A Look at My FRN Debacle

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There’s no doubt that Shell’s Fuel Rewards Network (FRN) is by far my favorite gas rewards program. Not only does it offer easy, MS friendly earning methods such as spend $X at store Y (gift card heaven) and earn $0.20 off the gallon, but it also gives a reoccurring $0.03 off the gallon on every fill up. Yeah I know, $0.03 off the gallon isn’t much, but if you equate it to earning an additional ~1% cash back on gas purchases on top of any bonuses earned via a credit card, it’s not too bad.

If you don’t use Shell’s FRN program and you buy gas at Shell, you’re wasting money. Fortunately, now is a perfect time to sign-up! They’re offering a $0.25 of the gallon bonus on your second fill up just for signing up until 5/31/15.

You can sign-up for free here. That being said, you may want to finish this post before you click that link.

Disclaimer: I earn anywhere from $0.05-$0.25 off the gallon if you sign-up for FRN with my affiliate link. There’s no obligation to use it of course, but for those of you who do, I really appreciate it!

As with any rewards program, whether it be a store’s, an airline’s, or a gas station’s, they can have issues, glitches, and/or hiccups. Shell’s Fuel Rewards Network is no different, unfortunately. I have first hand experience to prove it. 🙂

I’ve been an active FRN member for about a year now and I had no issues with the program until one unfortunate April morning when I needed to fill up my tank.

When I went to swipe my FRN card at the pump, I received a weird error saying that my card needed to be activated. As I mentioned above, I had been using this card for a year, so that was obviously not the case. Seeing this, I tried a different pump only to receive the same error. I then went inside to try running it there instead of at the pump.

When I explained the situation to the cashier, she either didn’t believe me or thought I had no idea what I was doing, because she decided to go out to the pump and try the card herself. Yeah, it still didn’t work. She then asked me to fill up my tank and come inside when I was finished to run my card.

As I’m sure you could’ve guessed, it didn’t work to run my card inside either, so I paid my bill and went on my way. That night I called the FRN support line to explain what happened and see if they could fix it. Nope, they couldn’t… At least she couldn’t.

Her response to my debacle went some like, “Hmm I’ve never seen anything like this. The computer shows that you’ve been using your card multiple times, but it still requires activation. I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to help you with this. I will need to escalate this to our technical support team. They will get back to you within a week.”

As she promised, I received an email from them a few days later letting me know they were working on it, but it was a new issue for them as well. In other words, they had no idea as to what was going on.

About a week after that email, they contacted me again asking me how I earned my rewards. That question worried me. I love FRN and I didn’t want to lose my account! So, I just told them that I earn my rewards from my business spending, which I do a lot of and blog referrals (both true). That answer seemed to please them, because they didn’t ask any more questions and the next email I received [a few days later] said my account had been reinstated!

This was good news, but not all of my rewards were reinstated. In fact, about half of them were (and still are) missing. So, now I’m waiting for their support team to get back to me and hopefully add my missing rewards back to my account. Even if that doesn’t happen, I’m just happy that I have my account back and it wasn’t closed due to my manufactured spending.

Have you had any similar experiences with FRN?

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