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    Certified Oil Launches Loyalty Program

    "Certified Savings" offers customers three levels of benefits, including gas discounts.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Certified Oil Co., operator and supplier to more than 140 gas stations and convenience stores in the state, launched a three-tier loyalty program called "Certified Savings," the Chillicothe Gazette reported.

    Four Certified stations in Granville, Hebron and Newark received the program in late 2008, and three additional Certified stores in Chillicothe will be added later this month, according to the report.

    The purpose of the program is "to develop and maintain loyalty among current and future customers while rewarding them for their continued patronage," Greg Ehrlich, Certified chief operating officer, told the paper.

    The first level of the program gives cardholders product discounts and automatic entry into club programs, such as coffee, packaged beverages, fountain and roller grill items, which earn customers’ a free product after purchasing a designated amount of that same item.

    In addition, members are rewarded with points that can be redeemed in the form of gasoline discounts and free merchandise, the paper reported. Five points are earned for each gallon of gas purchased, and 10 points are earned for each dollar spent on in-store merchandise, with bonus points available for specially marked items, according to Certified’s Web site. Cardholders earn points by inserting the Certified Savings card at the pump, or presenting the card to a sales associate at the check out.

    Products that currently can be redeemed include Hershey’s bars, 16-ounce coffee, 32-ounce fountain drink, a Red Bull and King Size Kit Kat. Gas Discounts begin at 10 cents per gallon and reach $1 per gallon, while gift cards can be redeemed in $5, $10 and $15 denominations, according to the site.

    In the second tier, which incorporates Level 1 benefits, cardholders can also earn two cents off per gallon of gas when they enroll a debit card for Certified’s Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment program. The payment plan authorizes Certified to electronically withdraw funds from the cardholder's checking account upon purchase, making the loyalty card also a payment type similar to a debit card, the Gazette reported.

    The third level of the loyalty program offers cardholders three cents off per gas gallon when they pay with cash.

    "This program offers great flexibility," Tom Bell, Certified vice president of Information Technology, told the paper. "It will permit us to modify our benefits by store, customer, product and even by the day of the week. The possibilities and combinations for customization are endless."

    In addition, Certified is opening its loyalty program to non-competitive merchants such as restaurants, movie theaters, grocery stores, quick oil-change services and various retail outlets, allowing those cardholders to purchase Certified’s services and products at reduced prices, according to the report.

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