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Ralphs Rewards program to see big change

March 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
There is just one week left to get double value on your coupons at Ralphs -- the grocery chain is ending the program April 1. However, Ralphs is changing its rewards program in ways that they say will save customers even more money.

But Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst and editor of Supermarketguru.com, says Ralphs had no choice but to eliminate double coupons.

"No question about it, food prices are going to go up -- in fact over the next five years, meat and seafood and poultry dramatically," he said. "As a result, the store doesn't want to raise prices for you and I, the consumer, so they've got to take waste out of the system."

So, Ralphs is planning a new program, which they will announce next Wednesday. Part of the program is designed to save you money on recent high gas prices.

For every dollar spent at Ralphs, customers will get one fuel point. For any reusable bag brought into the store and is used up to 10 bags, five fuel points each will be earned. For every dollar spent on a gift card, double fuel points are earned. 50 points will be earned for every eligible prescription at a Ralphs store.

Once a customer gets 100 points, they can redeem them at the gas pump using the Ralphs Rewards card for a 10-cent per gallon discount up to 35 gallons. However, the gasoline must be purchased at a Ralphs fuel center, or a participating Shell station. There is also a time limit to the points.

"Rest assured that these changes are leading to something that will result in more widespread savings for our customers throughout the store every single day. While we understand your frustration, please known that we considered these changes keeping in mind the implications for our customers," Ralphs Kendra Doyle said in a statement.

"I never get myself together well enough to do the coupons anyway," said Jean Sedillos of Santa Monica. "So that's not gonna affect me but it's too bad for the people who do."

In the meantime, we'll all just have to wait and see if the new program is any better than double coupons.