Credit cards that provide cash rewards for gas are some of the most popular on the market. Almost everyone who drives a car buys gas, so a good gas credit card can be very useful, in part to help offset high gas prices.Some gas reward cards have annual fees, while others do not. Many of them offer rewards in two different bonus categories, and come with at least some basic benefits.
For example, with the ExxonMobil Smart Card, you can get 6 cents off each gallon of Synergy™ gasoline at Exxon and Mobil stations and earn two Plenti points per gallon of Synergy gasoline you purchase with the card.
“Using a card like this can also help you track your fuel expenses separately, making it easier to budget,” says David Bakke, credit expert at Money Crashers.
You can usually apply for a gas credit card at the gas station or online. With some cards, you may be able to choose a billing date that works for you.
Gas cards fall into one of three buckets:
General cash back cards with rewards on gas purchases.
Gas rebate cards that are co-branded with a retailer like BP and network like Visa or Mastercard.
Gas rebate cards that are specific to one retailer like Shell or Chevron and not within a network.
The key to maximizing your savings is to find the card that most closely aligns with your spending habits. As a rule of thumb, gas rebate cards are best for people who are brand-loyal. If you buy gas at many different retailers, a gas rewards card is usually the better choice.
You drive a lot or have a long commute. Whether you go with a traditional rewards card or opt for a gas rebate card, if you drive often, a gas credit card will help you save. If you’re already spending an hour at least on the road per day, why not get rewarded for it? Start using those commuter miles to your advantage with a gas card.
You have good/excellent credit and want to expand your rewards. There are points to be had and cash back to be earned for people who are good candidates for cards like the American Express® Gold Card. If you aren’t already saving on gas in some way, you can certainly start with a cashback credit card.
You don’t have a stellar credit score. The high APRs on most gas cards make carrying a balance a bad idea, but if you pay off your balance every month, using a gas card will improve your credit. Unlike other types of rewards cards, most gas cards will approve your application instantly, even with poor credit.
4.You’re planning a road trip. Although most gas credit cards don’t offer 0% introductory APR, a lot of them provide high rebates for the first few months. The Phillips 66 Drive Savvy® Rewards Credit Card knocks fifty cents off per gallon purchased for the first 30 days—which adds up to huge savings on a summer road trip. Introductory rebate offers pay off no matter how much you drive, but when planning a major road trip, the savings quickly add up.
Gas credit cards vary quite a bit. Some offer just 2% back in rewards, while our top pick, the Ducks Unlimited Card, offers 5% cash back.
There are many gas cards with no annual fee, so you can earn rewards at no cost whatsoever (as long as you avoid accruing interest).
A gas credit card can be an excellent way to collect cash back or points — if you use it responsibly. Your purchases will be covered by some basic protections, and the better cards have some cost-saving perks too.
You can use many gas credit cards to earn rewards for purchases at gas stations other than gas, like snacks or certain gift cards. But some specify that only fuel purchases will qualify for the gas bonus category.
Good rewards for gas spending: You can easily find cards that provide a 3% cash back equivalent for gas, though you can also get 5% back and occasionally more.
No annual fee, or a worthwhile fee: There are many very rewarding gas cards with no fee. But you might want a card with a fee if it would provide a better overall value.
Other bonus categories: It’s OK to just have a card that you only use for gas, and nothing else. However, a card with other good bonus categories would be more useful.
Shopping and travel protections: Most credit cards today have some standard protections. Although they probably won’t come into play when buying gas, they could be handy in other situations.
Valuable extra benefits: The best cards come with cost-saving perks like travel credits or access to interesting experiences, although you’ll typically need to pay a fee to get these benefits.
Perhaps you’re planning your yearly trip up the Pacific Coast Highway. For the sake of this example, let’s use the following data points:
You're traveling from Dana Point, CA to Leggett, CA (653 miles, according to the Travel Channel).
You’re driving a 2017 Jeep Wrangler with an EPA combined city/highway fuel efficiency of 18 mpg.
The average cost of gas in California is $3.55 per gallon (as of April 19, 2018, according to AAA).
If you were to pay for gas without the use of a gas card, you’d spend roughly $256 on fuel round-trip. With the use of a Drive Savvy® Rewards Credit Card from gas retailer, 76, you can take advantage of a 50 cents off per gallon offer for the first 30 days. With this card, you’ll spend roughly $220 in total. That’s a savings of $36 on one road trip alone.
If you’re considering a gas credit card, consider the intro offers in the context of your own gas budget. For many people, the rewards are lucrative and a smart way to save money.
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