can save, adding 12,000 Exxon and Mobil stations across the country to the previous 2,000 Murphy's stations found only at Sam's Club and Walmart.)

  • Get free delivery from local stores on orders over $35 (all items, not just groceries)

  • Get free next-day and two-day shipping from Walmart.com with no order minimum (all items, not just groceries)

  • Receive access to a mobile scan-and-go program for contact-free checkout

Obviously, the major draw here is free delivery, which is especially tempting for anyone who is still wary of battling crowds during a pandemic. (Remember, grocery pickup — while not quite as convenient as delivery — is also free, no membership required.)


Related: Walmart Brand Products That Shoppers Love

Kroger
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Kroger

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:

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

  • Get personalized digital and paper coupons based on previously purchased items

  • Receive access to coupons for free items on select Fridays

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

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. 


Related: Kroger Brand Products That Belong in Your Cart

Target | 2013
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Target

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 new Good & Gather line. Boost your grocery savings by taking advantage of Target Circle, the store's free loyalty program. Here are the perks:

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

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

  • Get 5% off a shopping trip as a birthday reward

  • Get 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. 


Related: Target Brand Products That Shoppers Love

Whole Foods Under Amazon a Year Later
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Whole Foods

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 of $119 a year worth it (even for those who don't shop much at Whole Foods). Here are the highlights: 

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

  • Get an extra 10% off Whole Foods sale items

  • Receive access to Prime-only Whole Foods deals throughout the year

  • Get 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

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:

  • Get freebies reserved exclusively for members

  • Get personalized deals based on previous purchases

  • Receive access to digital coupons

  • Earn one reward point for each dollar spent

Just like Kroger, it takes 100 reward points to earn you 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

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:

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

  • Get personalized coupons based on past purchases

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

  • Get 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

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'll 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'll get:

  • Get access to sale prices, including weekly HotSale! deals

  • Get access to personalized and digital coupons

  • Earn reward dollars and redeem them 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

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:

  • Earn one point for each dollar spent at Stop & Shop

  • Get 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

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

  • Get personalized discounts and offers based on previous purchases

  • Get access to digital coupons and receipts, including the ability to get credit for past purchases 

  • Rack up reward savings that can be applied to purchases at checkout

Unlike most grocery rewards programs, no card is necessary for Meijer's program; 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
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ShopRite

Join Shop-Rite'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:

  • Get access to members-only discounts

  • Get access to special offers and freebies, including holiday promotions

  • Link account to ShopRite for My School to earn cash for local schools

  • Earn rewards interacting with brands by linking your account to Downtime Dollars

  • Get personalized mailings and checkout coupons based on previous purchases

One of the nicest benefits of ShopRite's program: You'll be automatically notified of product recalls if you 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

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

  • Earn one point for every $2 spent at Winn-Dixie

  • Get access to deals that can earn more points, including "mystery bonus" points multipliers and special weekly bonus-point deals

  • Link account to Winn-Dixie's Baby Club and earn bonus points on diapers, wipes, and other baby products

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

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, here's how it works:

  • Get access to exclusive discounts, special sales, and digital coupons

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

  • Earn two perks for every gallon of gas you purchase at GetGo

  • Earn 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.

H-E-B
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Best Things to Buy at Aldi
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Trader Joe's Holiday Treats
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No Loyalty Program: Trader Joe's

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). 


Related: Why Trader Joe's Employees are Surprisingly Helpful and Happy

Costco Advantage
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No Loyalty Program: Costco and Sam's Club

When you think about it, Costco and Sam's are already something 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