Best Cards for Gas Purchases – Save Money Every Fill Up
With gas prices soaring over $4.00 per gallon here in California right now, I want to be getting every penny back that I can while filling up at the pump. Luckily, there are a number of credit cards that provide excellent rewards at gas stations. Here are the five best cards for gas purchases that you should consider picking up:
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card
It’s hard to say no to 5x points on gas purchases all day, everyday. But that’s what the PenFed Rewards card offers, which is downright amazing. This card is issued by PenFed Credit Union, which focuses on serving military personnel and their families. However, you don’t need to be in the military or have a family member in the military. You do need to be a PenFed member to apply for their credit cards, but this isn’t that difficult of a hurdle.
Here are the benefits and current offer for the PenFed Rewards Visa Signature Card:
- $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days
- 5x points at gas stations
- 3x points at grocery stores
- 1x points on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- Direct link
PenFed Rewards points vary a bit in value, depending on how you redeem them. You can expect to get about 0.85 cents per point for airfare (making 5x points about 4.25% back), but often over 1.1 cents per point for hotels (5.5% back).
Note that the PenFed Reward card also earns 3x points on groceries, something I was unaware of when I wrote about the best cards for grocery purchases. Yet another to keep in mind for that purpose.
Warehouse Store Cards
The Costco Anywhere Visa & Sam’s Club Mastercard are both great options for gas purchases. The Costco offers 4% back on gasoline, including gas purchased at Costco stores, on up to $7,000 in spend per year. The Sam’s Club offers 5% back on gas purchases anywhere Mastercard is accepted up to $6,000 per year.
This should be enough of a spend cap for the average family. You do need to be a member of either club to apply for and retain the card, so keep that in mind. As long as you have a membership, though, there is no annual fee. Costco gas stations often have gas 20-30 cents cheaper per gallon too.
Click Here to compare cash back credit cards.
For the Costco card cash back is only provided once per year, in the form of a certificate. This is provided after your February statement closes, for all rewards earned the previous calendar year. You can redeem the certificate for either Costco merchandise or cash it out at a Costco warehouse. The Sam’s Club Mastercard also earns rewards that can only be used at Sam’s Club and are redeemed once per year.
If you’re used to more readily available rewards, this is obviously frustrating. But if you want 4%-5% back on gas, it’s a great option.
Citi ThankYou Premier Card
Gas is actually a qualifying travel purchase for the Citi ThankYou Premier card, something I forgot way too often when I had the card. Most cards that provide a bonus on travel don’t lump gas into the mix as well. But Citi does, and with the ability to earn 3x ThankYou points per dollar at the pump, it’s a solid option. While Citi ThankYou may have its cons compared to the other transferable programs, there is still some solid value you can unlock with TYP.
Here is the current welcome offer for the Citi ThankYou Premier card:
- Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $4,000 in your first three months from account opening
- 3x points for travel (including gas stations)
- 2x points for restaurants and entertainment
- 1x points for everything else
- Points transferable to a number of airline partners
- No foreign transaction fees
- $95 annual fee
Click Here to compare travel rewards credit cards
Earning 3x TYP at the pump is a minimum return of 3.75%, assuming you use the points through Citi’s portal to book travel directly. Transferring to partners can potentially get you far greater value.
Assuming our family put 100% of our gas purchases on the Citi ThankYou Premier over the course of a year, we’d have nearly enough points for two free one-way tickets to Hawaii, booked through Turkish Miles & Smiles (assuming there aren’t ongoing issues with Turkish Star Alliance award tickets). Gotta look at the bright side of California gas prices.
Wells Fargo Propel Card
The Wells Fargo Propel card (Learn More) is a solid card in so many ways. Besides making the list of best no annual fee credit cards, it also makes the list of best cards for gas purchases. The “Ride & Drive” category includes 3x points on ride share, transit, and gas stations.
Here is the current welcome offer and benefits for the Wells Fargo Propel card:
- Welcome offer of 30,000 points after spending $3,000 in purchase within the first 3 months
- 3x points for eating out, gas and transit, hotels, airfare, car rental and streaming
- 1x points for all other purchases
- Cell phone protection benefit
- No foreign transaction fees
- No annual fee
- Learn More
It’s hard to argue against such a great multi-purpose card that offers 3x in many categories, yet doesn’t have an annual fee. Once I pick up a few more Chase cards (as I’m nearly back under 5/24), the Wells Fargo Propel card is on my short list to nab.
American Express Hilton Cards
The American Express Hilton card and American Express Hilton Surpass card both need a mention since they offer bonus points on gas and grocery purchases. These are easy to keep in your wallet for both purposes.
The American Express Hilton Surpass card is a great option in particular since you get 6X Hilton points per dollar on gas station purchases. You also can earn an uncapped weekend free night after spending $15,000 on the card. That is like earning up to an additional 95,000 Hilton Honors points each year if you use it at a top tier Hilton hotel.
Here is the current welcome offer and benefits for the Hilton Surpass Card:
- Welcome offer of 125,000 points after spending $2,000 in purchase within the first 3 months.
- $95 annual fee is not waived.
- Earn a weekend free night each calendar year with $15,000 in spend.
- 6X earning at U.S. gas stations, U.S. Supermarkets and U.S. restaurants.
- Hilton Gold Status which gets you upgrades and free breakfast.
- 10 Priority Pass visits per year.
- Learn More
The Surpass card is one of my favorite everyday cards and it is a great option for groceries and gas purchases!
Other Best Credit Cards for Gas Purchases – Honorable Mentions
It’s almost a guarantee that one of the four rotating cash back categories on both the Chase Freedom and Discover It cards will be gas. When they don’t overlap during the year, it’s even better. Gas stations actually made the list twice this year for the Freedom, offering 5x earning in both Q1 and Q3. That makes these two cards a perfect option when it is their quarter.
The Ducks Unlimited credit card is another unknown option that offers a huge return on gas spend. With a solid, uncapped 5% back on fuel purchases, this card is hard to beat. The primary issue is that it is issued by First Bankcard. The one time we applied for a First Bankcard product (admittedly with a number of hard hits on the credit report), we were shot down. If they are at all strict like Capital One on approvals, you may have to wait until your credit history “cools down” to apply.
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred offers 3% back at U.S. gas stations, but it comes with a $95 annual fee. With the Propel offering the same return, and two other cards offering a better return with no annual fee, it didn’t make the top 5 cut. Still, if you don’t have any of the other options, it’s still one of the best cards for gas purchases.
The Chase Ink Cash earns 2% back per fill up that could be 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar (worth 3% or more back) if you have a premium Chase card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The bonus earning on gas stations is limited to $25,000 a year.
Finally, I’d use an American Express Everyday Preferred in a pinch, but only if I was going to hit 30 purchases in a billing cycle for the 50% bonus points. This effectively gives you 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar, which is not a bad return.
Next time you fill up at the pump, I hope you use any of these best cards for gas purchases. There are plenty of options, many of which don’t have an annual fee, which is a reason to consider holding more than one!