On average, Americans spent $1,968 on gasoline and other fuels in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you own a vehicle and spend that much or more on gas every year, it may make sense to get a gas credit card.
No, we’re not talking about the credit cards offered by gasoline companies like Shell and BP. The best gas credit cards offer accelerated rewards at gas stations, as well as great rewards on other everyday purchases you make. With the right card in your wallet, you can maximize the cash back, points or miles you earn at the pump.
Depending on what else you spend your money on, our top gas credit card choices will do a lot more than that.
The Best Credit Cards for Gas of April 2020
There’s no single credit card out there that’s best for everyone, so it’s important to consider your spending habits and preferences when deciding which card to pick. Also, keep in mind that most rewards credit cards typically require that you have good or excellent credit to qualify. That means having a credit score of 670 or above, according to FICO.
With all that in mind, here are our top choices to compare.
- Best for Earning Points or Cash: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- Best for Everyday Cash Back: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
- Best for Flexible Earning: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
- Best for Cash Back: PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature®Card
- Best for Travel Rewards: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
- Best for Chase Ultimate Rewards Points: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
*Review the methodology our credit card experts use to evaluate credit products and determine the best-in-class cards in various categories.
*Jump to the most frequently asked questions about gas credit cards.
1. Best for Earning Points or Cash: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
2. Best for Everyday Cash Back: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
3. Best for Flexible Earning: Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card
4. Best Cash Back: PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature®Card
If your goal is to rack up as many rewards as possible on gas purchases, consider the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card. You’ll earn 5 points per dollar on gas at the pump, 3 points per dollar on groceries and 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else. Points are worth 1 cent apiece, so you’re getting about as high of a rewards rate on gas as possible.
Rewards Rate: The card offers the following rewards rates:
- 5x points per $1 on gas
- 3x points per $1 on groceries
- 1x point per $1 on all other purchases
Sign-Up Bonus: $100 statement credit after you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days. Also, an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 months.
Why We Like It: We like the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card because it focuses on giving you the best value at the pump. The only thing to keep in mind is that you need to join PenFed Credit Union in order to apply for the card. Fortunately, that can be as easy as a $17 donation to join one of the credit union’s participating organizations.
Who Should Use This Card? Households that bank with credit unions.
Annual Fee: $0
5. Best Travel Rewards: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
If you’re looking for a card that offers a lot of value and flexible redemption options — think cash back, gift cards, travel and more — consider the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card.
Rewards Rate: 3x points per dollar on several common spending categories, including:
- Dining out and ordering in
- Gas stations, rideshares and transit
- Flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
- Popular streaming services
There’s no cap on how much you can earn in bonus rewards, and you’ll get 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Sign-Up Bonus: 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. Plus, you’ll get an introductory 0% APR promotion on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months.
Why We Like It: We like the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card because it offers the potential for a lot of value for a card with no annual fee. Also, while the card offers points instead of straight cash back, you can use them to get cash back, book travel, buy gift cards and more — all at the same redemption rates. Some cards that allow you to use points to book travel will give you a lower redemption rate when you choose cash back.
Who Should Use This Card? Travelers
Annual Fee: $0
6. Best for Chase Ultimate Rewards Points: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Methodology: How We Chose the Top Gas Credit Cards
There are a lot of credit cards out there that offer bonus rewards on gas purchases or simply high rewards rates on every purchase you make. We picked our top five based on the overall value they can provide. We looked at the other bonus rewards rates the cards offer and focused on cards that provide extra cash back or points on purchases you’re likely going to make regularly.
In general, we focused on credit cards with no annual fee, so you don’t have to worry about figuring out how to make the card worth it every year. But in the case of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, we chose it because it makes it easy to recoup the annual fee every year.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gas Credit Cards
What Is a Gas Credit Card?
A gas-branded credit card is one issued by the oil companies, usually in partnership with a bank. Many gas-branded cards can only be used at that fuel station, but research each fuel companies’ offerings for exact rules. For example, Shell offers a Fuel Rewards Credit Card and a Fuel Rewards Mastercard. The latter can be used on non-Shell purchases and earns rebates on dining and select expenditures.
Gas credit cards usually do not have any fees and allow you to save a set amount of cents off of each gallon of gas purchased. Some cards come with rewards on non-fuel purchases made at the fuel station too.
How Do Gas Credit Cards Work?
Gas credit cards work similarly to a store credit card. For example, if you have a Kohl’s or JCPenney credit card, you know that your card is only useful at those stores. Like all other credit cards, you will be required to pay a monthly minimum and any amount that is carried over to the next month will earn interest. Gas credit cards generally have a higher interest rate than average rewards cards.
Here are some of the most popular gas credit cards available:
- Shell Fuel Rewards Credit Card
- Techron Advantage Credit Card
- ExxonMobil Smart Card
- Sunoco Rewards Credit Card
Since oil-company cards are limited, individuals with fair credit have an easier time being approved. Gas cards are a good option for those who have fair credit or those who are looking to rebuild their credit. Since you can only use the card for gas, it will be harder to rack up the bill, making it easier to keep track of.
Rewards Credit Cards Versus Oil-Company Gas Cards
So, you know you want to be rewarded at the pump, but you still aren’t sure if you should go for a rewards card with gas perks or an oil-company card? We’ll help you do the math.
Many rewards cards will allow you to earn points or cash back on the amount you spend on fuel. You will earn the same percentage back on any gas station you use, so you don’t have to be a company loyalist. Even better, a rewards credit card comes with other perks, as well as more opportunities to earn points or cash back on other spending. You can choose a card based on your spending habits to reap the most rewards.
Co-branded oil-company cards typically offer cents off per gallon or cents per gallon rebates. Gas credit cards that are more than just loyalty rewards credit cards tied specifically to the gas station will allow cardholders to earn cents per gallon per dollar spent elsewhere. For example, the Techron Advantage Visa card allows cardholders to earn 20 cents per gallon at Chevron and Texaco for the 90 days after opening an account.
There are pros and cons to both cards and the right card depends on your unique spending situation and credit score.
Gas Card Pros:
- Better chance of approval: Individuals who are working to rebuild their credit or who have been rejected from popular rewards credit cards are more likely to be approved for a gas card.
- Card limit: If you are afraid of overspending, gas cards come with smaller credit limits, so there is a less likely chance you will get yourself into unbearable debt.
- Comes with limited protection: Most gas cards come with some level of fraud protection which makes it a better choice than using a debit card at the pump.
- Cents off each gallon: Gas cards give you the opportunity to save money on what you are already spending. You might only earn an additional $50 to $100 per year, but that is more than if you were to pay with your debit card.
Gas Card Cons:
- High APRs (interest rates): You don’t want to hold a balance on these cards because the interest rates are high and will cost you more than any cents per gallon saved or earned.
- Limited rewards
- Reward caps
Reward Credit Card Pros:
- Earn more back on a variety of spending
- Redeem rewards on what you want, not just gas
- Better APRs (interest rates)
Reward Card Cons:
- Stricter credit approval
- Many cards come with an annual fee
How To Choose a Credit Card for Gas Rewards
When choosing the right card for your gas rewards, don’t just look at how much you earn for spending. You want to compare these important factors too:
- Rewards cap: Is there a limit to how much you can earn on your annual gas spending? Some cards might offer 5% cash back on gas for one quarter’s spending (usually three months) and then drop it down to 1%.
- Annual fee: Annual fees are not an automatic deal-breaker, but you need to weigh the card’s perks against the fee.
- Redemption value: How can you spend your gas rewards? Cards with redemption flexibility will allow you to use your rewards to benefit your budget rather than being wasted on programs that use points for magazine subscriptions.
- Membership requirements: Some credit cards have warehouse membership fees and rules attached to it. For example, the Costco Citi card requires a $60 annual Costco membership, but you can earn 4% on gas purchases at other fuel stations.
How Much Money Can a Gas Credit Card Save You?
On average, Americans spend $2,109 per year on gas. Your number might be higher if you are a regular commuter or drive a large vehicle. With an average gas price of $2.50 per gallon, that comes out to almost 844 gallons per year. Using those stats, here’s how much you would save with a gas credit card versus a rewards credit card:
- A gas card that saves 5 cents per gallon: $42.20
- A rewards card that earns 2% back: $42.18
- A rewards card that earns 3% back: $63.27
- A rewards card that earns 5% back: $105.45
Choosing a rewards card that earns 2% or more cash back on gas will save you more on your gas purchases. While gas spending is pricey, there is probably another spending category (such as groceries or dining out) that you spend more on. Look for a card that will reward you both for gas purchases and your other frequent purchases.