Rising gas prices have everyone talking about the best way to save money at the gas pump. One of the most effective methods is to find the right credit card to help you and your family save money on gas. In fact, you can save up to 5% on gasoline and other gas station purchases with credit cards.
If you don’t have one already, here are the top gas credit cards you can use to earn valuable rewards and save.
Best Gas Credit Cards
Costco & American Express True Earnings cardholders receive 3% cash back for gas purchases – up to $4,000 in gas per year, and then the standard 1% cash back after that. The business version of this card returns an astounding 4% up to a $6,000 limit.
Additionally, both versions of the card offer 3% cash back on restaurant purchases, 2% on travel-related expenses, and 1% on everything else. There is no annual fee for this card when cardholders have a paid Costco membership.
See our American Express & Costco True Earnings Credit Card Review for more information.
Chase Freedom cardholders receive 1% cash back anytime the card is used. In addition, cardholders receive 5% cash back for purchases made in rotating bonus categories including gas, groceries, dining, and home improvement.
For example, in the months of January to March, members earn 5% cash back at gas stations, drug stores, and Starbucks stores. July through September, members earn 5% cash back at gas stations, theme parks, and Kohl’s. Members must activate each bonus category online in order to receive the 5% cash back rewards. There is no annual fee for this card.
See our Chase Freedom Credit Card Review for more information.
PenFed is the Pentagon Federal Credit Union; the credit union was originally created to provide financial services for members of the U.S. armed forces and their families. Today, anyone can apply for one of their credit cards. Even if you, your relatives, or members of your household do not work for a military organization, you can still qualify for the PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Visa by making a one-time donation of $15 to a military cause.
The PenFed Visa Platinum Cashback Rewards card offers 5% cash back on gasoline purchases paid at the pump throughout the year. Like the PenFed Promise Card, this product has excellent terms and no annual fee.
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card provides a respectable 3% cash back at the gas pump while offering all of the features and benefits of an American Express card.
Blue Cash Preferred cardholders also receive an outstanding 6% cash back for supermarket purchases charged to the card. One great strategy is to buy gasoline gift cards at the supermarket to essentially get 6% cash back on your gas. There is a $75 annual fee for this card.
The ExxonMobil MasterCard, offered by Citibank, allows cardholders to receive 15 cents per gallon rebates at Exxon and Mobil gas stations. In addition, the card provides 2% cash back on other purchases for the first $10,000 spent each year.
Cardholders also receive a SpeedPass key tag to easily charge gas at the pump. There is no annual fee for this card.
The BP Visa Card is offered by Chase Bank. Cardholders earn 5% rebates for all purchases made at BP gas stations, 2% rebates for travel and dining, and 1% rebates for all other purchases.
During the first 60 days after a new account opens, rebates are doubled. Cardholders can redeem rebates for gift cards, checks, and donations to The Conservation Fund, a nonprofit environmental group. There is no annual fee for this card.
For fuel purchases made at Chevron and Texaco gas stations, the Chevron and Texaco Visa gives cardholders ten cents per gallon, provided in fuel credits.
Cardholders also receive 3% in fuel credits for non-gasoline purchases at Chevron and Texaco, and 1% in fuel credits for all other purchases made using the card. This card has no annual fee.
Citi ThankYou Preferred cardholders receive one ThankYou point for every dollar spent, including at gas stations, drugstores, and supermarkets. In addition, new cardholders receive 15,000 bonus points if they charge $1,000 within the first three months after signing up – good for $150 in gift cards. ThankYou points can be redeemed for gift cards at the rate of one cent for each point. There is no annual fee for this card.
See our Citi ThankYou Preferred Credit Card Review for more information.
Other Considerations for Gas Credit Cards
- Never Pay Interest. Interest rates for rewards cards can be exorbitant. Gas credit cards should be paid in full and on time each month. People who prefer to carry a balance should look for a low APR credit card instead.
- Add Up Your Potential Savings. Depending on your situation, a rewards credit card might offer more ways for you to earn cash back and to save money compared to a gas card. A car that gets 25 miles per gallon and that is driven 10,000 miles a year will only consume $1,600 in gas every year, even at $4.00 a gallon. A 5% discount on those gasoline purchases will only add up to $80 a year. A rewards credit card that is not affiliated with a gas station, on the other hand, offers cardholders the opportunity to earn cash back and rewards for purchases made almost anywhere. Thus, unless you put a lot of miles on your car every year, greater savings may be available from other, non-gas cash back credit cards.
- Choose Gas Stations Close to Work and Home. If you decide to apply for a credit card that’s specific to a particular gas station, make sure that the gas stations are located in areas convenient to your home and to your place of employment. You won’t earn much value if you need to drive a long way to get to a specific gas station or can’t visit it often.
- Ensure that the Discount Is Valid Where Gas Is the Least Expensive. Many gas card offers are only valid at standalone gas stations, which exclude discount pumps at warehouse stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club. Part of the appeal of the Costco True Earnings American Express is that you can use it to buy gas at Costco, which may already have the best prices in your area. Keep this fact in mind if you like to get gas at these places.
- Use Gift Cards to Leverage Cash Back. By buying gift cards for items other than gas from the gas station with your gas credit card, you can obtain significant cash back on non-gas items.
- Check for Limitations. Check the fine print in the terms and conditions to find out if there is a daily or an annual limit on rewards. For example, the True Earnings Card from Costco and American Express 3% cash back program is only valid for annual purchases up to $3,000; after that, cardholders only receive 1% cash back for using the card. If your family purchases more than $3,000 in gasoline annually, you can get a second card in the name of another family member.
- Use Your Gas Card for Non-Gas Purchases. Check the fine print to see if discounts and rebates apply only to gasoline or if they apply to all purchases made at the gas station. If the discount applies to other items, consider using your card at gas stations to purchase food and other items eligible for discounts and rebates. But of course do the math to decide if it’s worthwhile since gas station retail prices are often marked up.
- Consider that Discounts Only Apply to Automotive Gasoline. Nearly every gas credit card excludes gasoline purchases for boats and airplanes. If you’re thinking about signing up for a gas credit card to get cash back for buying gas for your boat or for your plane, read the fine print before you apply.
The higher the price of gas, the more money you will save when you use a credit card that offers competitive rebates for buying gas. Nevertheless, you must be realistic about how much you can save with cash back rewards on gas. Ultimately, minimizing your consumption will always be the best way to reduce your fuel expenditures.
Personally, I prefer to ride my bicycle to work and drive a hybrid car, but those options are not available to everyone. By selecting the best gasoline credit cards, you will still be able to take a small bite out of the high cost of gasoline.
What’s your favorite gas credit card and how much have you saved on your purchases by using it?
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