Month: May 2014

Comparison of Gas Rewards Programs 3/3

Stop & Shop Gas Rewards vs Fuel Rewards Network

stop and shop gas rewards vs fuel rewards network

Although both programs let you redeem the reward at Shell gas stations, the reward’s points can’t be combined or redeemed together. Let’s see what is the difference between these two programs.

  • Stop & Shop Gas Rewards (S&S) needs to earn at least 100 points to redeem 10¢/gal discount, while FRN needs none. Even when you don’t have any reward in FRN account, you can always get 3¢/gal
  • S&S can save up to $2.20 per gallon per transaction, while FRN has no limit. (Actually, you need to pay at least .019 to .109 cents per gallon)
  • S&S reward can be redeemed up to 35 gallons, while FRN can up to 20 gallons
  • S&S reward can earn at Stop & Shop only, while FRN can earn at participating supermarkets, restaurants, bars and clubs, on convenience store purchase or auto service at Shell gas station, and a shopping through Online Shopping Mall


pay 1 cent per gallon with frnBoth programs are great. I found it very easy to earn S&S reward. But there is only one problem with this program. That is “It has a limit, $2.20 per gallon Max per transaction.” Even if you have lots of points, you can’t redeem more than 2200 point. For FRN, you can lower the price to almost $0/gal.

Even if you use the most effective way to earn FRN rewards that fits your regular spending, it is probably not enough to make the price down to $0.01/gal. In the FRN website, you can see at least five FRN members paid $0.01/gal every day. If you want to become one of those, you’ll have to work at it. If you are interested in $0.01/gal, read blog “Ultimate Strategy of Fuel Rewards Network 1/2“.

Ultimate Strategy of Fuel Rewards Network 1/2

fuel rewards networkI believe the best way to save gas money is use Fuel Rewards Network (FRN). FRN is a reward program for Shell gas station. It is free to join. Sign up and request a membership card. You will need the card to redeem rewards, but you don’t need it to earn the rewards. Start earning today! There are two reasons this program is so great. One is there are many ways to earn the rewards, and the other is you can redeem as much reward as a price of gas. (it’s possible to pay only $0.01/gal.) Here are all the ways to earn FRN reward.

  • Linking your participating grocery store card and make a purchase (Participating grocery stores are not around the area I live. If they are in your neighborhood, you can get a steady flow of FRN reward on every day purchase)
  • Shopping at Shell convenience store, get a car wash or auto service at Shell (Buying bonus items in Shell store give you extra reward)
  • Purchasing Quaker State or Pennzoil motor oil (Find a special code under the caps)
  • Linking your MasterCard and use at restaurants (Choose a credit card which offer the best reward on the purchase at restaurants. You will earn both FRN and credit card’s reward)
  • Referring FRN to your friends (Send e-mails with a referral link to your friends. When your friends join FRN, you will earn 5¢/gal discount)
  • Other limited time offers
  • Shopping at FRN Online Mall

When I became a member and found the Online Mall in FRN, I got excited. The Online Mall is similar to credit cards’ such as ShopDiscover and Ultimate Rewards. I’m receiving lots of Cash Back from them on online purchases. I thought it was good opportunity to add another type of Online Mall for gas money. However, soon after I compared FRN Online Mall with ShopDiscover, I got disappointed. Because ShopDiscover’s reward would be better than FRN for all online retailers I usually shop. I might as well forget about FRN and keep using ShopDiscover.

2x reward with fuel rewards networkI couldn’t give up though, because $0.01/gal is so appealing. I looked for another way, then I found “2X Rewards at American Express Gift Cards“. In FRN Online Mall, every $50 purchase gives you 5¢/gal discount. For example, if you buy $500 AmEx gift card:

  • The reward is 5¢ x $500/$50 x 2(Bonus)=$1/gal
  • Since you can redeem the reward up to 20 gallons per transaction, the reward is worth $1×20=$20
  • Amex charge $3.95 as purchase fee and $8.95 for shipping cost, total fee is $12.90
  • $20-$12.90=$7.10 You even made a profit so far (plus, you may get cash back from credit card)

You now have $500 gift card which can be used anywhere it accepts American Express. You may buy groceries at a supermarket or wholesale items at Costco. But, let’s get more reward out of this gift card.

Buy Gift Card by Gift Card

buy gift cards to get frn rewardsGo back to FRN Online Mall and buy store’s gift cards with AmEx gift card and then make a purchase with store’s gift cards. As long as online store accepts AmEx, you can buy stores gift cards with AmEx gift card. It depends on stores that a purchase of gift cards or a purchase with store’s gift card is eligible for FRN reward. If both transactions are eligible for the reward, you will get another 5¢x$500/$50+5¢x$500/$50=$1/gal discount. (If the store gives bonus, $1/gal will be multiplied.) Great! you will have to spend $500 anyway, but you will get at least $2/gal discount.

This is a strategy for those who already have a plan to buy something online. You earn the reward on the purchase of AmEx gift card, and turn AmEx gift card into store’s gift cards, but you will have to make a final purchase at the stores with store’s gift cards. What I do (as an eBay and amazon seller) is buy items with store’s gift cards, and then sell items on eBay and amazon. I set the prices by adding only selling fee and shipping cost to the price I paid to the stores. I don’t make a profit from the sales, but the reward stays! For some items, I buy only on sale. For some items, use coupons, that helps me compete with other sellers. And not only FRN reward, but I also earn the reward of store’s loyalty programs, which will be also your profit!

Is there a way to only earn rewards without such a work as selling on eBay and amazon? See the details in the next article “Ultimate Strategy of Fuel Rewards Network 2/2

Note you need to avoid using Discover cards to purchase AmEx gift cards. Discover treats the transactions as Cash Advance and charges a fee. As long as I know, Chase and Amex cards are safe to use for the purchase of Amex gift cards.

ABC Gift Cards or CardCash

abc gift cards does not equal cardcashI usually use Gift Card Granny to search discounted gift cards. In Gift Card Granny, you don’t see “” as a seller or buyer, but you see “ABC Gift Cards” instead. ABC Gift Cards and CardCash are both online gift card exchange marketplace, and it seems they are the same company. A gift card that is for sale at ABC is also for sale at CardCash. When you add one card to the cart of ABC, the card will disappear at CardCash, or vise verse. The prices of cards are also the same whether you buy or sell a gift card.

They are the same company. And they share an inventory. It is just they have 2 different web sites.

…….So What?

befrugal cash back cardcashThere is a big difference between two web sites for those who buy gift cards from them. Because offer 2% cash back on the purchase at ONLY is very reputable and reliable online shopping portal. You don’t need to be a credit card holder to use the site. It is free to become a member, you can start earning cash back from Day 1. It has over 4000 merchants and lots of online coupons of each merchant. Cash back info appears on the same day of the purchase, and cash back will be available for you to request after 90 days of the purchase.

Plus, CardCash accepts PayPal as a payment. So, using PayPal Extras MasterCard give you 2X points (1.66% cash back) in addition to cash back from It is just like eBay. eBay accepts PayPal and gives 2% back as eBay Bucks.

Here are other gift card exchange sites and cash back rates which offers

  • Cardpool – up to 4%
  • Raise – up to 2%

Neither Cardpool or Raise accept PayPal, so you can’t get 2X point.

All you have to do is to know – to know ABC has an identical site, CardCash and offer 2% cash back on the purchase at CardCash. This is great. You do not only get discounted gift cards, but also get cash back on the purchase of them!!

Comparison of Gas Rewards Programs 2/3

Shop Your Way GAS REWARDS vs Stop & Shop Gas Rewards

shop your way gas rewards vs stop & shop gas rewards

Both are free to join. The benefits of these programs are that you can earn reward through every day purchase, and reward is much bigger than the programs introduced in the previous post. (Both discounts can be applied for a single fill-up.)

  • Shop Your Way GAS REWARDS – Spend $50 or more at Kmart and you will get 30¢/gal off coupon, up to 20 gallons at BP, Speedway, Sunoco, or Shell (depending on the location of Kmart)
  • Stop & Shop Gas Rewards – Earn 1 point for every dollar spent at Stop & Shop, save 10¢/gal for every 100 points, up to $2.20/gal to redeem and up to 35 gallons per transaction at Shell

shop your way gas rewards couponAt a glance, Shop Your Way looks better and easier to earn the reward than Stop & Shop. However, Stop & Shop offers extra points on the purchase of some items. See weekly circular and make sure that they have a type of price tag in store. (as pictured below) stop and shop gas rewards bonusAccording to this week’s circular, you must buy any of 8 items to earn 500 points=50 cents per gallon. Aside from the reward, the price of them are good deals. If you regularly buy some of these items, stock up on them. It allows to earn 10 offers per household (5000pts=$5/gal!) If you don’t find any items necessary, wait for next week. The bonus items change every week.price tag of gas reward bonus item

Kmart has a reward program called Shop Your Way Reward (A gas coupon is something additional. This is the main loyalty program of Sears, Kmart and Lands End). SYWR is a great program. When you combine with coupons, you can earn lots of reward points, and you can redeem for the next purchases. But deals are so timely. In my opinion, Kmart is not a good store to buy every day items, especially groceries. Besides, the 30¢ discount coupon can’t be combined with another 30¢ discount coupons. Only one coupon can be used each transaction. As for Stop & Shop reward points, you can redeem up to 2200 points (save $2.20 per gallon), up to 35 gallons per transaction.

Please note that there is an expiration date on both rewards. For Shop Your Way GAS REWARDS, a coupon is valid for 30 days. The exact date is printed on the coupon. For Stop & Shop Gas Rewards, points you earn expires 30 days later. You can check the exact date in the website.


Considering bonus items, Stop & Shop Gas Rewards is much easier to earn more rewards. Saving $2.20/gal is very appealing. And the discount is applied up to 35 gallons. If you own 2 or more cars, fill it up at the same time to get discount as much as possible. It is not difficult to earn thousands of points every week and redeem a maximum reward every fill-up!

Fuel Rewards Network (from the previous post) and Stop & Shop Gas Rewards are both for Shell gas stations. Let’s unveil the potential of Fuel Rewards Network and compare them in the next post, “Stop & Shop Gas Rewards vs Fuel Rewards Network“.


Comparison of Gas Rewards Programs 1/3

BP Driver Rewards vs Fuel Rewards Network

bp driver rewards vs fuel rewards network

Both of them are free to join. After signing up, membership cards are sent to you. Every time you pump at a gas station, insert the cards and you will get the following discount:

  • BP Driver Rewards – Save 5¢/gal, up to 20 gallons, every 20 gallons with 2 transactions at BP
  • Fuel Rewards Network – Save 3¢/gal, up to 20 gallons, every fill-up at Shell

Both cents-per-gallon discounts are eligible for up to 20 gallons with one fill-up. “one fill-up” means that even if you redeem the reward and purchase less than 20 gallons, the discount won’t carry over for the next fill-up. To earn BP’s 5¢/gal discount, you have to make 2 transactions that total at least 20 gallons. To maximize the reward, use a sign up bonus (10¢/gal discount) and purchase 20 gallons at the first pump. Then make another transaction, but this time pump as little as possible. This meets requirements for the reward, and you will be able to use for next purchase of 20 gallons. By keeping this cycle, you will receive almost 5¢ discount on average. However, this way works for vehicles that have big fuel tanks. If you have a small vehicle that has 10-gallon fuel tank, you will receive only 2.5¢ discount on average. Fuel Rewards Network (FRN) is no requirement to get a discount. All you need to do is insert the FRN card before pumping at Shell.

BP Driver Rewards expire at the end of the month of 90 days after the rewards are earned. You can always receive FRN 3¢ discount as long as you have the card and insert it before pumping. (an additional reward earned through a purchase at supermarkets, online portal, etc have expiration date.)

As a sign-up bonus, BP offers 10¢/gal for the first fill-up, up to 20 gallons, and FRN doesn’t have any. (but there are several bonuses from online portal, dine, supermarket, etc after earning the first reward through each of them)


Because BP Driver Rewards needs 2 transactions to earn the reward, if you have a SUV or truck which have larger than 20-gallon fuel tank, you can constantly receive (almost) 5¢/gal discount in the way described above. But, if it’s 12-gallon tank, you can earn 3¢/gal discount on average. So, if a capacity of fuel tank of your car is more than 12 gallons, BP Driver Rewards gives you better rewards on average. If it’s less than 12 gallons, use FRN and you will earn 3¢/gal discount every fill-up.

This is only a comparison of rewards you can earn through gas purchases. While BP Driver Rewards doesn’t have any other strategy to maximize the reward, FRN has various ways to earn more and more rewards. I will explain this later. Before that, I’d like to introduce two other reward programs in the next post, “Shop Your Way GAS REWARDS vs Stop & Shop Gas Rewards“.

King of Cash Back! “Discover it” Card Review

“Discover it” is a credit card which I earn cash back the most every month among all credit cards I have. I think that this is the best card for those who shop online a lot. Discover’s online mall, ShopDiscover has over 200 retailers. This number is much fewer than other online portals such as Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi Shopping Center, but ShopDiscover covers most of major retailers. I can find almost all retailers I usually shop in ShopDiscover. Although it has fewer retailers, some retailers can find ONLY in ShopDiscover, like, Shopping through ShopDiscover gives you at least 5% cash back. As compared ShopDiscover’s cash back bonus of my favorite retailers with other online portals, I found some of them are the same, but most of them are better.

It is my first credit card which offers the reward (cash back). When I just received the card, I was so happy about 5% cash back on rotating category and 1% on everything else. And it is a shame that I didn’t know about online portals and hadn’t used it for first 4 months although I made many online purchases. I have missed so much cash back during that time. So, for those who don’t know about online portals, here is a walk-through of ShopDiscover.

Please note that ShopDiscover became Discover Deals on January 8th, 2015. Click here to see details.

Login and click “See Retailers”

enter shopdiscover

Either type a name of retailer or choose in a drop-down list

search a retainer at shopdiscover

Click “Start Shopping” and complete a check-out

start shopping thru shopdiscover


Mostly in a few days, you will receive an email look like the below

shopdiscover confirmation emal

Sometimes, ShopDiscover page looks like this

shopdiscover additional bonus

The seasonal or occasional bonus offer. Not all but many retailers offer additional 5% cash back. Here is an example, Macy’’s page.

mothers day bonus shopdiscover

You will see this type of bonus very often throughout a year! While 5% cash back on rotating category are capped $1500 on the purchase each quarter, cash back earned through ShopDiscover is NO LIMIT! The more you buy, the more you earn!

Please note that ShopDiscover became Discover Deals on January 8th, 2015. Click here to see details.

There is another point I like “Discover it” card the best. That is its great redemption options. Here is a list of options.

  • Statement Credit
  • Direct Deposit
  • Partner Gift Cards
  • Discover Gift Cards
  • Charitable Donation
  • Pay with Cashback Bonus

redeem cashback for partners gift cardsBasically, one reward dollar= one USD. However, when you redeem for partner gift cards, one reward dollar can be worth more than one USD or even doubles. Partner gift cards (over 150 retailers’) are ALL on sale. You can get $50 Macy’s gift card for $45 reward dollar (10% discount), $25 Lands End gift card for $20 (20% discount), most gift cards in travel and vacation category are more than 50% off!

pay with cashback bonusNever choose “Pay with Cashback Bonus”. This feature, which is also found in Ultimate Reward, lets you redeem your reward dollar directly at If you do so, you can’t get any cash back through the transaction at amazon. If you redeem for statement credit, or direct deposit and then make a purchase at with Discover card, you will get 1% cash back. So, don’t use this feature unless you need it for some reasons.

Like Chase Freedom and Citi Dividend, “Discover it” offer 5% cash back on rotating category. Discover’s Q4 is very unique and useful. This offer is capped $1500 on purchases each quarter. If you want some ideas to get  a full cash back ($300 a year) from Rotating Category.

Overall, “Discover It” is the best cash back credit card for those who shop online. Any other online portals don’t offer as good rewards as ShopDiscover. And you can’t see so many gift cards with discount to redeem.  That is all about King of Cash Back “Discover it” and why I like it the best.

Buy Visa Gift Card at

Many department or grocery stores sell 3rd party gift cards in stores, but not online. Most of them may sell only their own gift cards online. and are kind of unique sites when it comes to their selling gift cards. Because they sell 3rd party gift cards in their own sites. Gift cards available at aren’t so great, but ones at are very interesting. Here is a list of some gift cards available at

  • Staples
  • Lowe’s
  • Home Depot
  • Bed Bath and Beyond
  • Game Stop
  • Sears
  • Kmart
  • Lands End
  • Kohl’s
  • JC Penny
  • VISA
  • and more

There are a lot more stores’ gift cards being sold at The thing is that they are sold online, and a transaction is made within Staples. Because of these facts, you can get a reward from online shopping portal. In addition, if you have Chase Ink Cash business credit cards (or Ink Bold/Plus), you will get another 5% cash back (or 5x points) on the purchase at office supply stores. You don’t have to use Ultimate Rewards Mall, which give only 2% (or 2X). No matter which payment method you take, you can choose the best online portal. For Staples, it is ShopDiscover. Let’s see an example of $200 Visa gift card. The card charges $6.95 activation fee, and shipping is free. In the next statement, you will get $10 from ShopDiscover and another $10 (or 10,000pt) from Chase. So, the total of cash back will cover whole activation fee and even give you a $13.05 profit! Please keep in mind, it’s important to browse available coupons every time you shop online. It has been my habit to try online coupons before a checkout. This a good example of why you should get into the habit. I found this coupons in a coupon site. Usually, a purchase of gift cards are not eligible for coupons. So, I only tried to apply the coupon without much expectation. As a result, it went through. Unbelievable, I just bought $200 Visa gift card for $191.95, and later I will receive $20 cash back!

Staples coupon15 off on Visa GC

This Visa gift card is issued by MetaBank. There is no way to obtain PIN for ATM access to withdraw cash. Even so, you can use it anywhere in the U.S. that accept Visa debit/credit card. You can buy everyday items or even go back to and make a purchase of other gift cards. If you buy $200 Home Depot e-gift card (no shipping, tax, or purchase fee), you will get 5% cash back from ShopDiscover again. (e-gift cards may not be eligible for cash back from online portal. I’ve done some tests and the result is here.) Staples has also many other gift cards available only in store, such as amazon, BP, Shell, etc. If you use Ink Cash credit card, you can get 5% cash back on the purchase of any gift cards in store. As you see, not only eBay or Cardpools, but Staples is also one of the best places to buy gift cards both in store and online.