Winn-Dixie ending Fuel Perks, but adding another program

Winn-Dixie is ending its Fuel Perks loyalty program, but signing onto another program that includes more than gasoline.

With Fuel Perks, grocery customers received discounts on gas purchases at Shell stations, but that will end early next month. Instead, Southeastern Grocers, parent company for Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo, Harveys and Fresco y Más, will join American Express’s Plenti program, which was launched in 2015.

Already part of the Plenti program are AT&T, Exxon Mobile, Macy’s, ¬≠Nationwide insurance, Rite Aid drugstores, Chili’s, Expedia, Direct Energy, Hulu, Enterprise, National and Alamo car rentals.

Points earned at the grocery stores can be redeemed at the stores or any of the other participants. Likewise, points earned by paying a monthly AT&T bill, for example, can be redeemed at the grocery stores.

Ian McLeod, president and CEO of Southeastern Grocers, said that consumer interest in the Fuel Perks program has waned since it was launched in 2009, in part because gas prices are now more than $1 a gallon less than they were a couple of years ago. Surveys showed that only two in 10 shoppers were using it, he said.

But a trial run in Harveys stores last fall showed that eight in 10 shoppers said they were interested in using Plenti, he said.

Plenti works like this: Money spent at any of the participants earn points. The base rate is one point for each $2 spent, but a point is only worth 1 cent.

So if you spend $100, you get 50 cents worth of credit toward purchases at any of the Plenti participants.

But far more significant are the bonus points on individual purchases.

A spokesman said that there will be more than 1,000 products that have bonus points, ranging from 20 to 1,000 points per product.

And 1,000 points would equal $10 in savings when redeemed.

Plenti also has an online marketplace that includes stores such as Apple, Home Depot, Best Buy and Microsoft, but the points earned there vary by merchant.

Customers will need to sign up for the Plenti program and get a card in addition to their Winn-Dixie card.

Signup for that will take place in Winn-Dixie stores starting today.

The program itself begins on April 5.

Under Fuel Perks, consumers received 5 cents per gallon discount on each $50 they spent at the grocery store.

Many items also had additional bonuses of 5, 10 or even 20 cents.

Gas purchases were limited to 20 gallons, but if a customer had accumulated, for example, 50 cents per gallon in Fuel Perks, that meant a $10 savings at the pump.

A 20-cent-per-gallon bonus on a bottle of wine, for example, was the equivalent of $4 off if the customer used Fuel Perks at the gas station.

The program recycled each month and all unused credits were lost.

Plenti points last two years before they expire.

Roger Bull: (904) 359-4296

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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