The Best Gas Rewards Credit Card for 2018

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This article will dive deep into the different types of gas credit cards available on the market. I’ll focus on the highlights of many of these cards but also touch on some of the downsides of many popular gas cards. The first cards discussed will be gas station credit cards and then I’ll get into many other great cards that earn some of the best credit card rewards for gas purchases. And at the very end, I’ll crown what I feel is the best gas rewards credit card for 2018. 

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What is the best Gas Rewards Credit Card?

What ends up being the best gas rewards credit card for one person may be different from another. Here are seven factors to be mindful of when shopping around for gas rewards cards.

  • Travel rewards: If you are interested in earning travel rewards points, you may want to to look at gas credit cards that earn points like ThankYou Points, Ultimate Rewards, and Membership Rewards.
  • Cash back: If you’re not big on travel rewards, you might just want to earn straight cash back since cash back truly is king.
  • Membership: Several cards require memberships so always consider if you’re eligible and if you’re willing to pay for that membership.
  • Cap limits: Some of these gas cards will cap your earning on gas rewards. Try to accurately estimate your annual gas expenses to make sure you make a smart choice.
  • Quarterly categories: A few of the gas cards offer quarterly categories that allow you to earn 5X on gas for three months. Consider if these quarterly cards will limit your earnings.
  • Sign-up bonuses: Some cards may not offer the highest return on gas purchases but they offer you a sign-up bonus that can balance out the earning discrepancy.
  • Annual fee: Don’t be completely turned off by an annual fee — the rewards in many cases end up paying for the annual fee over time.

Are gas station cards good?

Gas station credit cards are extremely popular but some people still wonder if these are worth it. I’ll start with the cons first.

Many gas station cards are limited to being used at those gas station brands. So you may only be able to earn points at those gas stations and might only be able to use your points at those establishments. If you’re a regular at those places that’s great — if not, that’s a major problem.

Note: Some gas station cards come in two forms. One is a store credit card that can only be used at that gas station and other cards are on the Visa or MasterCard payment networks and can be used anywhere. (When in doubt, just look for the Visa or MasterCard logo.)

Make no mistake about it, gas station credit cards can be very worthwhile. They can earn you great rebates on your gas purchases depending on your spending and they can also be some of the easier credit cards to get approved for. So if you’re looking for gas station credit cards for bad credit these might be some good options for you.

I’ll start off the gas rewards credit card reviews by looking at four of the most popular gas rewards cards on the market.


Marathon Visa card

  • 25¢/gallon* rebate on all Marathon purchases when you spend $1000+ per month
  • 15¢/gallon* rebate when you spend $500 – $999 per month
  • 5¢/gallon* rebate when you spend less than $500 per month
  • $25 Marathon cash card every time you earn $25 in rebates
  • No annual fee

The Marathon card earns you rebates on Marathon gas purchases depending on how much you spend each month. This earning structure can be extremely lucrative because your reward tier is determined based on your total purchases. For example, if you spend over $500 on any purchases, you’ll receive 15 cents off per gallon. You can read more about the rewards structure here.

You need to make sure that there are Marathon locations near you before you apply for this card, however, since you mostly find them in the eastern US.


ExxonMobil™ Smart Card

  • Get 6¢ off every gallon of Synergy gasoline every day at more than 11,000 Exxon™ and Mobil™ stations
  • 2X Plenti points at the pump (Plenti rewards can be used at a variety of places)
  • No cap on earnings or minimum purchase requirements
  • No annual fee

6 cents off every gallon at Synergy destinations isn’t bad, especially since there are so many of these places. The 2X on Plenti points helps out, too. Sometimes, this card will offer promotional rates where you can earn additional points and things can become more lucrative. The combination of the 6 cents off per gallon along with the 2X Plenti Points make this one of the better earning gas cards.


Chevron and/or Texaco Techron Advantage Credit Cards

There are three separate credit cards offered by Chevron/Texaco. (One of them is a premium card that requires a $25 membership.)

The Visa version of this card offers a promotional 5% back for the first 4 months on purchases excluding fuel merchants (you can only earn up to a maximum $25 back). You earn a constant 3 cents off per gallon but your rebate increases with your non gas merchant spending.

When you spend $300 a month outside of gas merchants you’ll get 10 cents off per gallon and when you spend $1,000 outside of gas merchants you’ll get 20 cents off per gallon.

The store credit card version of this card offers 3% back on gas purchases, which is one of the lowest returns out of any fuel reward credit card.

While the store card isn’t very competitive to other gas cards, the Visa version is pretty compelling, allowing you to earn 20 cents off with $1,000 worth of spend anywhere. Depending on how much gas you purchase, this card could be a winner.


Shell Drive for Five® Card

  • 5 cents off every gallon
  • No annual fee

The Shell Drive for Five Card is one of the most popular gas credit cards on the market. The Shell gas card offers 5 cents off every gallon so you don’t have to worry about tracking your spend to maximize your rebate.

There is also a Shell Platinum Select MasterCard issued by CitiBank.

The Shell MasterCard also has no annual fee and it rewards you based on your monthly spending — but you”ll have to spend much more than than what the Marathon Visa requires. And if you don’t spend at least $500 in a month, you won’t receive any rebate. The good news is that just about any purchase counts, as “Qualifying purchases are purchases made for personal, family or household purposes.”

Here are the earning rates of the Shell MasterCard:

  • $500 – $999.99: 10¢ off
  • $1,000 – $2,499.99: 15¢ off
  • More than $2,499.99: 20¢ off

These four gas station cards are four of the most popular gas cards out there. You’ll just have to do the math to see which card rewards you the best based on your spending. I think the Marathon Visa card is most impressive with its potential 25 cents off per gallon but they have limited locations. For that reason I really like the Chevron gas card since its spending requirements are lower than the Shell gas card.


Now I’m going to get into more traditional credit card rewards and talk about how valuable these cards can be when it comes to making gas purchase. It’s harder to choose a winner from this section because “the winner” will often be based on what your personal preference is for you rewards.

Citi Premier

  • Earn 50,000 points after spending $3,000 (not always offered)
  • 3X on travel including gas
  • 2X on dining and entertainment
  • $95 annual fee

The Citi Premier stands out as an excellent option because it’s an all-around solid rewards credit card (especially when it comes with a sign-up bonus). 3X on gas is very competitive and this card earns Citi ThankYou Points. Those points can be transferred to airlines like Singapore Airlines and allow you to fly first class in cabins like the Singapore Suites. This means that earning 3X often amounts to a much larger return than 3%. 

Not a lot of other cards that prioritize gas rewards offer you the ability to transfer points to travel partners and so getting 3X on the Premier sticks out in that regard. If you’re a serious traveler this could be the credit card for you.


Amex EveryDay Preferred

  • 15,000 Membership Rewards after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in the first 3 months (higher offers do come around).
  • 3x points at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases)
  • 2x points at US gas stations
  • 50% bonus on points when you make 30 or more purchases in a billing cycle
  • $95 annual fee

The Amex EveryDay is another credit card that offers you the ability to earn points that can be used on travel partners when making gas purchases. In this case, the card earns 2X but it can be increased to 3X when you make a total of 30 purchases in a billing cycle. If you value Membership Rewards at 1.8 cents per point, that’s 5.4% return on your gasoline purchases without any earning cap. 

Plus, this card comes with a decent sign-up bonus that sometimes offers as much as 30,000 Membership Rewards, which would be worth $540 based on a valuation of 1.8 cents per point.

That’s an incredible amount of value that’s hard to compete with. The key is that you need to have use for the Membership Rewards that this card will earn. Otherwise, your earnings will not be very lucrative and you should probably consider other cash back gas credit cards.


Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Earn $200 Back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months
  • 6% back at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • 3% back at US gas stations and select US department stores.
  • $95 annual fee

Unlike the Amex card above, this card earns straight cash back so you’ll always net a constant 3% return on gas. The 6% back at supermarkets is what really makes this card stand out so if you plan on using a credit card for gas and groceries, this gas rewards credit card should be on your list.


Bank of America Cash rewards

  • Earn $150 after you spend $500 in the first 90 days
  • 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • 3% back on gas 
  • No annual fee

This is another 3% back on gas card but only up to $2,500 in spend each quarter on both of the bonus categories. This results in a total cumulative cap of $10,000 per year, which depending on your spending habits may or may not be a plus.

You also get a 10% bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America account. So if you’re redeeming cash back that way, you’re actually earning 3.3% back on gas which is very competitive.

If you’re a Preferred Rewards member, you can increase your 10% customer bonus to a 25% – 75% rewards bonus every time you redeem your cash rewards directly into your Bank of America checking or savings account. You’ll need to hold at least $20,000 in assets in order for this to apply, however.

I’m not crazy about the cap on this card but $10K/year in gas and groceries is pretty reasonable. If you’re a Bank of America customer then this might be one of the best options for you.


Sam’s Club Consumer credit card by MasterCard

Best Gas Rewards Credit Card

  • Small statement credit of $45 offered for sign-up bonus
  • 5% back on gas on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • 3% back on dining and travel
  • Must be Sam’s Club member ($45 fee) — Cash Back rewards are forfeited if the Sam’s Club Mastercard account is not in good standing

If you’re already a Sam’s Club member, then this gas rewards credit card should stand out to you since you’re already paying the membership fee. 5% back on up to $6,000 in a year is great and the 3% back on dining and travel is pretty solid as well. It’s also nice that they offer a small statement credit of $45


Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 7 months;
  • Annual Fee: No annual fee with your paid Costco membership ($55)
  • 4% cash back on gas worldwide for the first $7,000 per year
  • 3% back on dining and travel
  • 2% back on Costco purchases

If you already have a Costco or plan on getting one, then this card can make a lot of sense. 4% back on gas is terrific and the spending cap is pretty high at $7,000 per year. 3% back on dining and travel is very solid too so this is actually a pretty solid rewards credit card all around, especially considering that the card comes with no annual fee (aside from the membership). This card does come with 3% foreign transaction fees but not at purchases at Costco worldwide.


USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

  • 5% back on Gasoline and Military base purchases (Commissaries, exchange and shopette locations on base) but limited to $3,000 in annual purchases in these purchase categories combined.
  • 2% back on Groceries on up $3,000 in annual purchases
  • No annual fee

5% back is among the best you can find for any gas rewards credit card. The big drawback with this card is that it’s limited to only $3,000 in purchases, which includes purchases made at Military bases. That’s a fairly low cap for rewards considering it’s for combined spending. This card also requires you to have a relationship with a Military member. So while the 5% earning rate is very strong, this card does come with some limitations compared to some of the other options.


Chase AARP

  • $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 3% back at restaurants and gas stations
  • No annual fee

A lot of people don’t know about the AARP card offered by Chase. Even though the card is a sleeper, it offers a very respectable 3% back on fuel and 3% back at restaurants. It also comes with a pretty decent sign-up bonus of $200. For a card with no annual fee, this is actually a pretty stout set of rewards.


Ducks Unlimited credit card

  • 5% back on sporting good stores
  • 5% back on gas purchases
  • No annual fee

Even if you don’t partake in the shooting of ducks, this could be one of the top gas rewards credit cards because you’ll be earning 5% back with no annual fee. And there is no cap on your 5% earnings. Cash back is redeemable in denominations of $25, $50, $100, and $250. “Gas Purchases” are Net Purchases made at any merchant whose MCC is classified by the payment card industry as “Service Stations” (MCC 5541) or “Automated Fuel Dispensers” (MCC 5542).


Fort Knox Credit Union Visa Platinum Credit Card

  • 5% Cash Back rebates on gas purchases
  • 1% Cash Back rebates on all retail purchases
  • No annual fee

There are a number of other credit union cards that offer lucrative earning opportunities for gas purchases. But this credit union is one of the best gas rewards credit cards because you don’t even have to be a member to apply for the card!

You will have to become a member of the credit union after you get approved though, which will require a one-time $10 membership fee and a minimum $5 balance in a savings account

5% back on all gas purchases with no earnings cap and no annual fee is very appealing. Sometimes this card also offers special promotional earning rates like 3% on groceries.

This is also a great option gas credit card for people with fair to low credit because you get approved for the card with a credit score in the 600s. (You need a minimum credit score of 670 for the Fort Knox Credit Union Visa Platinum Credit Card.) Also, watch out because this bank is very sensitive to inquiries.

Some have reported that Fort Knox restricted out of state members to a credit limit cap of $2k limit for the first year on their card, though others report that this didn’t happen.

Considering this card comes with no annual fee and no cap on 5% gas rewards, this is one of the strongest gas rewards credit cards available.


Penfed Credit Union Platinum Rewards Visa Signature

  • $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days
  • 5X back on gas unlimited (4.25% back)
  • 3X back on groceries
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee

Penfed Credit Union offers another very strong contender for best gas  credit card. It gives you 5X back with no cap on earnings and no annual fee.

A drawback to this gas rewards credit card is that you don’t earn cash back in the form of a statement credit. And their points are not worth 1 cent per point so your return on gas purchases is actually 4.25% back. If you want to redeem your points for a Visa gift card there’s also a minimum redemption amount of $50 ($25 for other types of gift cards).

The other drawback is that you’ve got to jump through a couple of hoops if you’re not related to a military member or Penfed member.

You can apply for the PenFed Platinum card online without being a member and receive a decision on your application, but you’ll need to eventually become a member to get the card. If you don’t have a relationship that will make you eligible for Pen Fed you can make a minimum $17 donation to one of about 50 different military-related entities that will allow you to become a member. These are entities like the Voice for American Troops or the National Military Family Association.

Also, if you’ve donated blood to the American Red Cross in the last two years you’d be eligible.

Once you’re eligible, you’ll need to make a one-time $5 deposit to keep your account active.


Chase Freedom

  • $150 sign-up bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • 5X on rotating quarterly categories (one quarter usually includes gas)
  • No annual fee

The Chase Freedom offers 5% back on quarterly categories on up to $1,500 spent per quarter. These categories cover everything from gas, groceries, Amazon.com, movie theaters, department stores, restaurants, and many more.

This is a great earning rate but it is limited to only 3 months out of the year.  If you have premium cards with Chase like the Sapphire Preferred or the Sapphire Reserve you can transfer these points to airlines turning that 5% back into a much more lucrative earning closer to 10% back or more. Some people can buy gas gift cards since they can’t max out the $1,500 spend in one quarter.

If you don’t spend a substantial amount on gas then the Freedom could be one of your best options.


Discover IT

 

  • 5X on rotating quarterly categories (one quarter usually includes gas)
  • No annual fee

The Discover It is essentially the same as the Chase Freedom although they offer different categories each quarter. The difference between this card and the Freedom card is that you can’t transfer points earned on the Discover IT to transfer partners. So this is a just a straight cash back credit card for gas. What makes is still attractive though is that your cash back earnings are doubled the first year, so you’ll be effectively earning 10% back on gas for a quarter — that’s an impressive rate.

Final word

It’s really hard to choose just one credit card and the best gas card will depend on a lot of different factors, such as your spending habits, travel goals, redemption preferences, relationships to the military/government, etc.

So I’m going to choose my top 3:

  1. Fort Knox Credit Union Visa Platinum Credit Card — Probably the best option for high gas spenders as there’s no cap for the 5% back on gas — just weak for other categories.
  2. Sam’s Club Consumer credit card by MasterCard — It’s cap of $6,000 per year for 5% back gas and 3% back on dining and travel make this a very solid no annual fee gas credit card.
  3. Amex EveryDay Preferred — The $95 annual fee eats into the earnings but the sign-up bonus makes up for that if you catch it at the right time. Membership Rewards are extremely valuable and if you hit the 30 purchases a month, that’s over 5% on gas.

Cover photo by Mike Mozart via Flickr.

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