Best Cards for Gas Station Purchases
I recently wrote about a few methods to easily save on gas. One big way involves using credit cards that highly earn on gas station spend. Ian wrote on some solid options in 2019, and today, I’m updating that list with some others consumers should consider. And remember, these cards don’t just earn rewards for what you put in your tank. Many gas stations offer a variety of merchant and cash-equivalent gift cards which we can leverage to earn lucrative rewards. Here are several of the best cards for gas purchases in 2022.
New Orleans Pelicans Card
Let’s start off with one of the new kids on the block. Don’t let the branding turn you off. The New Orleans Pelicans card from Cardless (that just doesn’t sound right) delivers the goods for gas station spenders. The card offers 4x points on all gas station spend. Cardholders can easily redeem at one cent per point for statement credits. New Orleans Pelicans fans – I have to believe some are out there – can also redeem at elevated rates for gear. But let’s get back to the basics – this is an uncapped 4% cash back card at gas stations without an annual fee. Remarkable!
Sam’s Club Mastercard
Ian briefly mentioned this one previously, but I want to give this card a bit more attention. It’s hard to beat the high cash back percentage on this no annual fee card. Cardholders earn 5% cash back on all gas station spend of all brands (not just Sam’s). This is capped at $6k spend annually and obviously only useful for Sam’s Club members, but many consumers fit into this demographic. Rewards are provided to cardholders each February in the form of Sam’s Cash redeemable at stores and online.
Another positive here is that the Sam’s Club Mastercard is relatively easy to obtain – maybe too easy. I’ve routinely been offered this card for immediate approval at Sam’s self checkout. I’ve been tempted to hit the apply button, but so far, I’ve held off because it wasn’t quite the right time. But I plan to pick this one up soon. Also, this card is issued by Synchrony, a feasible alternative for many of us who have been hot and heavy with the bigger card issuers.
Costco members can earn slightly less with the Costco Citi credit card, which offers 4% back in rewards on up to $7k annual spend at gas stations.
Wyndham Earner Business Card
Introduced about a year and a half ago, the Wyndham Earner cards ooze with earning in bonus categories. Perhaps the best category across all of these cards is gas station spend on the Wyndham Earner Business card. These cardholders earn a whopping 8x Wyndham Rewards points on all gas station spend in exchange for a $95 annual fee. Those who enjoy Wyndham redemptions, including Vacasa, and others who transfer to Caesars Rewards do particularly well.
Citi Custom Cash
This card doesn’t scream “gas card” right off the bat. But the Citi Custom Cash offers 5% cash back (technically 5x ThankYou points) on the first $500 monthly spend in the largest of the following categories:
Restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, live entertainment.
Of course, some may have plenty of spend in one or more of those other categories, so it’s not as useful for gas stations. But certain consumers may prefer to put that spend on other cards, so $6k more of 5% back capacity annually at gas stations without an annual fee may be interesting. Remember, the benefits of this card can be stacked with those of other Citi cards. For instance, cardholders who also have the Rewards+ can stack the points back benefit to effectively earn a 5.5% cash back return on gas station spend. The Custom Cash may not be the right Citi card for some, but it definitely is for others.
Amex Business Gold
Okay, let’s get the obvious out of the way – this card has a hefty $295 annual fee. It’s clearly not for everybody. But big spenders at gas stations can do do great things with the Amex Business Gold. The card offers 4x on gas station spend up to $150k annually. If you love Amex and have worked out optimal redemptions, those 600k points enable a lot. For Amex Schwab Platinum cardholders, the Business Gold is effectively a 4.4% cash back card.
And even modest spenders come out ahead with this card by obtaining a solid first-year welcome offer, which is routinely in the 70k-100k Membership Rewards range. Those in two player mode with a spouse or domestic partner can easily wipe out the annual fee (or better) with a referral bonus.
The Freedom Card Dark Horse
The Chase Freedom Flex will sometimes play a role in the gas station space. That is because it has a 5% back, on up to $1500 in spend, rotating category each quarter. One of these quarters each year tends to be gas stations. That wouldn’t be enough for it to secure a spot on this list though. Except for the fact that the current welcome offer has a 5% back on gas purchases in the first year, on up to $6,000 in spend. That puts this right at the head of the class for the next year.
The Usual Suspects Remain
In addition to the above, some of our older, best cards for gas remain the same. That’s good news. The Amex Hilton Surpass (6x), Amex Blue Cash Preferred (6% cash back up to $6k annually), and Citi Premier (3x) still provide solid rewards on gas station spend. And cards Citi Dividend and Discover It cards still periodically provide a 5x/5% cash back quarterly bonus category at gas stations. Check out Ian’s 2019 post for more details.
While some cards known for gas station spend have remained the same over time, many other competitors have appeared in the last few years. This applies to other bonus categories, as well, which I plan to address in future articles. Regardless, we must resist the tendency to “set and forget” our spending habits on certain cards. We can miss out on more lucrative rewards if we do so. I encourage all of you to look again at the cards you use at gas stations. Are you doing just fine, or could you do better? Crunch the numbers and maybe go after a better card. What’s your best card for gas station spend these days?