gas prices

Looking to Save With a Gas Rewards Credit Card? Some Can Help More Than Others

Bankrate.com looked at credit cards offered by popular gas retailers and weren't impressed, but some general-purpose cards can help you save more on fuel

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Gas prices are still riding high, and you may be trying anything and everything to save money when you fill up your tank.

In addition to shopping around for the best prices, driving the speed limit and cutting back on trips, you may be considering a gas rewards credit card to save even more money.

There are a lot of options, and experts say some are better than others.

Bankrate.com analyzed 22 cards offered by popular gas retailers, and they weren't impressed.

"We found that the gas-branded credit cards are not the best deal," said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate.com. "The ones from the stations themselves, they typically only give a 5-or-10%-per-gallon discount. You can do a lot better with a general-purpose credit card."

The gas retailer cards usually only provide a discount at their own stations, so you're limited on where you can buy gas.

Bankrate.com says another drawback of these cards is their high interest rates.

"The average gas station card has an interest rate around 26%, which is really astronomical," said Rossman. "Now, the average for all cards is no picnic, that's 16%, so really, any good credit card rewards strategy is predicated on paying in full, avoiding interest. But the gas-branded cards are especially painful when you're talking about a 26% average interest rate."

Rossman says you can find general-purpose credit cards with lucrative gas rewards and no annual fee, and some offer up to 5% cashback.

"Get a general-purpose credit card with good rewards on gas. Try to stack that discount, too," said Rossman. "Get the free app from the gas station, get another five or ten cents off when you pay that way. You can combine those two discounts, the rewards credit card and the gas app. Some grocery chains offer rewards that can turn into fuel points. That's another way to stack savings, use rewards credit cards and the grocery savings."

You may not be aware that you already have a credit card that offers you gas discounts. Check out your card issuer's website or call customer service to find out.

Here's a list of Bankrate.com's recommended no-annual-fee credit cards that have lucrative gas rewards:

  • Citi Custom Cash Card: 5% cash back on your top eligible spending category each billing cycle (up to $500 in purchases, with 1% cash back on all other purchases).
  • Sam's Club Mastercard: 5% cash back on gas (purchased almost anywhere, not just at Sam's Club — up to $6,000 per year). This card also gives 3% cash back on dining and at Sam's Club. Other purchases earn 1% cash back. The total cash back maximum per year is $5,000.
  • The Discover It Cash Back Card: 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories (gas makes an appearance from April 1 through June 30, 2022). The rate applies after activation on up to $1,500 in quarterly spending (then 1% cash back after that).
  • Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi: 4% cash back on gas (again, purchased almost anywhere, this time with a $7,000 annual cap), plus 3% cash back on eligible travel and dining, 2% cash back at Costco and 1% cash back on everything else.
  • PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card: Five points per dollar at gas pumps and electric vehicle charging stations, three points per dollar at supermarkets, restaurants and on streaming services with one point per dollar elsewhere. Note that each point is worth approximately 0.8 cents. Among these four cards, this is the only one that does not have a spending cap on its gas rewards category.
  • The Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom Flex are both offering new customers 5% cash back on gas (up to $6,000 in purchases within their first year). That's in addition to the standard welcome bonus of $200 after spending $500 (on anything) within their first three months. The promotion is scheduled to expire June 30, 2022.
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