More than half (54%) of American consumers belong to loyalty programmes that enable them to save on the cost of fuel, and rank these programmes first for membership and activity over credit card cashback rewards, coupons, discounts, airline miles, hotel points and other rewards programmes, according to a consumer behaviour report from fuel savings rewards provider Excentus. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

The report, entitled 'The Road to Rewards', which is part of the Excentus Insights Series of reports, features results from a July 2015 survey of American consumers.

Of the American consumers surveyed, nearly half of (46%) say they earn, buy, redeem or check their fuel-savings rewards daily or weekly. When asked why they join rewards programmes, 47% say they like saving money any way they can and 23% like earning rewards on everyday purchases.

Other key findings from the report included:

  • 37% of consumers ranked fuel savings as their preferred rewards programme;
  • 32% preferred credit-card cashback programmes;
  • 25% preferred retailer/brand coupons;
  • 24% preferred credit card rewards;
  • 24% preferred cash-register instant discounts;
  • 22% preferred retailer-specific points/rewards;
  • 17% preferred airline miles;
  • 16% preferred restaurant;
  • 16% preferred grocer rewards;
  • 14% preferred hotel points.

The survey also confirmed previous findings from Excentus, which operates the nationwide Fuel Rewards programme, about consumers' preference for fuel discounts even when gasoline prices fluctuate. More than two-thirds of the survey respondents (67%) say they pay attention to gas prices, and consumers agree it is important to save on fuel when gas prices rise (64%) or fall (54%).

Consumers said they belong to fuel-saving rewards programmes offered by grocery stores (68%), retail stores (22%), credit cards (16%) and restaurants/dining venues (7%). When asked why they join, 46% say the rewards are offered as part of an existing loyalty programme, 40% join to save money, 37% to earn rewards where they already shop, 19% to save on the cost of driving, and 15% because the incentive is linked to a credit card.

Incentives to save on fuel can also influence consumer shopping behaviour and retailer brand preferences, the report found. Almost one in five consumers (19%) would choose a different brand to earn 25-50 cents per gallon on fuel, 17%-20% would switch retailers to earn 25 cents to $1 per gallon on fuel, and 20% would purchase in-store rather than online to earn 25-50 cents per gallon on fuel.