Top Credit Cards for Gas Purchases - Running with Miles
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Top Credit Cards for Gas Purchases

Top Credit Cards for Gas Purchases
Written by Dustin

Gas is a one of the top expenses for people, so here is my list of top credit cards that earn extra on gas purchases.

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If you have a car, you need gas for that car, it’s pretty simple. According to the Bureau of  Labor Statistics, the average American spends about $2,000 on gas per year. You could be over or under this amount, you definitely want to make sure you are maximizing your rewards. With so many cards that have gas as a “bonus category,” here is my list of top credit cards for gas purchases.

Top Credit Cards for Gas Purchases

I would like to say these are in no particular ranking order. Also, I know you can  use other bonus categories, such as groceries with your Blue Cash Preferred, to earn  more for gas (buy gas gift cards). I have excluded these back door ways from the list. This list includes the bonus categories for gas purchases.

USAA Cashback Plus American Express

Top credit cards for gas purchases

If you are a member or USAA or can become one, this card should definitely be on your list. It isn’t discussed much in the travel community, but it offers a lot of value for gas.

The USAA Cash Back Plus American Express earns 5% cash back on gas purchases, up to $3,000 per year. There is no quarter limit to worry about with this card, since the $3,000 limit is annual.

I think 5% cash back is pretty hard to beat in general, but it is even better when there is no annual fee to earn high rewards. Unlike other cards issued from American  Express, this 5% bonus is not limited to the US only. This would also be a good card choice to use abroad since there is no foreign transaction fees.

Conclusion

Earning 5% back, with no annual fee, or no foreign transaction fee is definitely a top card. Based on the average spending, of $2,000, you would earn $100 cash back every year with this card.

PenFed Platinum Rewards

Top credit cards for gas purchases

You need to be a member of PenFed in order to be eligible for this card. Fortunately, you can join for a one time $17 donation to two different groups. Once you pay you dues, then you are able to join this credit union.

The PenFed Platinum Rewards earns 5 points per dollar spent on gas. Now, when I hear 5x, it immediately grabs my attention. Don’t let this confuse you though, since 5x doesn’t mean earning 5% cash back. This is a very valuable card, but 5 points per dollar really equated to 4.25%. Still a stellar amount, but PenFed mask it well by saying 5 points per dollar.

This card comes with no limit to the amount of points you can earn from gas purchases, no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. So earning 4.25% cash back is a solid amount, especially if you are traveling abroad.

Conclusion:

Earning 4.25% cash back with no cap to rewards is great for someone who has a high gas bill. Add in the fact there are no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee, and you have yourself a solid card worth using. Based on the average American spending, you will earn 10,000 points per year, which equates to $85.

Citi Thank You Premier

Top credit cards for gas purchases

I feel this card fell out of the spotlight once the bonus went away/reduced and is looked upon as the little brother of the Citi Prestige. For a point earning card, this is definitely a great card to use for anyone who collects Thank You Points, or uses Flying Blue/Singapore Airline Miles consistently.

The Citi Thank You Premier earns 3 points per dollar spent on gas purchases. This is a fantastic amount of points to earn for gas! Other point cards are either rotating or offer less return on this purchase.

Depending on who you speak with, they value points differently.  To keep things simple, when redeeming through the Citi Travel Portal, they are worth 1.25 cents per point. This means your returns is a minimum of 3.75% on gas purchases. It could be more depending how you redeem your points, but I would say that is the floor value on these points.

The card does come with a $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year. After year 1, you’d need to decide if the card is worth the fee. With so many cards out there that earn bonuses on gas purchases, you need to run your numbers on the cost vs benefit of this card.

This card comes with no foreign transaction fees and does not limit gas rewards to the US.

Conclusion:

For someone who wants to earn points for their travels, this card is one of the best cards for gas purchases at 3x. After the first year, you need to weigh the fee vs the benefits of earning 3x on gas. Earning a minimum amount of 3.75% back on your travels is pretty solid, especially when these points could yield a higher return.

Based on average American spending, you will earn 6,000 Thank You Points. This is worth a minimum of $75, with the potential to be worth more, depending on how you redeem your points.

Bank of America Cash Rewards

Top credit cards for gas purchases

 

This Bank of America card doesn’t get much loved compared to others, but this offers some solid value.

The Cash Rewards credit card offers 3% cash back on all gas purchases up to $2,500 per quarter. If you were to max out the category quarterly, you could $75 per quarter. This could get even better for some.

Bank of America has their Preferred Rewards program, where you could potentially earn 75% more rewards. This is all dependent on the amount of money you have with them.

If you were to reach the threshold to earn an extra 75%, you would earn 5.25% cash back on all gas purchases (up to $2,500 per quarter). If you have an account with them, you’ll earn an extra 10% if you aren’t a member of their Preferred Rewards program. This would yield 3.3% cash back on all gas purchases.

Include the fact this card has no annual this is another option for gas purchases. I would leave this card at home though if traveling abroad, since it has a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Conclusion:

Earning 3% or more (depending on your banking relationship with Bank of America), is still very solid. If you are able to earn the 75% bonus, then you are earning an insane 5.25% on gas. For most, I don’t think that is the case, but earning a fair amount of cash back with no annual fee is a great way to travel for less.

Based on average American spending you can $60 to $105 per year with the Bank of American Cash Reward card.

American Express Everyday Preferred:

Top Credit Cards for Gas Purchases

If Membership Rewards are your favorite point currency, this might be on your list.

The American Express Everyday Preferred earns 2 points per dollar on all gas purchases. If you hit the threshold of 30 transactions in a month, you will earn a 50% bonus on all points, making it 3 points per dollar.

Earning 3 Membership Reward points per dollar is a great amount to earn for gas.

This card does come with a $95 annual fee that is not waived for the first year. To make it even worse, American Express has a 2.7% foreign transaction fee on this card. On top of that the gas bonus category is only useful here in the US.

There is no limit to the amount of Membership Reward points you can earn with this card on gas purchases.

American Express floor value is 1 cent per point, since that is the value you’d receive using them for 3rd party gift cards. Let’s not consider the floor the 0.5 cents for cashing them out, ok 🙂

Conclusion:

I would hope if you have this card, you are hitting the 30 transactions per month. This would earn you 3x on all US gas purchases. Leave this card behind if traveling abroad due to it’s foreign transaction fee and lack of bonus category outside the US

Based on the average American spending, you will earn 4,000 to 6,000 Membership Reward points. This could be worth$40 to 60 if redeemed through Amex Travel Portal, or 3rd party gift cards. If you were to utilize transfer partners, this could yield a higher value.

Chase Freedom/ Discover It

I lump these together, because they are only worth considering for the quarter they are 5%. Outside of that, these 2 cards should not be used for much of anything.

Earning 5% cash back on up to $1,500 for the quarter is pretty great. That said these 2 cards get a lot of air time (mostly the Chase Freedom) and for gas purchases they are only beneficial for 90 days of the year.

Both of these cards come with no annual fee. The Chases Freedom does have a 3% foreign transaction fee and should be left behind if traveling abroad. The Discover It does not have any foreign transaction fees, but the acceptance rate is low outside of the US.

Conclusion:

By themselves, these 2 cards aren’t great outside of their 5% rotating window. It also doesn’t help that over the last 2 years the bonus categories have overlapped for quarter 1.

Based on the average American spending, you’d earn about $25 cash back for the quarter you could use this card. You can buy $1,500 worth of gas gift cards and you’d earn $75 total.

Overall:

There are so many cards that earn a bonus for gas spending. Depending on your goals, there is a card out there for you. You should definitely weigh the fees of the cards against others that have high rewards, yet no fee.

Some of these cards on this list don’t get much attention, but I think they offer better value than the typical ones you see advertised.

What card do you use for gas? Did your gas card make the cut?

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About the author

Dustin

After completing 6 years of pharmacy school, I finally had the time to travel. I started investigating ways to travel for less and when I redeemed my first award flight for my honeymoon, I knew I was hooked! Fast forward a couple of years and places I had never dreamed of visiting like Budapest, Honolulu, Bermuda and many other places where all within my reach, and for little to no money out of my pocket. Now, I have collected well over a million points and miles, and try to help people travel for less on their wallet.

4 Comments

    • Hey Tro,

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it! There are some good cards out there, not all are advertised heavily! Any other “top card” ideas you’d like to see?

      Thanks for reading!
      Dustin

    • Hey R,

      I thought about putting this card on the list. The fact you need to be a Costco member didn’t bother me, but there was one big reason it didn’t make my list. The cash back issue for this card is issued annually. Although 4% is a great amount of cash back, waiting a year for those rewards seems quite long. If you are ok with waiting for the rewards and shop at Costco, then it is a solid earner for gas. If you use it only for gas (not shop at Costco), you would need to take into account the cost for a Costco membership as it would be an indirect annual fee. Which would reduce the cash back percentage you’d earn.

      Thanks for reading!
      Dustin

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