IHG gives discount on Shell gas — Good double-dipping opportunity

If you’re an IHG Rewards Club member, check your email. You should have received details about a new way to get a discount at the pump.

IHG has partnered with Fuel Rewards. Fuel Rewards is a card-linked discount program that allows you to earn discounts at Shell stations. Normally, Fuel Rewards members receive 3 cents off per gallon at Shell. But now, IHG Rewards Club members can receive even more:

IHG Fuel Club discounts

  • Club/Gold Elite IHG status: 5 cents per gallon
  • Platinum Elite IHG status: 6 cents per gallon
  • Spire Elite IHG status: 7 cents per gallon

When you first link your IHG account to your Fuel Rewards account (more on that in a moment), you’ll get an immediate one-time “linking reward” of 5 cents off per gallon (regardless of your status). This initial “linking reward” expires on the last day of the month immediately following the month in which you link your accounts. After you get the linking reward, you’ll then get the above discounts, based on your IHG status — which takes Fuel Rewards seven to 10 days to verify.

How to earn the discounts

Belonging to the IHG Rewards Club won’t automatically sign you up for the extra discounts. Follow these steps to start earning your discounts at Shell stations:

  1. Link your IHG account to Fuel Rewards: Either click through on the email you should have received, or visit this site. You’ll need to enter your IHG loyalty number and enter some other personal details to set up a Fuel Rewards account.
  2. Decide on your authentication method: You can order a free Fuel Rewards ID card, which you would swipe at the pump before filling up. Or you can set an “Alt ID” code that you can key in at the pump. The default setting for this code is your 10-digit phone number.
  3. Fill up and get discounts: Select “Rewards” on on the display screen at the pump, use one of the authentication methods mentioned above, and get the discount tied to your IHG elite-status tier.

Analyzing the value of these discounts

On the average gallon of gas (as of March 2017), 6 cents off per gallon (which you get automatically if you have the IHG Rewards Club card and the Platinum Elite status that comes with it) is equivalent to a 2.6 percent rebate on gas. You’ll need to decide if that’s worth it to you before you seek out a Shell station. It might not be. Maybe you get a value out of Plenti points at Exxon and Mobil stations. Maybe the station down the street has gas for more than 6 cents cheaper.

However, since this is a benefit rolled into your IHG status, you might as well take advantage of it if a Shell station happens to be the best choice. Link your IHG and Fuel Rewards accounts now so you can take advantage of the opportunity whenever it arises.

Credit-card double-dipping opportunities

You can use any credit card and still get the IHG discount at Shell. So, if you’re a Platinum Elite member, you get 6 cents off per gallon even if you use a non-IHG credit card. This presents valuable double-dipping opportunities. If a card in your wallet gets you, say, 3 percent back on gas purchases, you get that on top of the IHG discount at Shell.

Granted, you may still want to use the IHG card if you have it, as it gets you 2X IHG reward points per dollar at gas stations. However, other cards may give you an even better return.

For example:

The Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express (a CreditCardForum advertising partner) gives 3 percent cash back on gas. This card carries a $95 annual fee, however, so if that’s not acceptable, consider the no-annual-fee Blue Cash Everyday card, which offers 2 percent cash back at gas stations.

The BankAmericard Cash Rewards card (no annual fee) offers 3 percent back at gas stations up to a quarterly cap (see terms).

Rotating-category cards (like the Chase Freedom and Discover it) offer 5 percent back at stations some quarters (up to a quarterly cap).

The bottom line:

IHG’s new partnership with Fuel Rewards program is a good way to get discounts you’re not already getting and has strong potential as a double-dipping opportunity when paired with the right card. Just make sure you don’t develop so much Shell loyalty that you stop researching the prices at gas stations nearby.

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