5 Best Gas Rewards Credit Cards
Updated April 2013
Americans are having a tough time adjusting to the reality of purchasing gasoline at $3.00 a gallon or more. When possible, we’ve bought more efficient cars, moved closer to work, and taken fewer road trips. Nevertheless, gasoline continues to consume a disproportionate amount of our budgets, and we are always looking for a way to save anything we can in this critical area.
How to Pick the Best Gas Card
First, you want to consider the savings you will realize from each card. Some products offer a percentage off your total purchase, while others grant a fixed amount of savings per gallon. Next, think about where you buy gas and which stations in your area have the lowest price. Some cards are specific to a brand, while others allow you to choose most stations except for warehouse stores. Finally, consider the other benefits of each card. Several of the cards on this list offer excellent rates of cash back for purchases beyond gas, while others do not. This is important if you plan on using this card for more than just fuel purchases.
Our Top 5 Gas Rewards Cards
A few years ago, I signed up for a SimplyCash American Express Business card that offered fantastic 5% cash back on all gasoline purchases. Sadly, that deal is no longer offered, but I was able to save a few hundred dollars using that card. These days, a credit card that offers higher rewards for gasoline purchases can still slash your price at the pump by 15 cents a gallon. Here are my top picks.
Visa Platinum Cashback Rewards Card From PenFed
PenFed is the Pentagon Federal Credit Union. While they are not well known, and they are not even a bank, they do offer some of the most consumer friendly products on the market. Their Platinum Cash Rewards card offers 5% cash back on all gasoline purchases. Unfortunately, this card offers a paltry .25% back on other purchases. On the other hand, PenFed has a great reputation for low fees. This card has no annual fee, cash advance fee, foreign transaction fee, or over the limit fees. To apply for this card, you must be a member of the credit union, which is open to current and former members of the military, many government contractors, their relatives, and household members. Even if you do not qualify on this basis, you can do so by making a one-time, $15 donation to a military charity.
TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express
For those familiar with this brand, the word Costco is synonymous with savings. The consumer version of the Costco TrueEarnings card offers 3% cash back on gasoline. Costco limits the higher returns on gasoline to the first $4,000 each year for the consumer card. Other benefits included 2% cash back on travel and at restaurants, along with 1% cash back everywhere else. Strangely, the 1% rate also includes purchases from Costco, an odd feature in a world where extra rewards are typically awarded for purchases from the co-branded merchant. Another odd fact about thing about this card is that the rewards are issued in the form of a voucher each February. You can use your voucher for purchases at Costco stores, or redeem it for cash at their customer service counter. If your account is closed before February, your forfeit all of your rewards. There is no fee for this card with your paid Costco membership.
Here are the latest offer details:
- 3% Cash back at US gas stations and on gasoline at Costco up to $4,000 per year in purchases, then 1%
- 2% cash back at U.S. restaurants; 2% cash back on eligible travel purchases; 1% cash back on other purchases, including at Costco
- Terms and limitations apply; You will receive your cash back annually in the form of a reward coupon
- The Two-In-One Card: it’s an American Express® Card and Costco membership card, with no annual fee for Costco members
- Cardmembership offers benefits which include Purchase Protection* and Extended Warranty* * Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company
- Terms and restrictions apply.
Blue Cash Everyday(R) Card from American Express
Here is a top notch, all around rewards card that happens to offer a competitive 3% reward rate on gasoline purchases (it is also the best credit card for groceries). While there is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, this higher rate does not apply to fuel purchased at superstores and warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club. Other rewards include 6% cash back at supermarkets, 3% cash back at department stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Here are the latest offer details:
- Earn 100 Reward Dollars after you make $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of Cardmembership.
- Get 3% cash back at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets, 2% cash back on gasoline at U.S. stand-alone gas stations and select major department stores; 1% cash back on other purchases.
- The first $6,000 of purchases at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets in a calendar year qualifies for 3% cash back; 1% thereafter.
- Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Cash back is earned only on eligible purchases.
- Simple and Straightforward: With the Blue Cash Everyday Card, you can start earning cash back. No rotating reward categories. No enrollment required.
- No annual fee, 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months. After that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 12.99%-21.99% with flexibility to pay over time.
- Terms and Restrictions Apply.
Citi ExxonMobil Mastercard
Citi and ExxonMobil are two giants of banking and energy, and their ExxonMobil MasterCard offers competitive cash back on both gasoline and other purchases. Cardholders will receive a 15 cent per gallon rebate on Exxon and Mobile purchases at over 10,000 nationwide locations. Essentially, customers receive a larger percentage of cash back when the price of gas goes down, and relatively fewer rewards when the price goes up. Customers will receive another 2% cash back on their first $10,000 of eligible purchases each year, and 1% cash back after that. Cardholders receive a free Speedpass device to make quick purchases, and there is no annual fee for this card.
The Downsides of Gas Cards
Now that you know about all the great deals out there, pause for a second and consider if one of them is really right for you. As with all reward cards, you are not saving any money unless you are paying each statement in full and on time. To do otherwise ensures that you will owe more in interest that you ever earn in cash back. Also remember that you are not saving much money if you have to pay a higher initial price or drive further to take advantage of credit card rewards. Finally, consider how much money your household can save with one of these cards over the course of the year. That amount has to easily exceed the cost of any annual fees, or the point is moot.