Sunoco’s APlus Rewards Card & Your Budget

With gas prices over $3 per gallon in many places across the US, and considering many Americans rely on gasoline in their monthly budget the Sunoco APlus Reward Card program can help save some money. The card is of course free, and when you make qualifying purchases in the store you save at the pump.

The Smart Way to Save

The trick to saving though, is to only buy the things you would normally buy at Sunoco for the convenience or if they happen to have better prices considering what you save. For example, I grab a drink or two during the day at a local gas station during the work day, and there’s a Sunoco about the same distance away. If their qualifying APlus purchases include things I’ll buy anyway, then I can save some money. But if I simply go to the store and buy products to get a lower price at the pump then you may be losing money instead of saving.

For example, on my way to work this morning I stopped off for a coffee at a Sunoco on the way to work. Sometimes a cup of coffee might save 2 to 4 cents per gallon, but today coffee was not on the flyer they have in-store showing what purchases save money at the pump. However, their flyer did have the Xyience Xenergy drinks for 7 cents per gallon savings and 1 liter Pepsi & Mountain Dew products listed at 5 cents per gallon savings. After scanning the entire flyer, those were the best purchases for me – they are both products I really wanted and could use.

Since I would buy those drinks anyway, my net cost (as I view it) was $0.00 because I would have bought them even without the discount. The only change I made was buying more of them at the same time, which actually saved me later trips & time. So now I’ve got 12 cents per gallon savings on my card ($1.33 savings).

Now, throw in a Huberts Lemonade (at 10 cents/gal), a Clif Bar (at 4 cents/gal) and a bag of Indiana Popcorn (at 6 cents/gal) – all items I might drop in and get during a typical week – and my total savings per gallon is 32 cents per gallon, which translates to about $4.80 savings. That’s not going to pay your house payment, but over time as part of your regular budget it can add up.

If I rack up a conservative 15 cents off per gallon filling up the gas tank weekly that’s about $112 in a year.

On the other hand, if you load up on a bunch of stuff you don’t want or need, you will certainly be throwing your money away. Do the math using a max of 20 gallons per purchase (according to “QUICK NOTE ON MAX SAVINGS” below) and you’ll be on the losing side. For example, maximum savings for the products I mentioned here are: the Clif Bar at $0.80, the Indiana Popcorn at $1.20, the Huberts Lemonade at $2, the Xyience Xenergy drink $1.40 and the 1 liter Pepsi & Mountain Dew at $1.00. The savings for each product is less than the cost of the item.

QUICK NOTE ON MAX SAVINGS: 1) The Sunoco website’s APlus Rewards Card FAQ says this about your maximum savings:
Discounted fuel cannot exceed 20 gallons per transaction. For your safety, you can only fill up one vehicle per transaction. If you do not purchase the entire 20 gallons in a single transaction, any remaining discounted gallons will be forfeited and the APlus Rewards discount will reset to zero. If you purchase more than 20 gallons, you will pay the posted price for any gallons over 20.

2) The FAQ says this about when your points expire:
APlus Rewards discounts expire on the last day of the month, one month after they are earned. (For example, points earned in December expire January 31st.) Discount totals and expiration dates will appear on your APlus Rewards receipts. After you redeem your discounts, your APlus Rewards balance is automatically reset to zero. APlus Rewards discounts cannot be transferred to another APlus Rewards card account.

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