Everything You Need To Know About Those Safeway Monopoly Games (2018)

I’ll try to hold back the fact that Safeway owns Albertsons as a monopoly joke. We’re talking about the real (and very tempting) monopoly games these grocery giants host every year!

(McDonald’s hosts this annually as well. Don’t forget that food giant!)

The monopoly prizes vary between cash, gift cards, cars, spas, houses and more. All the total prize and money-saving offers total over $250,000,000.00! These monopoly games must be very lucrative for the “house” since they’re doing pretty darn good business even after hosting these $250 million dollar giveaways!

$250 million smack-a-roos. It sounds too good to be true…

Found this article helpful? Check out our sister blog that has all topics related to making extra money and working from home.

Are They Scams?

Short answer: No! But scammy varies by your definition.

As some may know, our Sam’s Club closed their doors last month. We are back shopping at our nearby Safeway for the time being. It’s a bit of a shopping shock – not buying everything in 5-pound packages like I’ve been doing for the past 2 years.

Bigger surprise! The monopoly games are back for the 2018 year!

I remember my husband and I playing the monopoly game 2 years ago since we shopped at Safeway. I told him I didn’t want to get too obsessed even though they are quite fun. We didn’t want to get too into it for (realistically) a shot at a $25 gift card. The last thing I wanted was to get addicted and spend money on purchases I didn’t need.

Related: 21 Frugal Pantry Staples List On A Limited Budget

We went about our regular shopping and ended up with about 50 or 80 tickets in grocery rewards in the span of 2 months. We open the monopoly game tickets while watching Netflix after dinner. It was like retirement home bingo nights except we were newlyweds.

My thinking was this: if we win, awesome. If we didn’t win, oh well. I didn’t go out of my way to get these tickets.

And that is the right mentality you should have for these monopoly games! Our half-baked attempt never won anything worth a separate trip to the store. Monopoly was good and exciting for the mild rush. Especially if we were going to need groceries, this was just the sprinkles on top.

Thinking back now, we had the right mentality but we definitely could have strategized better. There was one key thing we didn’t look into…

Here is what I’ve learned about these games (in Q&A form):

Should I Play Shop, Play, Win Monopoly?

Do you regularly shop for groceries at a participating store like Safeway, Albertson, Carr’s or Vons etc.?

Will you be offered monopoly tickets at check out either way?

If you answered YES to both questions then YES! You should play. The monopoly 2018 game runs from February 7th to May 8th, 2018.

Related: How We Save On Groceries (Lessons After 6 Months Of Receipts!)

How Do I Play?

First, pick up a Monopoly game board at your local Safeway/Albertson/participating grocer. Buy qualifying and bonus ticket items each item purchased. Inside game tickets are numbered markers to match up on the Monopoly board. Collect the correct markers and win corresponding prizes. There is also an android app available to scan and match pieces to boards electronically. You have to keep the physical ticket pieces to claim a prize so don’t throw anything away even with the android app. There is no Apple app available yet.

Why Should I Play?

On the monopoly game board, there will be smaller prizes that need 4 ticket pieces to win and the amount goes up to 8 pieces for the grandest of all prizes.

Sounds annoying and impossible, huh?

Well, actually Monopoly is sort of an “all or nothing” game despite the fact that you need multiple pieces to win.

I mean “all or nothing” because not all game pieces of those game tickets are created equal.

A few of the ticket pieces are extremely rare. Naturally, the more lucrative the prize means the rarer the tickets.

And I mean rare as in…

The monopoly grand prize of $1,000,000 cash will only have 2 possible winners in this huge, vast, beautiful nation we call America.

That means they were only print two pieces of the rarest winning game ticket. Worst yet, it doesn’t mean those winning pieces IS even in active circulation.

How many grocery stores are in operation in this country? How many million, billion tickets are in circulation? For one little winning quarter of a ticket, paired with 7 other common and semi-rare tickets that you will also need. The vast majority of tickets will be filled with common game pieces.

Related: That Time We Hit $1,000,000 For Reals

Some tickets are never claimed or worst yet some tickets are lost, forgotten, or trashed before even opening!

That’s why I think EVERYBODY should CASUALLY play UNTIL if luck has it, they happen to land a rare ticket.

Don’t go crazy before then.

Do not lose a ticket or have it go to waste unopened. It’s NOT worth going crazy unless you land one of the rare tickets.

The rare ticket is easy to figure out, it’s whatever one’s shows up the least!

2018 Rare Pieces List:

110BB, 116BH*
181TA*, 182TB
189VD, 190VE
193WC, 194WD
199XD, 200XE*
203YB, 206YE
207ZA, 209ZC

“Woah, I’m Just One Ticket Away!”

Tell me about it stud…


The real objective is to locate and find a rare ticket. It’s not to piece every little ticket together and go “ooh, I only need one more.”

Each prize has 1 or 2 rarer tickets. If you end up with a ticket classified as rare then that should boost your chances of winning a lot since the rest of the tickets are much more common.

I saw this couple spent $120 on groceries trying to load up on monopoly game tickets. That was their 2nd trip back to their truck. They had another trip in the works. I never saw so many cartons of milk in a check out before. You gotta hustle those bonus tickets, I guess.

Needless to say, that couple was super addicted.

I hope they knew that even if they were “1 ticket away” from the grand prize does not mean they’re much closer to the grand prize.

The ultra-rare ticket they need could be all the way across the Mississippi river, stuck to the bottom of a Breyers ice cream carton, and never claimed.

I Found a Couple of “Rare” Tickets? What Now?

Each prize has 1 rare ticket and 1 semi-rare ticket. You need both. If you find a rare ticket then sweet! From there you can do a cost analysis on the prize and see if it’s something you want to go all in on. If the prize is, say, $20,000 cash then I recommend concentrating on the volume of tickets you need.

REMEMBER: Any monopoly ticket you can purchase for under or around $0.50 cents is a fair price. Put that into your cost analysis before you go all in to play.

Related: Why The Rich Are Frugal Even When They Don’t Have To Be

My Ticket is Not Totally Worth It…

Sometimes, the prize might not be worth clearing off your grocer’s shelves. If you don’t want to play – but find 1 out of the 2 rare tickets and don’t want the potential prize, you can hustle it on Craigslist or eBay.

The ticket might not be worthless. Your magical piece might be the one someone else needs and they could make it worth your while.

Some rarer tickets could go up to thousands of dollars on eBay.

(I would consult the fine prints of the Monopoly game agreement first but there are lots of sellers on eBay doing it right now.)

How Do I Get Lots of Tickets?!

For every purchase (there is NO minimum spend) you will get 1 monopoly ticket.

In the monopoly game rules, they require a 3-hour cooling window for the first monopoly ticket with any purchase so don’t think you can go through checkout a million times in succession with 5 cents worth of carrots to keep getting the free monopoly ticket

If the item you checked out qualifies for a bonus ticket (and I strongly encourage you to locate the CHEAPEST item that will spit out bonus tickets) then you will get 2 tickets. 1 ticket for any purchase, 1 ticket for the bonus ticket item.

Example: A cup of yogurt is on sale for 88 cents in my local Safeway and it comes with a bonus ticket included. That means for $0.88 cents, I can drop by and get 2 monopoly tickets in one Safeway trip. That means those monopoly tickets cost me $0.44 cents each. A monopoly ticket will go for around $0.65 each on eBay.

And yes, every time you go into the store, there’s a possibility of you picking up something you weren’t going to before. The House always wins, don’t ya know? So keep your wallets closed.

Related: How We Saved An Extra $640 And Didn’t Even Know It!

You can mail in a request form for 2 free monopoly tickets but with postage stamp costs, it might not be worth it depending on what shopping strategies you employ.

Clever Girl…

Out of 8 tickets, 1 of them gave me a free donut. That makes everything OK because I love donuts.

The at marketing department must have hired a bunch of behavioral psychologists working this out and setting it up. They really want you addicted to this game! Not only can you technically not “lose” until the very, very end when all drawings are up. Besides the possible $1 million prize drawing, discounts, and pointless Fandango there is a percentage of insta-win tickets out there for the instant gratificationers!

Related: Top Reasons Why Some People Don’t Save Money

The insta-wins tickets are prizes you can claim right then and there. Instawins can include prizes like 2 free monopoly tickets, $0.50 cents off dryer sheets, or claim a “free donut or bagel of your choice” etc.

Not a Winner? Use The Online Codes!

No tickets are complete “losers.” All monopoly tickets have a chance to nab small prizes besides the four squares of tickets that are included. But these Insta-win rewards are much smaller and less lucrative than the $500,000 vacation home or dream truck for example.

Most of the tickets contain an online code which requires you to log onto ShopPlayWin.com to enter them. About half the code will spit out nothing. But even the non-winning codes aren’t losers. If not a single $1,000,000 million dollar cash prize (out of 2 possible wins) is claimed by May 8th, all the codes submitted online will automatically enter into a drawing for $1,000,000 million dollars.

Some online codes (in my experience, barely half) will give you consolation prizes like Fandango points or a code to take $10 off Safeway flower delivery etc. These are consolations. The Fandango rewards are a stretch. You need to collect 30 Fandango points to get $5 off theater tickets. An adult fare for movie tickets cost over $15 per head, which means you have to collect 90 Fandango points in total to get a simple theater ticket.

Extra Tips

Joe (Retire By 40) bought up some excellent tips that I totally missed.

1. Remember to be a nice customer and show kindness, patience, and respect to your cashier. Always! Not for extra monopoly tickets but as a nice thing to do in general. Plus, not being a jerk will increase chances of them giving you extra tickets too.

2. If the person ahead of you during check out do not want their tickets then you can ask them to give them to you. For shybugs like me, I’ve always considered asking because those tickets would just go to waste otherwise but never did. I’m too shy, next time I’ll ask. Since most people don’t play and it’s free since they don’t want it.

3. Lastly, during the end rounds of the game, the stores will usually have a surplus of tickets (since most people don’t play) and that will be when they’re generous with them.

4. Do not tape down the game pieces since removing the tape might damage the pieces. It’s best to keep them in a small zip lock bag. -Elise (commenter)


You should CASUALLY play the monopoly game for groceries you need.

It’s not a scam per se.

It’s just highly improbable. The actual chances are rarer than having a winning Powerball lotto ticket. Having 7 out of 8 of the necessary monopoly ticket pieces doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a surefire way of winning if you didn’t luck out with the rarest piece in the first place.

You’ll just end up with tons of duplicates of ticket pieces, make a mess and feel sad.

The Safeway monopoly game is very improbable until it’s very probable.

Besides that…remember to have fun!!! It really is a lot of fun. Everybody should play in moderation. The more tickets opened and noted the higher chance the ticket will be active in circulation and someone will find that rare piece.

Teamwork across America, right?

Anyway – I don’t think winning is easy but I welcome these annual monopoly gigs because it adds a little spice to our grocery shopping.

Be smart about it and not caught up. Only freak out when you have a rare ticket, otherwise, don’t get your hopes up or throw your finances out the window. Life is more than these monopoly games. Definitely do not get monopoly near your credit cards either!

Related: How We Lived On Less Than $300 This Month

Updated 2018 Results

As of May 05 in Seattle, they have stopped giving out monopoly tickets. They upped the amount of those tickets towards the closing days when they’re clearing inventory – that is why people (like me) got like 65 tickets for a grocery purchase of just $14. They’re just trying to clean house. and giving away oodles of tickets. In the end, all the prizes worth redeeming, we won…..

*drumroll please*

*3x $5 cash prize

*13 cans of tomato sauce

*7 packets of gravy

*3 free donuts

*1 bottled water

*2 aspirin bottles

*1 pack of 4 AA batteries

*2 fresh baked french bread

*1 pack of sour cream

*And no million dollars ;(

There’s always next year!!! 🙂

Prizes can be redeemed by May 29, 2018.

Although I wouldn’t wait until the last minute. Substitutes for items out stock are possible. For the two bottles of aspirin we purchased, we were able to switch them up for name brand Tylenol instead of the Safeway Signature brand.


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60 thoughts on “Everything You Need To Know About Those Safeway Monopoly Games (2018)”

  • This reminds me of the Mcdonald monopoly pieces. As a kid, I liked to go to MCD whenever they had it, so they definitely knew what they were doing. As an adult, I’m like, ehh. Sounds like fun though :).

    This reminds me of the time I spent 3 hours filling out index cards and putting them in envelopes for something like $600. Eventually a game will pop up with a guaranteed win. I usually comment about someone getting fired from those games since they clearly haven’t met the arb group.
    Olivia @ Birds of a FIRE recently posted…Alcohol Consumption will cost you 3 years of early retirement

  • We do this every year for fun as a complete joke because we know it’s never gonna happen but we always take the tickets for our regular casual shopping at Safeway. This was an incredibly in-depth confirmation of our assumptions. 🙂

    We’d settle for a couple good instant wins but honestly, we haven’t ever even gotten those!
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life recently posted…Happy Lunar New Year!

  • Lucky my east coast grocery stores offer better ways to save and get deals. We get free gas (got 25 gallons yesterday), free weekly grocery items (this week was a half gallon of almond milk), online coupons and double coupons for paper ones! Of course, we also have Aldi, Lidl and Trader Joe’s for our shopping
    pleasure! 😁 There is a Safeway in a nearby town, but why anyone shops there is beyond me. We live in a grocery wonderland. I doubt Monopoly is much of a draw here. Your analysis was interesting, though.😉

    • There is NO Aldi or Lidl anywhere near us in the PNW. There is one Trader Joes but it’s super small and full of people. I’ll even try Piggly Wiggly’s!

  • Oh wow, they sell those rare tickets on eBay and Craigslist!? That’s nuts, must be some real monopoly addicts out there to buy it.
    I played it one year when I used shop at Safeway a lot. We were one those ‘one ticket away’ people and kind of frustrated that we never got it. We concluded the same as you that it was almost an impossible ticket to get. From that point on whenever we got a bunch of tickets, it would be for fun and only hope for a free item on one of those tickets.
    Kris recently posted…Book Review: The Slight Edge

    • Yes they do! Anything for a few extra bucks (or hundreds of bucks depending on the prize). We open them and hope to get a rare ticket type. If not then whatever, not much time wasted since we didn’t have to put it altogether.

    • I remember on the news one station ask the store if anyone actually wins any prizes more than $20 and they did procure a couple who won $5k recently. Not sure if they were real or paid actors though haha!

    • McDonald’s does them too. It seems to subconsciously encourage sales. The big prizes are unlikely but at least there’s a possibility. Day dream time!

  • I enjoy the Monopoly game, and since we live in the city where Albertsons was started, participation is nearly obligatory. I don’t think we ever go out of our way to shop at Albertsons more just because they’re running a silly promotion though. It’s also entertaining to talk to my retired Dad about playing and we “compete” to see who can win the most trivial prize. His free container of cottage cheese is still the benchmark…

    • Hahaha John that’s hilarious! Not sure if it changes anything but I when I won $5 the pieces were all on one single ticket. I think they were too lazy about the small $ prizes that they didn’t even bother scattering them. Your chances of beating your dad’s cottage cheese are fair.

  • My 13 year old grandson and I have been playing the monopoly game for the last few times. Never won anything but food items. The last time we played it was a super bonding experience. We took all of our free food item tickets to the grocery store. The bill was around $100.00 in free groceries. When we finished we donated the groceries to a senior on a fixed income. It was very rewarding and taught my grandson to learn how to give to others. Plus it was quite a thrill watching the grocery bill go from $100.00 to zero. What a fun experience it was. We are sure looking forward to this next grocery shopping and hope to go over the $100.00 mark and make one more senior happy. It really puts smiles on a face of a person that can’t afford these items. Well, one last thing, my grandson did win 13 donuts, kept just them and shared with his brothers and sisters. Even though there are 9 people in their family my daughter and son in law buys in bulk so the little items like these would never feed their whole family. A rewarding experience. We have friends and family collecting tickets for us to try to beat that $100.00 mark.

    • That’s AMAZING Jody! That’s a really smart, selfless idea. I would love to put a snippet of your comment and attach it to the main post if it’s alright with you!

      • No problem Lily. We don’t expect to win anything. But just so excited getting those free items to help someone in need.

  • I won $5,000 this year playing the employee game. Couldn’t believe it! You have to send everything in to a claim center and have it verified if the prize is over $200. Ours has been ok’ed so we are just waiting on a call from the store to get our check. 🙌🏻

      • 😂 I guess it was finally our time. We have been playing for around 8 years now and this is our first good win. We won $5 last year and we were excited for that lol. Right after we got back from claiming the $5k my daughter was convinced she was going to finish putting on the stickers so she could win something. Low and behold- we won another $10. She was thrilled so of course we let her have that money. Both times all four stickers we needed to win were in the same ticket.

        • Oh wow 8 years of playing?! I didn’t know it’s been around that much! We got $5 and it was all on the same ticket. I guess with smaller amounts, they just assemble it that way. Interesting.

  • Just sell your tickets on eBay! It’s pretty much the only way you will actually make a profit. I’m gonna sell them for 20 dollars or so to get some silver!

  • I think the least time consuming way to play is this… Simply print out the list of rare and semi-rare tickets, and then check each game piece against it. Tearing apart each game piece, finding it’s place on the board and and sticking each of them on takes FOREVER. I did that the first year! Major time sucker!!! Now I just check the list to see if I have a rare piece, and if I ever do – I’ll look through my other pieces to find the other three or seven needed.

  • In case any one has a rare piece and not the others and want to split a prize, I’m here. Here’s what I need.
    108AH for $1,000,000
    181TA and 182TB for $100k/luxury car
    179SC for $5k
    173RA for $5k groceries
    164OD for $1k
    159NC for $1k groceries

  • So, i’ve scanned about 300 QR codes over the last 2 weeks. Did not get a single fuel / gas rewards hit. I’ve come to realize the following. The 16 digit “code” you get when you open a ticket is NOT directly associated with a predetermined prize. When you enter the 16 digit code or scan the barcode, it generates a prize based off odds and what is still available in the general pool. Not to say its rigged for or against the consumer, but its not what it appears. There is still control over the prizes getting metered out over the course of the game.

  • I’ll admit that I’m addicted to Monopoly. I’m smart about how I play, though. I spend a bit of extra time playing the game and figuring out what to buy. I don’t really spend extra money on the items, though. At my store, I can often get bonus game pieces on many of the things I was going to buy anyway. I just have to buy a certain brand. I’m not sure if it was just luck, but usually the brand that earned a bonus piece was a cheaper brand, or if not, apps like Ibotta made it worth it to buy the more expensive brand. Friends would also give me their pieces because they knew how much I like to play. I collected a huge number of pieces like that and organized everything into a binder that I kept under my bed. Well, about halfway through Monopoly this year, the house that my apartment was in burned down. Because that binder was under my bed and all the pieces were in trading card sleeves, everything survived. I WAS SO STOKED! I had all the pieces for several of the low value grocery gift cards, about 50 free items to keep me and my fiancé fed and give us other basics like aspirin and tissues, and coupons to save us money on all sorts of other things, especially combined with apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51. We live in an area where $5 off of movie tickets made it so we could see a movie to keep our spirits up for only a few dollars, so all those Fandango tokens were really exciting. And thanks to the Shutterfly coupons, I was able to reprint a few photo albums that had been lost, make a pile of magnets, and order a bunch of the reusable shopping bags with pictures of loved ones and happy memories to organize what was left of our belongings in. Plus, because the Monopoly receipts are quite a bit longer than they usually are, all of the coupons that I’d clipped off of the back of them helped with quite a few other things. After losing almost everything, even though it wasn’t much, it was a little bit of hope, a little happiness, a little comfort, a little something to cling to, and a little something to restart life with…which is everything to us right now.

    • Aww Trish that’s so sweet. I’m glad you like Monopoly so much and it means so much to you. You two will be just fine, I’m glad no one was hurt in the fire. Material things can be replaced. I love Ibotta too by the way! Do you use receipt scanning apps like Receipt Hog and Receipt Pal? They pay out in Amazon gift card but it takes a bit longer to get $5 (each receipt is like 1-2 pennies I think.)

  • What I’m unable to determine, when is the drawing for Fandango and Universal? It had said the ticket would be required should it be drawn, how long is it necessary to hold the 1,347,862 Fandango tickets before tossing! 😉

  • What is the last day you can turn in peices and claim a prize? I unfortunatley still have game pieces I haven’t opened and I see the game ended May 8th but when is the last day to turn them in? Thanks

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