With the national gas price average hovering around $2.50 a gallon this year, filling up the tank can feel like a pretty heavy blow to your wallet. But most of us can’t afford to live without gas, either. Luckily, there are plenty of fuel rewards programs out there that can save you money at the pump.
We’ve broken down some of the best fuel rewards programs available to help you identify the ones that’ll work best for you.
Gas Station-Specific Loyalty Programs
Most major gas station chains have their own loyalty programs. Each one is slightly different, but the basic gist is the same. When you buy gasoline (or sometimes drinks and snacks) from that station, you earn points that can then be cashed in for savings at the pump. Many of the rewards programs also partner with local grocery stores, converting purchases made at those stores to points, as well.
Here are a few station-specific fuel rewards programs that present the best value to consumers:
Shell Fuel Rewards
Shell Fuel Rewards has two tiers: Gold and Silver. With Silver, you receive $0.03 off per gallon of gas at Shell stations. Gold membership increases that savings to $0.05 per gallon. All you have to do is swipe your Fuel Rewards card or enter a unique ID every time you fill up.
In order to achieve Gold status, you have to buy at least five gallons of gas at a Shell station six or more times in a three-month window. But currently, everyone who joins the program gets six months of Gold membership automatically.
We don’t have exact details on how it will work yet, but it appears to offer $0.05 fuel savings per gallon, along with other rewards, for customers who pay at BP stations using the app.
QuikTrip QT Rewards
QuikTrip operates in several states, including Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona and the Carolinas, to name a few. Many QuikTrip locations offer fuel rewards programs, but program participation varies by region. For example, in Wichita, KS the QT Rewards program offers one point for every two gallons of gas you buy at QuikTrip, or every $2 spent on qualifying purchases at participating retailers. Points stack, and each point can be redeemed with a card you swipe at the pump for $0.01 off per gallon of gasoline (up to 20 gallons per transaction).
QuikTrips in other areas have different rewards programs, often partnering with local grocery store chains to offer fuel savings for qualifying grocery purchases. If you fill up at QuikTrip, check your local QT location to see what rewards programs are available in your area.
Exxon Mobil Rewards+
Exxon Mobil Rewards+ gets you three points per gallon of gasoline at Exxon Mobil stations and two points for every dollar spent on drinks and snacks. Points can be collected and redeemed through an app or with a rewards card. At 100 points, you get $1 off everything, including gas, car washes and snacks at Exxon Mobil stations.
For a limited time, anyone who signs up is automatically upgraded to the Premium membership. This membership tier typically requires filling up at least three times a month with premium gas, and members receive double the points on premium gas.
MotoMart Magic Wand
The MotoMart Magic Wand card connects to your personal checking account. It is essentially a debit card that can only be used for gas at MotoMart locations, which are located throughout the Midwest. The big perk here is you save $0.06 per gallon every time you use it without having to worry about accruing points.
Grocery Store Rewards Programs
Many grocery stores partner with gas brands to offer fuel savings when you shop. These loyalty programs are generally tied to both a specific chain of grocery stores and a specific gas station. However, some simply partner with the station’s existing fuel rewards program.
Many regional grocery store chains also have fuel saver programs, such as the Cub Foods or HyVee Fuel Saver programs, so check your local grocery store to see what deals they offer.
Kroger Fuel Points
With the Kroger Fuel Points program, just spend $100 on groceries and scan your Shoppers Card to earn $0.10 off per gallon at participating BP and Shell stations, as well as most gas stations within the Kroger family.
You’ll also earn points on qualifying purchases at the pharmacy, and double points on gift card purchases.
Safeway just for U
The Safeway just for U program also offers $0.10 per gallon in savings for every $100 spent on groceries. Just enter the phone number you register with at checkout to earn your rewards.
The just for U program offers double points on gift card purchases, as well. You can stack rewards to get up to $0.20 off per gallon in a single transaction at Chevron, Texaco and Sunaco stations. Alternatively, get up to $1 off per gallon at Safeway stations. Just be sure to keep track of your rewards, as they expire if they aren’t used by the end of the following calendar month.
The simplest of all available fuel programs, Costco just has cheaper gas — anywhere from $0.03 to $0.15 cheaper than other stations. The catch is that you have to be a Costco member to fill up there. And a standard Costco membership costs $60 per year.
If we use The Motley Fool’s estimate that the average American purchases 656 gallons of gasoline annually, the amount you save by filling up at Costco can easily cover around a third of your membership cost, even if you only ever get a $0.03 discount. You can also opt for a $120 Executive membership, which offers 2% back on most purchases — including gas.
Pay with GasBuddy
GasBuddy is an app that compares nearby fuel prices and helps you find the cheapest gas around. You can also sign up for the Pay with GasBuddy program, which links your checking account to the GasBuddy app. It then sends you a card that works like a debit card, pulling money from your connected checking account when you pay. In turn, you’ll save $0.05 per gallon at the pump. (Just remember funds can take up to three business days to come out of your checking account when using Pay with GasBuddy.)
Most of the rewards programs we’ve covered here save you money at the time of purchase, but the Trunow app is a little different. Instead of saving money upfront, you take a picture of your receipt and upload it to the app to get a 1% to 2% return on your gas purchases.
The return savings can be used on purchases at participating retailers, restaurants or on future tanks of gas. It can also be “cashed out” via PayPal for 50% of its value. So if you had accrued $10 in savings via the app, you could get $5 directly into your PayPal account.
The best thing about the Trunow app is you can use it in addition to whatever other fuel savings program you choose — it isn’t an either/or proposition. However, the full savings you get from Trunow can only be used at participating stores, so check the app to see what’s available near you.
Which Fuel Savings Program Should You Choose?
Ultimately, the program that is best for you will depend on your gas buying habits. If you always fill up at the same station, for example, then go with a rewards program tied to that brand. By the same token, if you’re favorite grocery store has a program that rewards you for your purchases, that’s probably the way to go.
Whatever program you choose, you can stay up to date on the best deals for gas on our Gas Coupons and Deals page. And once you’ve selected your stores of choice, set up some Deal Alerts so you can stay on top of their sales and double down on savings.