Using fuel points generally involves swiping a membership card or entering an identification code before pumping gas. The fuel pump recognizes the identification code and applies the relevant discount to the price per gallon. Many grocery stores, including Kroger and the Safeway/Tom Thumb/Randalls network, give fuel points to shopping members.
The Kroger fuel points program gives shoppers 1 point for every $1 that members spend in their grocery stores. Some products are excluded, such as tobacco products, alcoholic beverages and prescriptions. Other items sometimes receive a bonus multiplier for points, such as gift card purchases. After a shopper accrues 100 points within a month, he can buy gas at a 10-cent discount per gallon during that month or the next month. For every 100 points the shopper accrues, he gets another 10-cent discount. It is possible to apply the entire aggregate discount to one gas purchase or to spread them out in increments of 10 cents per gallon at a time, as of 2015. Different thresholds for point acquisition and time frames can apply with different grocery store chains.
Registration for fuel point programs is generally free of charge. Members receive a card that they can swipe on a reader on the fuel pump. They can also have an alternate ID code, such as their phone number, that they can enter using the touchpad. The touchpad also allows the member to choose how much of his discount to use on that gas purchase.