Best Return For Gas Purchases
You may be thinking this is another tired article about what is the best card to use when you pay at the pump. Not so fast – not here at Miles to Memories! We are gonna dig deeper and find you the best return out there for your gas purchases.
Gas/fuel costs are one of the larger expenses for most American families. I wanted to take some time to figure out what would give the best return on that spend. When I was done searching high and low I came up with three pretty good options. The value will change slightly depending on how much you value each point type.
Discounted Gift Cards On eBay
eBay often has discounted gift cards for sale for a wide variety of stores. Gas station gift cards from SVM are one of the mainstay offerings. SVM offers discounted gas station gift cards for BP, Speedway, Exxon, Marathon and a few others on a rotating basis. These are usually offered at 92% or 93% of the card’s value. They sell them in $50 and $100 denominations.
By purchasing a $100 gas gift card on eBay for $92 you are saving 8% but we can do better. eBay killed the ability to double dip last year, no longer allowing us to buy third party gift cards with discounted eBay gift cards. With this change there is no longer a way to get extra points on discounted gift cards sold on eBay. Because of this change you need to make your eBay gift card purchases with a card that gives you a great return on non bonus spend. The card that gives you the best return on your non bonus spend would be the Blue Business Plus card from American Express. The Blue Business Plus card earns 2X MR points for every dollar you spend.
I value MR points at 1.75% (I have recently increased my valuation of them). That gives you a return of 3.5% on every purchase made with the Blue Business Plus card. If you add the 3.5% discount to the 8% discount you get a total return on your gas purchase of:
Grocery Store Spend
Buying gift cards at grocery stores is a great way to rack up a ton of points. A lot of credit cards offer increased returns for grocery spend. The one that offers the best return on grocery store spend would be the American Express EveryDay Preferred (EDP). Once you make 30 purchases in a billing cycle you get a 50% bonus on your Membership Rewards (MR) points earning. The EDP earns 3 MR points per dollar at grocery stores but once you make 30 purchases that increases to 4.5 MR points per dollar. Membership Rewards points have a value of 1.75 cents each which gives you a return of 7.88% on your gas card purchase at the grocery store.
It gets better though. Certain chains, like Kroger, offer fuel points on all purchases and they offer double fuel points on gift card purchases. Sometimes, like this weekend, they increase the fuel points offer from 2x earning to 4x earning on gift card purchases. If you purchased a $100 gas gift card at 4x fuel points you would end up with 400 fuel points. That is enough for $0.40 cents off per gallon of fuel at the grocery store’s pumps. If you assume a 15 gallon fill up that is a $6 savings or essentially another 6% off of your gift card purchase.
If you add in the 6% from the fuel points with the 7.88% return you get for buying a gas gift card with the EDP you come up with a total return of:
Staples With Ink Plus/Cash/Bold
Even though 5x earning at PPDG and CardCash is toast, earning 5x at office stores is still going strong! Staples carries a few different brands of gas station gift cards on their shelves. You can purchase $100 worth of gas station gift cards and earn 500 Ultimate Rewards (UR) Points. I value UR points at 2 cents a piece which makes the 500 UR points worth $10. That gives you a 10% return on your gas card purchase.
The savings don’t stop there though. There is currently an offer with Uber that allows you to earn Uber credit when making a purchase at certain retailers. You need to have a Visa card linked to your account and then make the purchase at the participating location with the same Visa card. Staples is currently a store participating in the promotion and it is earning a 5% Uber credit in my area. The earning rate can change by location so be sure to check before heading out to the store. That gives me another 5% in return on my gas gift card purchase.
If you add up the 10% you earn purchasing the gift card with a Ink Plus/Cash/Bold card with the 5% in credit from Uber you get a return of:
It looks like buying gift cards from Staples while the Uber local offer deal is ongoing brings the best return. When the Uber local offer ends sourcing your gas gift cards from grocery stores becomes the best option.
FINAL TIP – There are a lot of gas stations out there that will give you the cash price if you use a gas gift card as well. The cash price is usually 10 cents less per gallon saving you another 4% when the price per gallon is around $2.50. Look for gas stations that list both prices on their sign.