Why You Need A Gas Card
You'll get multiple perks at the pump if you pick and use the right gas credit card
Cars make it easier to get around, but it certainly is expensive to own or lease one.
And we're reminded of this every time we need to fill up that gas tank.
Unless your car is 100% electric or is one of those ultra eco-friendly models powered by leftover cooking oil, then it's highly likely that you're a regular at your local gas station.
You've probably also noticed the ever-fluctuating gas prices that make you wonder whether a bike is the way to go instead.
Credit cards that feature gas station perks can help minimize some of the financial strain.
And just like you have choices when it comes to filling up your tank, you've got choices when it comes to paying for it.
There are a slew of credit cards that offer travel rewards and cash-back bonuses.
To give consumers some relief at the pump, many of those cards offer bonuses for filling up at the station.
Of course, you don't want to go into debt or wreck your credit score over gasoline, of all things.
So choose wisely when shopping for credit cards with gas rewards.
It might be as easy as going for the reward card with the highest percentage of cash-back bonuses, but there are also other things to keep in mind.
Keep reading to learn more about how to find the best gas rewards credit card for you and your wheels.
Check Out These 8 Driving Hacks to Save Gas Money
What You Need To Know and What To Avoid
Match your gas credit card with your spending habits
This article discusses consumer cards (think Visa and AmEx) that allow you to shop for things other than gas.
There are options for store-branded gas cards (more on that later), but if these cards are dishing out rewards for other purchases, we say take 'em!
Here's what to look for in a good gas rewards credit card:
Big rewards for big spending. Some cards have a high max reward for bonus category spending. Take advantage of it! Get additional cards for the other drivers in your household and make cash-back bonuses a family affair.
More options for everyday spending. If you like to keep your spending on one card, then it makes sense to get one that offers flexible spending rewards.
Easy redemption of rewards. What's the use of rewards if you can't access them without a hassle?
Make sure your card allows you to get those cash-back points, travel rewards, or statement credits easily and often.
Rewards that aren't eaten up by high interest. Unless you pay off your card every month (highly advisable), you might find that any money perks you earn will get eclipsed by high-interest rates.
How We Picked These Cards
Steer clear of store-branded cards and navigate towards cash back reward options
When it comes to credit cards, you have MANY choices.
And it's not as easy as choosing from Visa or American Express, either. Here are some things to keep in mind before applying for a new credit card:
Spend enough to reap the rewards. We're not saying you should buy a gas guzzler so you have an excuse to go fill up more often.
But we are saying make sure that your card usage is enough to actually get some significant cash-back.
Avoid store-branded gas cards. Not only do they carry high-interest rates, but they also force you to be brand loyal—which is not always an option when you're on a road trip.
In fact, the CreditCardForum blog offers this advice: "Station-branded cards have only one purpose—using them as a bridge to either rebuild your credit if it isn't in good shape or to establish a credit history if you're just starting out."
That said, here are some of our favorite credit cards that offer rewards for your gas purchases:
Chase Freedom Visa
The top gas card choice for quarterly bonuses
You don't often hear the word "free" and "credit card" used in the same sentence.
But the Chase Freedom Visa card lives up to its name.
Get everyday points and big quarterly bonuses with Chase Freedom
Like its name suggests, the Chase Freedom Visa gives you the liberty to spend as you please and get bumped-up bonuses each quarter.
If you like the idea of getting 1% cash rewards on everyday purchases and 5% extra on category-specific purchases, then this gas reward credit card belongs in your wallet.
People love Chase Freedom Visa because of its initial 0% intro APR on purchases
Yes, you read that right. This cash reward card isn't called Freedom for nothing!
The Chase Freedom Visa offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 15 months on purchases.
That means you can carry a balance on this reward card without paying extra. (Be warned, though, that once the clock is up on those 15 months, your APR will soar to anywhere from 15.99-24.74%.)
Check out some of the additional freebies and bonuses you'll get with every swipe:
Pay no annual fee. None! Put that money toward gas instead.
Earn an easy sign-up bonus. Get $150 in cash rewards when you spend just $500 in the first three months of having the card.
Skip the interest on balance transfers for 15 months. You'll get 0% interest for the first 15 months on a balance transfer, too.
Just know that the same APR deal for the purchases happens for the balance transfers when that grace period ends.
Earn bonuses in quarterly categories. You'll get 5% rewards for shopping in bonus categories that rotate each quarter, including gas stations, department stores, movie theaters, and restaurants.
Travel freely. Unlike other cash-back cards, the Chase Freedom card waives the foreign transaction fee.
Get cash-back rewards on everyday purchases. Every time you use this gas reward credit card, you'll get 1% back on purchases.
Remember to activate bonus spending categories—or lose out
There is one kicker to the 5% bonus bonanza—you have to remember to activate your card each quarter.
Granted, it's not rocket science: All you have to do is log onto your online account and follow the link to activate your bonus.
You can also do this right at the ATM if you are a Chase banking customer.
Max out quarterly bonuses. You are given a quarterly cap of $1,500 for the 5% cash-back bonus rewards.
That means you can spend up to $1,500 in gas during the three-month period (this year, January through March) and get up to $75 in cash back rewards.
Now let's say you also max out purchases in the other three quarters, spending $6,000 over the course of 12 months.
That means you'll get a total of $300 in cash-back rewards for the entire year.
Not too shabby!
Get rewards on everyday spending. This card makes it super easy to rack up cash-back points on everyday purchases, even if you can't always remember what bonus category is currently available.
No matter what time of year, though, you'll always get 1% back on everyday purchases, making the Chase Freedom card worthy of your wallet.
Time this card right to get the biggest bonuses
It makes sense to take a look at the Chase Freedom quarterly calendar to see an opportune time for you to apply and jump in to start spending.
Apply at the right time. Open this card when you've got the budget to spend $500 in the first three months—that's what you'll need to snag the $150 cash-back signup bonus. That's just $50 each month—which is probably what you already spend at the pump.
To get the Chase Freedom Visa, apply online, and, upon approval by the credit card issuer, start swiping right away. Use the handy Chase mobile app to keep track of your spending, pay bills, and more.
Credit One Unsecured Platinum Visa
Fuel up with this card to establish or repair your credit
Are you just get started with credit cards?
Or perhaps you've been in the game for a while, but are not so enthused by your FICO score?
The Credit One Unsecured Platinum Visa is an option for you.
Improve your FICO with a Credit One credit card
It's good to know that there's a card available to you if you've got bad credit or are attempting to build credit.
Here's why you might enjoy using the Credit One Unsecured Platinum Visa.
Skip the prepayment. Secured cards require prepayment—this one is unsecured, which means you don't have to shell out money to start using your card.
This feature made for one very happy commenter on the Credit.com forum.
"I really like this card [and] I've talked my mom and spouse into getting one. It helped when we didn't have decent credit. If you're out there in credit land trying to get a credit card to establish your credit this is the card to get."
Beware of Credit One Bank
Yikes—this just got awkward.
While there's a love-fest for the card, it doesn't carry over to the credit card issuer itself.
With just 1 star out of 5 on the Consumer Affairs website, one has to wonder about the level of customer service available to consumers.
Can the Credit One card really help you improve bad credit?
This card is made for people with credit scores in the poor to fair range.
And in general, you will rebuild your bad credit by using credit wisely.
So if you get this card just for gas and pay it off every month, you'll not only pave the way to a higher credit score, but you'll also get rewards points as you do it!
Check your credit report before you apply
You'll want to do this not only to see your score, but also to see how long it's been since you've gotten any dings on your report, like a late payment.
Even if you're in the clear, you'll want to make sure it's been awhile since you've recently gotten denied by another credit card company, so make sure you wait several months before applying for this one.
If all looks good, then go ahead and apply online to get a decision within 60 seconds.
Citi Costco Anywhere Visa
A great gas credit card for bulk shopping and more
Love a good deal?
Don't mind toting home 1200 rolls of toilet paper or a keg-sized jar of pretzels?
Then it sounds like you are a Costco warrior in need of a Costco credit card that promises cash-back rewards and gas station perks that apply beyond the Costco station.
Sign up first as a Costco member. This card is exclusive to Costco members. You can sign up at the store or online to become a member.
How to earn points: Earn 4% cash-back rewards on gas at Costco and other eligible gas stations (up to $7,000 a year).
You'll also accumulate 3% on travel and restaurants, 2% on Costco purchases (including online at Costco.com), and 1% on all other purchases.
Yearly point redemption. You'll get your cash back in the form of a Costco credit card reward certificate every February.
Enjoy 0% introductory APR for 7 months. While there's no sign-up bonus, this card does waive interest on purchases for the first 7 months. After that, there's a variable APR of 16.24%.
Unlike other store-branded cards, it pays to have this card in your wallet for just about every purchase you make.
But don't make those purchases abroad—you'll get hit with a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Speaking of bummers, there are some other drawbacks.
Redeeming points requires lots of patience
The Costco Anywhere Visa card really does sound like the best thing in the universe.
But we're having a hard time wrapping our heads around having to wait an entire year to reap cash-back rewards.
And when you do, you have no choice but to use them toward your next trip at Costco.
Granted, if you use this card often, you'll be getting a sweet windfall every February, particularly if you max out gas rewards and spend a lot on travel and restaurants.
But we still like having the option of using cash-back rewards how we want and when we want.
Do NOT let that Costco membership lapse
If you've read about the benefits of this card carefully, you'll notice that it's almost better to use this card for everything BUT Costco purchases.
After all, you're only getting 2% back in that category.
But before you think it's smart to use this card just for gas, restaurants, and travel, think again.
Unless you want to forfeit your February statement credit, you MUST be an active member of Costco. So be sure that when your membership is up, you renew right away. Costco's transition from Amex to Citi was a rocky one.
In 2016, Costco had a very public breakup with American Express.
Some reports indicate that this was a bad move for Costco, at least from a credit card customer service perspective.
As a result, numerous angry customers have had it up to here with Citi's customer service—and their membership with Costco.
If you want to save money at the pump, then you've got two options:
Ditch your car, or apply for a credit card that has good bonuses for gas purchases.
If the second option seems more logical for your lifestyle, then you're in luck.
There are plenty of cash-back and travel rewards credit cards—many with no annual fee—that give you bonuses just for filling up your car.
To make the best choice for your wallet, keep your spending habits in mind.
There are cards that offer a flat percentage of cash-back on purchases, while others offer extra bonuses when you spend in special categories.
Some of these cards come with a cap on your bonuses, so be sure to max out your rewards as much as you can.
Do you use credit cards with bonuses for gas purchases?
How has it worked out for you?
Any great tips (or nightmares) to share with the rest of us?
Let us know in the comments below.