Background (skip down for the calculations if you want):
Back when I bought my last car (06 Mazda 3), the dealership gave me a gas discount card, worth 4% off on gas at SuperAmerica stations. Naturally, I started using those stations, and quickly signed up for Speedy Rewards to maximize my savings. More recently, I've been looking into credit cards to use for gas purchases. I am able to combine any CC reward with my dealership discount card and speedy rewards, sweet! I noticed that SA has a Mastercard of their own, which TRIPLES speedy reward dollar spent bonus. The regular bonuses for speedy rewards are: 20 points/dollar and 10 points/gallon of gas, in addition to all the bonus points you can earn for current offers in store. The SA Mastercard offers an ADDITIONAL 40 points/dollar spent at SA/Speedway, 10 points/dollar elsewhere, and a bonus 10k points after your first purchase. I would only be using this card for gas, so the 10 points/dollar are insignificant.
I decided to look into this further by making a spreadsheet calculating the optimal rewards from the Speedy Rewards program and the cost of each both with and without the SA Mastercard.
I wasn't interested in any of the product related rewards, so I ignored those. I was only interested in maximizing my return in some form of Cash Back; which limited my scope to discounts or gift card rewards. You can tell by looking at the list, most 3rd party gift cards are available for 1,000 points per dollar, making a single speedy reward point worth .001 dollars. There are SA brand gift cards which provide a slightly better return though. As high as .00154 dollars/point for the $100 food and merchandise card. This GC requires 65,000 points.
Once I figured out that the above mentioned $100 food and merch card is the optimal reward based on dollars/point calculations, I set about determining the return from using the SA Mastercard in conjunction with speedy rewards.
First, I had to calculate how many gallons of gas I would have to buy to earn the 65,000 points. I also assumed $3/gallon for gas. This is a pretty simple calculation.
A quick recap: Without Mastercard: 20 points/dollar and 10 points/gallon earned. With Mastercard: 60 points/dollar and 10 points/gallon earned.
I need to buy x number of gallons to earn the GC (respectively): 65000/(10 + 20*3) ~= 928.57 gallons 65000/(10 + 60*3) ~= 342.11 gallons
For a total spent to earn the $100 reward: 928.57 * $3 = $2,785.71 342.11 * $3 = $1,026.32
For a return of: 100 / 2,785.71 = 3.59% 100 / 1,026.32 = 9.74%
That works out to 6.15% difference from using the Mastercard vs not using it.
As a note... it will take roughly 77 weeks to earn the $100 GC without the Mastercard, and 28 weeks with it. So, it's not Cash Back on your statement, or anything even close to that really... but the return is good.
From what I am reading on the card and the reward program:
1. You only get 10 points/gallon and the 20 points/$1 spent applies only to cash spent on food and other items within the convenience store.
2. The credit card only increases the benefit for items purchased within the store.
posted: May. 30, 2010 @ 10:30a
I hadn't thought about that because it's been working for me (minus the Mastercard so far).
I've been "double dipping" on rewards for a while now. The 4% discount card I mentioned above is a prepay card, so I load about a months worth of money onto it at a time. I suppose that may be how I'm managing to do it. Loading my card gets me the 20 points/dollar, then I use that card and earn 10/gallon. Interestingly, the list of "restricted items" for earn dollar points includes "Speedy Cash Prepaid cards". But the special card I have certainly works.
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