Wealth

2011-05-16

With sky-high gas prices, Dan Bortolotti of The Toronto Star crunched the numbers on those gas station loyalty rewards cards asking the question: are they a waste of time?

He looked at how many loyalty points it takes to get $20 worth of free gas, and then calculated how much you’d have to spend at the pump to earn that many points.

Here’s what he found:

With PETRO-POINTS, you need 30,000 points to get $20 in free gas. How much will you have to spend to earn that 20 buck break? About $1500.

Then there’s ESSO EXTRA

You need 3500 of these points needed to get $20 in free gas:

To acquire those points, you’ll have to spend $3,500.

And what about SHELL AIR MILES?

With this program, you need 175 Air Miles to get $20 in free gas.

How much will you have to spend to rack up those Miles? A whopping $4,375

You can earn points faster on each of these programs by using specialty credit cards that let you earn extra points.

The bottom line, according to this analysis? If you’re not using a specialty credit card, then Petro-Points is the best deal. But it only works out to an annual savings of $31.20 if you spend $200 a month on gas. The savings offered by the other two programs net you less than half that amount.