Written by Karen Bryan
Morrisons Fuel Saver promises that you need never pay the full price for fuel again. While that may sound entincing in these days of high fuel prices, is it really going to save you money?
In order to get the money-off fuel vouchers, you need to purchase gift vouchers when you pay for your Morrisons shopping at the till. The promotion is not available for online purchases at the moment. The list of participating retailers includes Monsoon, New Look, Toys R Us, Currys, Bella Italia, iTunes, Debenhams and Boots.
You get a voucher for 1 pence off a litre of fuel for every £10 that you spend on gift vouchers. Say you buy a £100 worth of vouchers as gifts, you’d get a voucher for 10 pence a litre off fuel. Now how much you save is dependent on the size of your fuel tank and how near empty your car is when you go to fill it. The fuel vouchers are valid for 63 days after you purchase the giftcards. You can use the money off voucher for a purchase of up to 100 litres (26 gallons). Our supermini fuel tank holds 45 litres, so if we filled up when it was empty we could save £4.50 by buying the £100 gift voucher. The most you could save if you had a big car would be £10. However you’d need to plan to go to a Morrisons petrol station when you were almost empty which might not be practical.
I assume that Morrisons is getting enough commission from the giftcard retailers to cover the money it loses from the sales of discounted petrol through the Morrisons Fuel Saver. The retailers must be willing to pay that commission to Morrisons, as they hope they will get more customers spending in their stores.
Being able to save 4 – 10% on fuel for you car does sound quite good. However, unless you live very close to a Morrisons store, you could also spend more driving there. As you have to go into the store to buy the giftcards, chances are you’ll do some shopping if you’re there anyway.
The question is how many giftcards would you be tempted to buy? Would you end up falling into the old trap of spending more money to supposedly save money? Personally, I’d prefer a giftcard as a present to being given something I didn’t chose myself, but cash would be even better, as then I wouldn’t be restricted to one retailer.
Another issue is ensuring that you use all the credit on the vouchers e.g. if you go for a meal at Bella Italia with a £30 giftcard, will you end up either spending more than you usually would to make the bill up to £30, or if you leave a few pounds credit you may forget to spend it as some giftcards expire after a couple of years. I tried to buy some clothes on the Debenhams site using a giftcard for part payment. However it wasn’t possible to do this online, although I could mix methods of payment in-store. This meant I had to pay for the items by credit card and I still have some credit left on my giftcard; the nearest Debenhams store is 60 miles away in Edinburgh.
I doubt if the Morrisons Fuel Saver promotion will lure us into Morrisons more often. I think that offers like Tesco’s ‘spend £50 in -store and get a voucher for 5 pence off a litre of fuel’ are much more straightforward than having to buy giftcards to get money off fuel vouchers.