Easily Save Big on Fuel with a GasBuddy Membership
I like to focus on savings methods that simultaneously apply to travel and everyday local activities. For good reasons, many of us are currently interested in savings close to home, rather than travel. Undoubtedly, lots of us have read about the myriad options for saving money on fuel. These examples usually include an impressive photo of the gas kiosk displaying a grand total under 10, 20, or 50 cents for a full tank of gas. Kudos to those who have discovered that play!
Admittedly, I’m not a hugely creative person. With fuel rewards, I like sustainable, straightforward methods for predictably getting cheaper gas. It may not be the lowest cost option, but it’s also not a Rube Goldberg machine-like setup to get a tank of gas for a dime. I love Rube Goldberg stuff, just not for fuel savings.
Let’s first dive into how you can simply obtain solid discounts on fuel with a Pay with GasBuddy membership. I’ll then describe a handy grocery store fuel rewards stack.
Forget What You Thought About GasBuddy
When the GasBuddy app debuted years ago, I used it simply for discovering what gas prices were around me. I didn’t bother with entering fuel amounts to maybe win free gas or a gift card. But last Summer, I took another look at GasBuddy’s website and was pleasantly surprised by new (to me) offers for saving money on fuel. GasBuddy had introduced Pay with GasBuddy, their membership program.
How Pay with GasBuddy Works
Pay with GasBuddy provides savings based on a cents-off per gallon basis. However, rather than linking your credit card to a GasBuddy account, you pay with a GasBuddy debit card. As part of program enrollment, you connect a bank checking account to your GasBuddy account. Once you receive your GasBuddy debit card in the mail, you simply activate the card in the GasBuddy app. You are then set up to have the discounted gas charges automatically withdrawn from your checking account when using the GasBuddy debit card. There is no messing around with paper receipts, taking photos, or uploading receipts.
To be clear, you are giving up credit card rewards by using a GasBuddy debit card. Prior to enrolling in any GasBuddy membership level, ensure to compare it against whatever points currency and value you would earn when using your optimal credit card for fuel.
Pay with GasBuddy Membership Levels
Let’s dive into the specifics of each Pay with GasBuddy membership tier.
Pay with GasBuddy Free Membership
The no-fee version of Pay with GasBuddy includes a simple discount on every gallon of gas, usually five cents off per gallon. It’s not lucrative, but it’s free!
Pay with GasBuddy Plus Membership
With a GasBuddy Plus membership, drivers save 20 cents per gallon on the first 40 gallons of gas. Subsequent savings are five cents off per gallon. Membership costs $4.99 monthly, or save a bit more by making the one-time annual payment of $49 (about $4.08 per month).
If you maximize just the 20 cents per gallon benefit with this program, you would save $8 per month, effectively a $3.92 savings on gas when you made the one-time annual membership payment. This comes out to just under a dime of savings per gallon when taking into account the membership fee. Of course, make your own calculations based on your driving habits.
Pay with GasBuddy Premium Membership
With a GasBuddy Premium membership, drivers save 20 cents per gallon on the first 50 gallons of gas. Subsequent savings are five cents off per gallon. Membership costs $9.99 monthly, or save a bit more by making the one-time annual payment of $99 ($8.25 per month).
If you maximize just the 20 cents per gallon benefit with this program, you would save $10 per month, effectively a $1.75 savings on gas when you made the one-time annual membership payment. This comes out to 3.5 cents of savings per gallon when taking into account the membership fee.
However, the Premium membership also includes 24 hour roadside assistance. This roadside assistance includes:
- Towing up to 10 miles
- Flat Tire Assistance
- Jump Starts
- Fuel Delivery
- Lockout Service
Pay with GasBuddy Membership Analysis
Consider the free membership if you don’t drive much and your credit card point values don’t reach five cents per gallon. Drivers who consume at least 40 gallons of fuel monthly should consider the Plus membership. Those drivers who value the roadside assistance package with the additional 10 gallons of 20 cent savings should consider the Premium membership.
For what it’s worth, I chose the Premium membership last year and paid the (at that time) $69 annual fee. We consume about 40 gallons of fuel per month (the 20 cent limit when we enrolled), and we do value the roadside assistance. This enabled us to cancel our AAA membership, which we only valued for the roadside assistance. Long story short, instead of paying $54 for AAA membership this year, we received $27 of net fuel rewards and have access to AAA-like roadside assistance. That’s an $81 swing – not bad!
Pay with GasBuddy membership pricing has clearly changed in the last year. I will re-evaluate just prior to auto-renewal this year to determine if continuing with GasBuddy membership is fruitful, and if so, which level to select.
Stacking with Other Fuel Rewards Programs
An area where GasBuddy memberships shine is that you can stack these membership benefits with other fuel rewards programs, such as those provided by grocery stores. I maximize these rewards by stacking my GasBuddy membership with Kroger’s fuel rewards program.
I easily earn thousands of Kroger fuel points monthly through a variety of gift card purchases, promotions, and normal grocery shopping. One thousand points in Kroger’s program equate to $1 off per gallon up to 35 gallons. I stack my GasBuddy Premium membership with the Kroger fuel savings for $1.20 off per gallon each month.
Gas Buddy also cooperates with Shell’s fuel rewards program, although I don’t focus on this stack due to the ridiculously high Shell rates in my area. Other gas stations’ programs stack as well, but I haven’t found the value in stacking with those programs to be more lucrative than with Kroger in my area. Other grocery stores’ fuel rewards programs have reliably worked for some people, as well.
A Few Other GasBuddy Membership Bits Worth Mentioning
GasBuddy also runs GasBack offers, which is basically their version of a shopping portal. As I write this, I see that GasBuddy is offering 1% GasBack on Walmart.com purchases and 4% back on Hotels.com purchases. This is a “meh” for me. I routinely find more lucrative bonuses with other portals for my shopping habits, and I’m not stuck redeeming those portal rewards for gas. Nonetheless, this is a promising option for some who highly value fuel discounts.
Interestingly, you can opt in to earning Shop Your Way points with GasBuddy. However, this lowers your cash discount. For instance, my 20 cents per gallon discount would become 15 cents per gallon discount plus 15 Shop Your Way points on the first 40 gallons, then 15 Shop Your Way only for additional gallons. Did you get all that? This isn’t for me, but maybe for some who like Shop Your Way points.
Once in a while, GasBuddy will give additional savings to members. For instance, over the holidays last year, GasBuddy added another 25 cents of savings on top of my normal 20 cent discounts. These discounts are infrequent and unpredictable, but I definitely enjoyed them since I was filling up, anyway.
Credit Cards That Offer A Better Discount On Gas
Gas Buddy is a great option for someone who mainly uses their debit card. Or for anyone that doesn’t have a credit card that earns a good rate on gas purchases. Here are some credit cards that will get you a better than 2% discount on gas:
- Costco Anywhere Visa – 4% back on gasoline on up to $7,000 per year.
- Wells Fargo Propel Card – 3X points (3%) on gas purchases (Learn More)
- American Express Surpass – 6X Hilton Honors points on US Gas station purchases (worth 2.4%-3% towards Hilton stays).
- PenFed Rewards – 5X earning on gas purchases (worth 4.25% back).
For health, ethical, and other reasons, many of us are not currently getting outsized value from points and miles programs for travel. However, I can easily save on fuel while in my local area, and I can definitely take advantage of these savings when we get back to traveling on road trips. What other methods do you use for saving on fuel?