Kroger is likely one of the largest grocery retailer chains within the U.S., with over 2,700 shops throughout 35 states. If you happen to’re a devoted shopper at one of many many shops within the Kroger “household,” you may be contemplating the Kroger 1-2-3 REWARDS® World Mastercard® for your frequent grocery runs.
However even for Kroger loyalists, this card is not aggressive, due to its mediocre, rigid rewards and clunky redemption course of. Most buyers could be higher off investigating basic cash-back credit cards, any variety of which might be extra versatile and profitable.
Listed below are 5 issues to know concerning the Kroger bank card:
Nerd tip: Shops within the Kroger Co. family embody Kroger, but in addition Ralphs, Harris Teeter, King Soopers, Baker’s, Dillons, Smith’s Meals and Drug, Fred Meyer, and Gerbes, amongst others.
1. Rewards are mediocre and restricted
The Kroger 1-2-3 REWARDS® World Mastercard®, issued by U.S. Financial institution, earns the next rewards:
3 factors per $1 spent on sure Kroger “own-brand” merchandise.
2 factors per $1 spent at any Kroger-owned retailer (not together with Kroger gasoline facilities).
1 level per $1 on all different spending.
Reductions on eligible gasoline purchases.
Each 1,000 factors you earn equals $5 in free groceries at Kroger shops, which implies a degree is price half a cent every. That is properly under the trade normal of a full penny per level, and it signifies that even on the card’s highest 3x rewards price, you are getting simply 1.5% again that you need to use towards purchases at Kroger shops. There are many cash-back credit cards that earn 1.5% back or increased on all spending.
And about that 3x tier: It is reserved just for eligible store-brand merchandise (Kroger, Easy Fact, Dwelling Chef and Pet Satisfaction, among others). If you happen to do not like Kroger’s private-label items and as a substitute attain for the Heinz, Hunt’s or Hellmann’s, then you definately’ll should accept decrease rewards.
Many cash-back playing cards provide higher rewards and are far much less restrictive by way of the place and how one can earn them. Contemplate the $0-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited®. It gives new cardholders 5% money again at grocery shops (not simply Kroger shops) for the primary yr, on as much as $12,000 in spending. After that, you drop again to 1.5% again at grocery shops — however by way of level worth, that equals or exceeds what the Kroger card can provide even in its highest tiers. And that is not considering the a number of different bonus classes featured on the Freedom Limitless. Plus, you may spend your money again nevertheless you want, not simply with a single model.
2. Redemption is cumbersome and restrictive
Talking of which, factors earned through the Kroger 1-2-3 REWARDS® World Mastercard® can’t be redeemed for money again. Fairly, they accrue towards “rewards certificates” that can be utilized solely inside the Kroger household of shops.
Except for a scarcity of rewards flexibility, there are different hurdles:
You may’t “financial institution” factors: For each 1,000 factors that you simply accumulate, you’ll robotically obtain a $5 rewards certificates for use at a retailer beneath the Kroger umbrella. Meaning you can’t save up an enormous stash of factors to make use of later, and it additionally signifies that if in case you have solely 999 factors, they’re no good to you but.
You may have to attend: Rewards certificates are issued solely 4 occasions annually and are mailed to cardholders in February, Could, August and November. Any remaining factors you’ve that fall in need of incomes a $5 certificates will probably be rolled over to the subsequent redemption interval.
You are on the clock: Factors expire after three years, and rewards certificates are on an excellent shorter timetable: They have to be used inside one yr of the date they’re issued. (In addition they cannot be redeemed at Kroger gasoline facilities).
Whereas a few of these restrictions include the territory for store-branded bank cards, this isn’t how most basic rewards credit cards work. You’ll find many with no minimal required redemptions, no expiration date on rewards, and no want to attend by the mailbox each few months for a certificates that is usable solely in sure shops.
Take the $0-annual-fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. It earns 3% money again at U.S. supermarkets — not simply Kroger shops — on as much as $6,000 spent per yr (then 1% again). That $6,000 spending cap is properly above what the common U.S. family spends on groceries. And, once more, you are incomes money again, not factors.
3. There is a separate gasoline rewards program
If you happen to get the Kroger 1-2-3 REWARDS® World Mastercard®, you may robotically be enrolled in Kroger’s shopper-loyalty program. (Bank card or not, membership is free and you’ll enroll on-line or in a Kroger-owned retailer).
As a member of this system, you may earn 1 “fuel point” for each $1 you spend on groceries — with some exceptions — at any retailer within the Kroger community. This is how this system works:
Gas factors may be redeemed at Kroger gasoline facilities and taking part Shell gasoline stations. At Kroger gasoline facilities, you may redeem as much as 1,000 gasoline factors for $1 off per gallon. (You may redeem in 100-point increments, as much as 35 gallons.) At eligible Shell stations, you may redeem 100 gasoline factors for 10 cents off per gallon.
There’s no restrict to what number of gasoline factors you may earn every month. However these factors do not carry over and as a substitute expire the final day of the month after they’re earned.
Gas factors apart, if in case you have the Kroger bank card, you may as well earn an ongoing 5-cent-per-gallon low cost at eligible Kroger gasoline facilities. However by way of bank card factors on these gasoline purchases, you may nonetheless be rewarded on the card’s baseline price (1 level per $1 spent). And the rewards certificates you earn with the cardboard cannot be redeemed at Kroger gasoline facilities.
Nerd tip: Not all Kroger grocery retailer places within the U.S. have gasoline facilities the place you may pump gasoline and redeem gasoline factors. Kroger’s fuel locator can assist you discover which gasoline facilities are closest to you.
4. There is a two-part sign-up bonus
The Kroger 1-2-3 REWARDS® World Mastercard® options the next welcome gives:
By way of Jan. 15, 2021, the cardboard is providing 5% money again in assertion credit score, on as much as $2,500 in purchases, inside the first three months of account opening. If you happen to have been to max that out, you’d earn $125. That is not dangerous, however many cash-back bank cards provide bonuses of $150 or more for lots much less spending.
New candidates will even get 25 cents off per gallon of gasoline, as much as 35 gallons per fill-up, through the first yr of utilizing the cardboard. To obtain the low cost, you’ll should redeem a minimum of 100 gasoline factors, if you scan your card, at eligible Kroger gasoline facilities. (The low cost drops down to five cents per gallon after the primary yr.) If you happen to drive quite a bit, this may add as much as pretty huge financial savings on gasoline, though protecting monitor of and redeeming gasoline factors may be high-maintenance.
Nerd tip: The 25-cent-per-gallon low cost provide shouldn’t be accessible in Louisiana or Missouri.
5. Attempt to keep away from carrying a steadiness
Carrying a steadiness with this card would eat away at any rewards or reductions you’d earn.
Details about the Kroger 1-2-3 REWARDS® World Mastercard® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been supplied or reviewed by the issuer of those playing cards.