When choosing a credit card for buying gasoline, it is important to not just consider brand-specific cards, but also general credit cards that provide rewards on other purchases. By doing so, you can get the most bang for your buck. Of course, depending on your situation, a brand-specific card may be your best option – especially if you regularly purchase gas from a qualifying gas station that offers stellar rewards.
Here is a selection of the credit cards that provide the best return on your spending, both brand-specific and general rewards cards.
Best Gas Credit Cards
3% Cash Back on Gasoline Purchases; 2% Cash Back at Restaurants and on Travel; 1% Everywhere Else
A little-known advantage of the TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express (a Money Crashers partner) is that it rewards you for buying gasoline: You are able to earn 3% cash back for your gas purchases, making this card one of the best gas cards available. You are also able to earn cash back on other purchases, which adds to its attractiveness.
- Sign-up Bonus. There is no sign-up bonus.
- Fees. There is no annual fee for the card – you just need to maintain a Costco membership, which is available for as little as $55 per year. The foreign transaction fee is 2.7%, and the balance transfer fee is $5 or 4%, whichever is greater.
- APR. There is an introductory APR of 0% on purchases for the first 6 months. The balance transfer APR and the APR on purchases after the introductory offer is 15.24%, depending on the prime rate.
- Gasoline Rewards. The TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express awards 3% cash back for up to $4,000 in gas per year, plus 2% cash back at restaurants, 2% cash back on travel-related expenses, and 1% on everything else. The cap applies only to the gasoline category – you are able to earn unlimited cash back in the 2% and 1% categories. If you are a business owner, the Costco membership costs the same as an individual membership, but the business version of the TrueEarnings Card provides 4% cash back on gasoline purchases for up to $7,000 per year. You receive your cash back in the form of a coupon that can be redeemed for cash or merchandise by August 31st of the year it is issued, at any United States-based Costco (including Puerto Rico).
- Extras. Many rewards cards specifically omit warehouse stores such as Costco from bonus categories, so if you regularly fill up at Costco gas stations, you should consider this card. Also, you are able to earn gasoline rewards all year with the TrueEarnings card, rather than just quarterly as with many other rewards cards.
See our American Express Costco TrueEarnings Card Review for more information.
6% Cash Back at Supermarkets; 3% Cash Back at Gas Stations and Department Stores; 1% Cash Back Everywhere Else
American Express Blue Cash Preferred (a Money Crashers partner) is one of the only cards included in this list that carries an annual fee, but you can earn 3% cash back on gas purchases all year, without any limits or caps. If you spend up to $6,000 per year in supermarket purchases, you will find that the rewards more than make up for the annual fee, which is only slightly higher than a Costco membership.
- Sign-up Bonus. You receive a bonus of 150 Reward Dollars when you spend at least $1,000 with your card within the first 3 months of membership. These Reward Dollars can be redeemed for a $150 statement credit.
- Fees. The annual fee for the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card is $75. The foreign transaction fee is 2.7%, and the balance transfer fee is $5 or 3%, whichever is greater.
- APR. The introductory APR is 0% for the first 15 months on purchases and on balance transfers requested in the first 30 days of account opening. After that, the APR increases to between 12.99% and 21.99% depending on your creditworthiness and the prime rate.
- Gasoline Rewards. With the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card, you earn your rewards in the form of Reward Dollars (with one Reward Dollar being equal to one U.S. dollar) at 6% cash back for U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases), 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and U.S. department stores, and 1% everywhere else, with no limits in the 3% and 1% categories. Reward Dollars can be redeemed at a minimum of 25, at any time. Superstores and warehouse clubs are not considered gas stations or supermarkets, and are ineligible for the extra rewards.
- Extras. You also receive exclusive access to ticket pre-sales to Broadway shows, concerts, family and sporting events, and events only available to cardmembers.
5% Cash Back in Rotating Categories (Including Gas); 1% Cash Back on All Other Purchases
The Chase Freedom Card is a credit card that awards purchases in rotating quarterly categories, with gasoline showing up as a category at least one quarter per year. Although gasoline purchases might only earn bonus cash back for 3 months, it is offered at a rate of 5%, higher than other gasoline cards with annual limits.
- Sign-up Bonus. The Chase Freedom card awards a bonus of $100 cash back when you spend at least $500 in purchases during the first 3 months of opening the account.
- Fees. There is no annual fee for the Chase Freedom credit card. The foreign transaction fee is 3%, and the balance transfer fee is $5 or 3%, whichever is greater.
- APR. The APR is 0% on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months of account opening. After that, the APR goes up to between 13.99% and 22.99% depending on your creditworthiness and the prime rate.
- Gasoline Rewards. You are able to earn 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories that you sign up for every 3 months and unlimited 1% cash back everywhere else. In 2014, gasoline purchases are included in two categories (January to March and July to September). The cap on rotating categories is $1,500, allowing you to earn $75 cash back from your gas purchases in that quarter from gasoline merchants. However, not all gas purchases qualify. Examples of merchants that may not qualify are truck stops, boat marinas, and home heating companies. Membership warehouses and discount stores also do not qualify as gasoline merchants. You can redeem your cash back once you have at least $20 for a statement credit, direct deposit, or paper check.
- Extras. Other rotating categories include home improvement, drug stores, restaurants, department stores (excluding membership warehouses and discount stores), and entertainment.
See our Chase Freedom Card Review for more information.
4. Discover it
5% Cash Back in Quarterly Categories (Including Gas); 1% Cash Back on All Other Purchases
Because of its minimal fees and high cash back opportunities, the Discover it card is a great gasoline rewards credit card, as well as one of the best cash back cards overall. It also allows you to earn cash back on gasoline in quarterly rotating categories, as well as on other purchases at different times of the year.
- Sign-up Bonus. There is no sign-up bonus.
- Fees. There is no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. There is also no late fee on the first late payment. The balance transfer fee is 3% of the transfer.
- APR. The APR is 0% on purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months of account opening. The standard APR is 10.99% to 22.99% depending on your creditworthiness and the prime rate.
- Gasoline Rewards. Similar to the Chase Freedom card, the Discover it awards cash back based on quarterly rotating categories that you enroll in each quarter – gasoline purchases are one of the rotating categories (typically in the summer quarter of July through September). These purchases earn 5% cash back and generally have a cap of $1,500 in purchases per quarter. The card also awards 1% cash back on all purchases outside of rotating categories. Cash back can be redeemed in increments of $50 for a statement credit or direct deposit into your bank account. Gasoline purchases that qualify are those made with retailers whose merchant codes are specifically gasoline merchants (i.e., gas stations). Stores and wholesale clubs are not gasoline merchants.
- Extras. Other categories include online and holiday shopping, home improvement, restaurants, movies, and summer activities.
See our Discover it Card Review for more information.
3% Cash Back on Gasoline Purchases; 2% at Grocery Stores; 1% on All Other Purchases
The BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card rewards for gasoline and grocery store purchases. However, unlike other gasoline rewards credit cards, the cash back you earn from gas purchases receives an additional bonus if you have a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch Cash Management account.
- Sign-up Bonus. The BankAmericard Cash Rewards card awards a bonus of $100 cash back when you spend at least $500 with your card within the first 90 days of opening your account.
- Fees. The BankAmericard Cash Rewards card has no annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 3%, and the balance transfer fee is $10 or 3% , whichever is greater.
- APR. There is an introductory APR of 0% on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months. After that, the APR is 12.99% to 22.99% depending on your creditworthiness and the prime rate.
- Gasoline Rewards. You earn 3% cash back on gasoline purchases, 2% on grocery store purchases (not including discount stores or wholesale clubs), and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The cap on gasoline and grocery store purchases is set at $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter – after that, all purchases earn 1%. This means that if you only use your card for gasoline purchases, you could earn $45 per quarter back on gas. Your rewards can be redeemed for a statement credit in $25 increments, or a direct deposit into a Bank of America checking or savings account.
- Extras. If you have an account with Bank of America or Merrill Lynch Cash Management, you receive a 10% bonus when you redeem directly into your account. This would boost the $45 earned from gasoline purchases to almost $50.
Unlimited 3 HHonors Points on Gasoline Purchases
The Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature credit card rewards for more than just Hilton Hotel purchases – you are also able to earn three points per dollar spent on gasoline. If you travel frequently, you should find that the Hilton HHonors Visa Signature card is one of the best cards for covering all of your needs, from hotels, to groceries, to gasoline.
- Sign-up Bonus. The Citi Hilton HHonors Visa awards you 40,000 HHonors bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 4 months of account opening, which is enough for eight nights at a category 1 property.
- Fees. There is no annual fee for the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa. The balance transfer fee is $5 or 3%, whichever is greater. The foreign transaction fee is 3%.
- APR. The APR on balance transfers and purchases for the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature card is 14.24%, which is based on your credit score and variations in the prime rate.
- Gasoline Rewards. For gasoline purchases, you earn 3 HHonors points per dollar spent, with no limit. Unlike cards that reward gasoline purchases with statement credits or cash back, the Hilton HHonors card rewards your purchases with points that can be redeemed for valuable stays at Hilton Hotel properties. Purchases made at warehouse clubs, discount stores, or convenience stores do not qualify for the gasoline category. You also earn 6 HHonors points per dollar spent on hotel stays within the Hilton HHonors portfolio, 3 HHonors points per dollar spent at supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations, and 2 HHonors points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Extras. You can apply HHonors points toward elite membership statuses, which include perks and benefits such as free hotel upgrades, personalized amenities, and late check-out.
See our Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card Review for more information.
Unlimited 5% Cash Back on Gasoline Purchases
The Pentagon Federal Credit Union offers various credit cards and financial services to U.S. armed forces service members and their families. However, you do not have to be a service member to qualify for the Cash Rewards Plus card. Instead, you can join the National Military Families Association or Voices for America’s Troops with a small one-time donation of $20 or $15, respectively, which makes you eligible for PenFed membership.
- Sign-up Bonus. There is no sign-up bonus.
- Fees. There is no annual fee. The balance transfer fee is 3%, with a minimum of $10. There is no foreign transaction fee.
- APR. The APR is 9.99% for purchases, and varies with the prime rate. There is a 0% promotional APR for 18 months on balance transfers made between December 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014.
- Gasoline Rewards. In order to qualify for the Plus card and avoid an annual fee, you must enroll in one of PenFed’s financial service products, such as a checking account or money market certificate. This enables you to earn an unlimited 5% cash back on gasoline purchases. The rewards are automatically posted to your account as statement credit. It should be noted that fuel bought at a wholesale club does not qualify as a gasoline purchase, as the merchant code generally does not show as a gas station.
- Extras. The PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Plus card does not include any extra perks, but considering that no other card can compete with the gas rewards offered, extra perks are not necessary for it to qualify as one of the best gas credit cards available.
Promotional 25 Cents Off Per Gallon Up to 20 Gallons; 15 Cents Off for Each $100 Spent at BP; 5 Cents Off for Each $100 Spent on All Other Purchases
Chase offers the BP Visa With Pump Rewards credit card for those who frequent BP gas stations. The card provides a sign-up bonus of 25 cents per gallon, and then 15 cents off each gallon for every $100 in purchases made at BP after the promotional period. There is also a BP Card With Pump Rewards that offers fewer benefits and can only be used at BP stations. If you are denied the BP Visa With Pump Rewards credit card, you will automatically be considered for the store card version.
- Sign-up Bonus. As a new cardholder, you are awarded a bonus of 25 cents per gallon for each $100 in purchases (excluding purchases at non-BP gas stations) made within the first 60 days of opening your account. As an example, if you spend $1,000 in purchases with your credit card during the first 60 days, you will earn ten 25-cent-per-gallon rebates which can be used for up to 20 gallons, making the sign-up bonus worth approximately $50 (.25 x 10 per gallon rebates = 2.50 x 20 gallon max = $50)
- Fees. There is no annual fee for the BP Visa With Pump Rewards credit card. The balance transfer fee is 3% or $5, whichever is greater. The foreign transaction fee is 3%.
- APR. The APR for the BP Visa With Pump Rewards is 20.24% and varies with the prime rate.
- Gasoline Rewards. The BP Visa With Pump Rewards credit card awards “per gallon rebates.” After the 60-day bonus period, you earn 15 cents per gallon rebates for each $100 spent with the card at BP, and 5 cents per gallon rebates for each $100 spent on other purchases, excluding non-BP gas stations. For instance, if you spend $100 at BP gas stations and $500 on other purchases, you would earn one rebate of 15 cents per gallon for the BP purchases, and five rebates of 5 cents per gallon on the other purchases, for a total rebate of 40 cents off per gallon. There are no caps on the amount that can be earned, but rebates can only be used on one fill-up and up to 20 gallons. Rebates also expire 12 calendar months after the month they are earned. You are not able to reduce the price per gallon to zero – it can only be reduced to a minimum of 10.9 cents per gallon. The rebates can be redeemed directly from the pump with your card, or you can redeem as a statement credit at $15 for each $1 in cents per gallon rebates earned.
- Extras. There are no additional benefits outside of the gas rebates.
6 Cents Per Gallon on Exxon or Mobil Fuel Purchases; 10% Cash Back at Hotels; 5% Cash Back on Airline Travel
If you commonly use a specific brand gas station, you may earn more using the branded card for your gasoline purchases rather than a general rewards card. The Citi ExxonMobil Preferred Smart Card charges a small annual fee, but is one of the best gasoline cards because of the outstanding rewards you can also earn on travel, including hotel stays, airline tickets, and car rentals.
- Sign-up Bonus. There is no sign-up bonus.
- Fees. The annual fee for the Citi ExxonMobil Preferred Smart Card is $29. Neither balance transfers nor foreign transactions are permitted with this card.
- APR. The APR for purchases is 24.99%.
- Gasoline Rewards. You earn 6 cents per gallon on Exxon or Mobil branded fuel purchases when you purchase at least 45 gallons in a month, with a monthly cap of 100 gallons. These funds are credited back to your account. In addition to the discount on gasoline purchases, you also earn 10% cash back at popular hotels and motels such as Ramada, Holiday Inn, and Hilton; 5% cash back on airline travel and cruises booked through ExxonMobil Preferred Smart Card Travel Agency; 5% cash when you travel on United, American, and other U.S. airlines; and 5% cash back on car rentals.
- Extras. Travel agency services are available 24/7 with ExxonMobil Preferred Smart Card Travel Agency. You also save on movie tickets and theme parks and are eligible to receive dining certificates for up to 60% discounts.
10 or 20 Cents Per Gallon in Fuel Credits Depending on Total Purchases With the Card
The Chevron and Texaco Visa is a great gas credit card if you frequently fill up at either brand of gasoline station and would like your rewards to be applied toward gas purchases. This is a gas credit card without a complicated rewards program – you simply need to use your card in order to earn fuel credits and savings on your gasoline.
- Sign-up Bonus. For each qualifying fuel purchase in the first 60 days of opening your account, you accrue 10 cents per gallon as a fuel credit. For the promotional period, qualifying purchases are fuel purchases made with your card at participating Chevron or Texaco branded retail locations in the United States. You are able to earn a maximum of $300 within your 60-day promotional period.
- Fees. There is no annual fee for the Chevron and Texaco Visa. The foreign transaction fee is 3%.
- APR. The APR for purchases is 26.99%.
- Gasoline Rewards. The fuel credit program extends beyond the sign-up bonus period, but you must meet eligible spending thresholds in subsequent billing periods to continue earning credits. If you spend more than $300 in a billing period on eligible purchases, you accrue a credit of 10 cents per gallon of Chevron or Texaco fuel purchased in that billing period. Eligible purchases exclude those made at Chevron or Texaco branded merchants and purchases at other fuel merchants. If you spend more than $1,000 in eligible purchases, you earn 20 cents per gallon in credits. A maximum of $300 in total fuel credits are allowed in a calendar year, which includes the fuel credits earned during the promotional period. Fuel credits appear on the following monthly statement and can be applied as a statement credit to future fuel purchases made with the credit card.
- Extras. There are no extra benefits. This card is primarily used for earning fuel credits that can be used toward future gasoline purchases.
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 TrueEarnings 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 TrueEarnings 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.
When choosing a gas credit card, it’s important to consider the distance of the gas stations from your job or home, and whether a credit card that rewards you for other types of purchases would be more beneficial according to your spending habits. It is also important to choose a card that rewards you for purchases at gas stations that you frequent, but also consistently offer the lowest prices.
Remember, as with many rewards credit cards, gas cards carry higher APRs than credit cards without rewards programs. In order to fully maximize your earning potential, it is important that you pay your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges.
What is your favorite gas credit card?