The Kroger 1-2-3 Rewards Master Card

The other day, my wife and I received a Kroger 1-2-3 Rewards Master Card offer. Here’s what it offers:

  • 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers until October 2006.
  • Earn 1 point for each $1 spent outside of Kroger
  • Earn 1 point for each $1 spent at Kroger (including fuel centers).
  • In addition, you can earn 3 extra points for each $1 spend on Kroger’s private label brands.
  • 2,000 extra points (worth $20 in free groceries) the first time you use the card.

Is it a good deal?

Looking at our budget, I see about $1,600 in expenses (groceries, household goods, gasoline, eating out, entertainment, clothing, and gifts) each month that we could charge on the card. Of those expenses, approximately $947 per month ($650 in groceries and $297 in gas) could be spent at Kroger. Of the amount spent at Kroger, 25% could be spent on Kroger’s private label products. So, here’s the math:

1 Point Purchases:

$652 per month X 1 point = 652 points per month

2 Point Purchases:

$947 per month X 2 points = 1,894 points per month

3 Point Purchases (Kroger private label products):

$650 X 25% = $163 per month
$163 per month X 3 points = 489 points per month

So, our total points per month would be 3,035, which would earn us 3 $10 gift certificates (the points are worth $.01 each) for use at Kroger. Of course, those gift certificates would go against next month’s spending since the points are based on the amount charged, so you would receive less points the following month.

The only way this would be beneficial is to MAKE SURE you don’t carry a balance on the card. Interest charges past October would really dilute the value of the points. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend transferring money to this particular card unless you are sure you can pay it off before October.

17 thoughts on “The Kroger 1-2-3 Rewards Master Card”

  1. A better deal would be to get a card like the Citi Dividend Platinum, which offers 5% rewards on gas, groceries or drug store purchases no matter where you shop (and regardless of whether or not you buy store brands).

  2. I agree with fivecentnickel’s assessment.

    I tend to shy away from reward programs that provide extra incentive to purchase certain products or to shop at specific stores, because generally the reward is not sufficient to make up for the price difference and even if it is, it significantly complicates the effort to find the best price. I also don’t like my rebates to be locked to a particular store. The Citi card is nice in both respects.

    The only problem I’ve found with it is the $300/yr. maximum rebate, which I hit in October last year without noticing. Now I use my Costco AmEx for restaurants (for a 3% rebate) and my Citi card for gas and groceries (for a 5% rebate), and split most other purchases between them, to avoid maxing out either rebate.

  3. I actually saw that offer yesterday, and I just about busted out laughing. I thought, “How pathetic is it that Chase can give me better cash back (5% on all grocery and fuel purchases) for shopping at Kroger than Kroger can offer me for shopping at Kroger.”

    I’d get the Chase Rewards and then the citi mastercard, if you max out your Chase.

  4. The Cincinatti division also offers .15$ each gallon of gas for an entire fillup for every 100$
    you spend at kroger. So at 650$ spent at Kroger per month thats 6 fillups at .15$ off each gallon.
    Average car gas tank at 15 gallons, thats 2.25$ per fillup at 6 fillups a month, abut 13.50$.
    Added onto the other rewards it gets sweeter.

  5. So, our total points per month would be 3,035, which would earn us 3 $10 gift certificates (the points are worth $.01 each) for use at Kroger. Of course, those gift certificates would go against next month’s spending since the points are based on the amount charged, so you would receive less* points the following month.

    * I cannot resist editing. It should not be less points. It should be fewer points. It refers to number, not quantity.

  6. As an exclusive Kroger shopper I was attracted by the incentive of the points to apply for a card. Unfortunately I was taken in by the repeated promises in the brochure to save lots of money by transferring a balance for a 12 month 0% rate.

    My first surprise was finding a $50 charge on my bill. My second surprise was finding that I was being charged 12.99% interest on all purchases because I was carrying a balance (even though I intended to pay off all purchases monthly). My third surprise was that my payments to cover purchases were applied to the transferred balance. The net result was that in 3 months I was paying 12.99% interest on the amount I had transferred to take advantage of the 0% offer.

    Read the fine print! The offer is deceptive. While I tend to view the credit card offers I receive with great skepticism… I must have been more gullible in this case because of a trusting relationship with a grocery chain I have shopped with for 16 years.

  7. Read the fine print when you actually receive the card. Upon receiving my Kroger MasterCard almost all of the incentives listed in the brochure were changed. Instead of a $10 check for every 1000 points it was switched to a $5 check, even though the brochure says you will receive double points for gas you no longer receive any points, and even though the brochure promises you will receive 5 points for every dollar you spend on Kroger brand products that has been changed to 3 points. Everything about the Kroger master card is deceptive. Kroger should be ashamed of having their logo on a product containing so many lies.

    As a side note to receive the full 5% cash back on the other cards mentioned above you have to charge a certain amount of money each year before you qualify for that reward level. On some cards you will not start to receive that 5% cash back until you have charged $6,000 in that year.

  8. I got the card, but only use it for Kroger purchases and the 15 cent gas discount… I have a BJ’s Mastercard that sends me $20 rebate checks fairly often, and the Target Visa that gives me a 10% off shopping day each month if I spend about $1000 on it (anywhere–but more points if spent at Target) All are paid in full each month. Would the Citi Dividend Platinum still be something I should look at? Where can I find their site?


  9. the citi card only offers the 5% for the first 6 months. 2% there after.. and 1% on non supermarket, drugstore or gas stations.

  10. I have used the Kroger M/C for over a year for gas purchases after I have accumulated the 100 points needed using my Kroger 123 Rewards Card and paying cash for purchases. I have always received the 15 Cent discount using my Kroger M/C for the gas purchase. Now I am beign told that my grocery purchases must also be made using the M/C to get the additional 5 Cent discount over the 10 Cent discount offered by the Kroger 123 Rewards program. There is nothing in the crredit card agreement or on the Kroger website that states this. They are arbitrarly changing the program. Publix is begining to look good. I wouldn’t change stores over the few cents in question but I damn sure will consider changing as a result of the rude customer service reps I have tried to discusss this with.

  11. Try paying your bill on line, I have been to the web address on the back of my bill & can get any Co. I want except 123online, 1-2-3 Online, 1 2 3 Online, 1 2 3 ONLINE. Its not just master card who is bogus, the web page is Kroger Personal financial

  12. This month, I have still not received my checks mailed out , supposedly, on 5/23. it’s June 14th. how long could it possibly take. not only have I not but two other people on two different accounts, have not. I don’t even shop at kroger for most things any longer, since they are more expensive than our high end, small grocery store, but I do use them for things like yogurt and wild bird seed. when I called to find out about the checks, the woman just gave me attitude, nothing more.

    I have recommended at least 10 customers to them. I never will again

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