Kroger Rewards World Mastercard®

Robin Saks Frankel  in  Rewards How we rate our cards  |  Advertiser Disclosure
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The Kroger Rewards World Mastercard (formerly known as the 1-2-3 REWARDS Visa Card) is The Kroger Co.’s co-branded credit card, offering reward points that can be redeemed either toward free groceries or discounts on gas. The main attraction with the U.S. Bank-issued card is its first-year benefit of 25 cents off of every gallon of gas at a Kroger-owned Fuel Center, with the caveat that you have to redeem 100 Fuel Points earned within a single month.

Review

The Kroger Rewards World Mastercard should be called a 3-in-1. The card is a somewhat baffling blend of loyalty card, gas card and Visa credit card. You can earn 3 points per $1 spent on Kroger-branded products, 2 points per $1 spent on most items at nearly any store within the Kroger family — except Kroger Fuel Centers —  and 1 point per $1 everywhere else you use the card.

Beyond Kroger’s expansive chain of grocery stores, the company also owns dozens of other retail and grocery brands including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter and Pick ‘n Save. Nearly all of the retailers and grocery purveyors fall under the Kroger’s points-earning umbrella, earning you the 2 points per $1 spent using this card. For example, if you shop at Fred Meyer Jewelers and pay for a qualifying purchase with theKroger Rewards World Mastercard, you’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent there.

Here’s where the rewards system of this card starts to get confusing. The card doesn’t earn any points at Kroger Fuel centers. But in your first year of card ownership, every time you redeem 100 points, you can get an additional 25 cents per gallon discount, up to 35 gallons per visit when you fill your car at a Kroger Fuel Center or participating Shell gas station.

This makes a point worth about 4 cents in gas spending, which puts it on a par with some of the best credit cards for gas we’ve seen. But after that first year the offer drops down to 5 cents off per gallon, up to 35 gallons per visit each time you redeem 100 points at the pump. This makes a point worth only about .08 cents at the pump.

There are a couple of tricks to earning more fuel points to get the Kroger gas discount. If you get a flu shot or fulfill some other health need at The Little Clinic, a walk-in medical clinic located inside select Kroger-owned supermarkets, you’ll earn 50 fuel points. You also can take advantage of promotions that periodically pop up that pay 2 points per $1 spent on gift card purchases at a Kroger family store.

But after that first year you’re still stuck at a measly 5 cents a gallon off with every 100 points. You could just join Shell’s Fuel Rewards program for nothing and get 5 cents off per gallon without having to keep track of anything.

If you don’t have much of a need for gas, you can also redeem your points for groceries. For every $1,000 points, you’ll get $5 worth of free groceries. This makes a point worth about half a cent, an all-around terrible value.

Bottom line: You’d be much better off with a different card that pays higher rewards on groceries or gas.

Who should get this card

We can’t recommend this card when there are better options.

Advantages
  • There's no fee to own this card.
  • If you spend a lot at any of the Kroger family of stores, you’ll earn discounts on future grocery purchases.
  • The potential to earn a 25 cent per gallon discount for the first year of card ownership can save you money.
Disadvantages
  • The reward terms are somewhat confusing.
  • After the first year, the redemption value for gas is poor.
  • The rewards rate on groceries is low.
  • You don’t earn any rewards for buying gas at a Kroger Fuel Center.
  • Other cards offer greater value on grocery spending.

Fees and APR

  • Pay no annual fee.
  • Purchase and balance transfer APR is a variable 14.99% to 24.99% based on creditworthiness.
  • On balance transfers, pay $10 or 4% of the amount transferred, whichever is more.
  • Pay a 2.8% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made outside of the U.S.
  • Late payments won’t affect your APR, but you may be subject to a penalty fee of up to $38.

Extras, perks and using points

This card comes with travel and emergency assistance benefits and Auto Rental Collision Damage coverage. The card also provides 90 days of purchase security and extended warranty protections, up to one year.

Accumulated points are redeemable for reward certificates for use at the Kroger Co. stores. Certificates will be rewarded periodically (at least four times a year) after you earn at least 1,000 points (worth $5).