BOISE, Idaho -- Albertson's, based here, and ARCO gas stations expanded their "Gas Rewards" discount program, begun as a trial earlier this year, to stores in Las Vegas.
All 30 Albertson's stores and 33 out of the 45 ARCO gas stations in the Las Vegas area launched the program last month, said Paul Langland, a spokesman for London-based British Petroleum, which owns ARCO.
Although about 100 independently supplied Albertson's Express Fuel Centers exist around the country, no Albertson's units in the Las Vegas area host fuel centers. Lacking gas operations there, Albertson's "wanted to partner with an oil company to give us a network of stations" in that market, according to Chris Mielke, Albertson's vice president of marketing. Additionally, the supermarket chain wanted to tap into ARCO's customer base and entice ARCO customers who do not normally shop at Albertson's, Mielke said.
The program issues Albertson's customers discount vouchers (good toward ARCO gas) that are attached to store receipts when various food and nonfood items are purchased. Shoppers earn 2 to 20 cents off each gallon of gas with the purchases. Then, when customers buy gas at ARCO, they punch in a serial code from the voucher at a cash and debit-card acceptor called PayQuick. The total discount price is then subtracted from the total purchase price of the gasoline.
"Albertson's wants to give something back to their customers, and ARCO wants to drive customers into their gas stations," Langland added. "[This program] is a good way to reward them."
The Las Vegas launch was spurred by a successful test of the program begun last March in Bakersfield, Calif. "We were looking for a larger market, and Las Vegas fit our needs," Mielke said.
Consumers can rack up big savings for "Gas Rewards" if they are especially supermarket-savvy, because the more products they buy, the more they save, according to Langland. "They can get gas for free up to the full purchase price if they buy enough of the right products," he said.
Shoppers can choose from more than 700 selected items at Albertson's in order to receive discounted gas. Mielke told SN these "everyday" items were based on demand. Albertson's invited manufacturers to participate in "Gas Rewards," and many responded, knowing this program would hike their sales volume, said Mielke.