Are gas prices too high for you? There’s a way to help lessen the costs of getting from A to B every day. A credit card with great gas rewards will do the trick. Just apply for a gas credit card, start using it for your every day purchase, build up some points and get some cash back. It’s that easy. The hardest part will be deciding which credit card is best for you. Whether you’re a prolific driver, or just a driver that wants to save on cash, you can find a card that will match your needs. Here are some of the best gas credit cards (as of June 2013) and the pros and cons of each to help you with your decision-making process.
Pentagon Federal Platinum Rewards
What it is: This is a Visa card issued by PenFed, a federal credit union. Using this card, you can earn 5 percent cash back on gas purchases paid at the pump. You can also earn 0.25 percent cash back on all other purchases.
Sign-up bonus: None.
Pros: This card offers the most cash back per dollar spent on gas out of the five mentioned in this article. In addition, there is no annual fee. There is no maximum for the amount of rewards you can earn and you get your cash back automatically.
Cons: There is a 9.99% introductory rate through June 2014. This is the interest rate you pay on your monthly bill. While this is low compared to other credit card annual percentage rates, it’s still not ideal if you plan to carry a balance. If you plan to pay off your credit card each month to carry a $0 balance, then APRs shouldn’t matter to you. Another downside to this credit card is that you have to join the PenFed credit union first. This will cost you a small fee.
What it is: With the Chase Freedom card, issued by JPMorgan Chase, you can earn points that can be redeemed for cash. One percent cash back equals one point. One point equals $0.01 cash back. For example, 2,000 points can be redeemed for a $20 check. You will be able to earn up to 5 percent cash back, which combines 1 percent on all purchases and 4 percent in bonus categories. The bonus category cash back rewards are subject to a $1,500 maximum per quarter. The bonus categories change each quarter and can include gas stations, restaurants, movie theaters, Starbucks and others.
Sign-up bonus: When you sign up for this card, you will receive 10,000 bonus points, which can be redeemed for a $100 check. To qualify to receive the bonus, you must make purchases worth $500 or more during the first three months after you open your account.
Pros: Gas stations will usually be a bonus category for two quarters each year, which means you can earn 5 percent of your money back on gas purchases for six months out of the year. In addition, you don’t have to pay any annual fees for this card. It also offers a 0 percent annual percentage rate (the amount in interest you pay each billing cycle) for the first 15 billing cycles your account is open.
Cons: After 15 months, your APR will be 13.99 percent to 22.99 percent, based on your creditworthiness. So if you plan to carry a balance on your credit card, this may not be the best choice.
TrueEarnings Business Card from Costco and American Express
What it is: This is a card offered by Costco and American Express that will allow you to earn cash back on certain purchases you make. It’s got the next highest percentage rate for earning cash off of gas purchases. You can earn 4 percent at any U.S. gas station, including Costco, for purchases up to $7,000 per year. You can earn 2 percent cash back at restaurants and on certain travel purchases, and you can earn 1 percent cash back on all other purchases, including at CostCo.
Sign-up bonus: None
Pros: This card offers one of the higher percentage rates for cash back on gas. It also does not include an annual fee, and it offers 24/7 Identity Theft Assistance, as well as car insurance, travel insurance, and roadside assistance. In addition, your introductory APR is 0 percent for the first six months.
Cons: You need to be a member of CostCo to get this card. The base membership costs $50 and you can put up to two people on one card. If you already are a member, this card would be great for you. If you aren’t a member and don’t want to be, then you might want to consider other cards. Another downside of this card is the APR hikes up to 15.24 percent after your first six months.
American Express Blue Cash Everyday
What it is: This card will get you 2 percent cash back at gas stations as well as certain department stores. You can also get 3 percent cash back on purchases made in supermarkets and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. Rewards are capped at up to $6,000 per year in purchases.
Sign-up bonus: You can earn 100 reward dollars after spending $1,000 within the first three months of using your card, if this is the first American Express card you’ve signed up for.
Pros: This is a good card if you also purchase a lot of groceries. It also has no annual fee and offers 0 percent APR for the first 12 months. Like the other AmEx card, this also offers roadside assistance, car insurance, travel insurance and a 24/7 global assist hotline.
Cons: This card limits the amount of rewards you can earn. It also hikes up the APR after the first year to somewhere between 12.99 percent to 21.99 percent.
BankAmericard Cash Rewards
What it is: With this card you can earn 2 percent cash back on groceries and 3 percent cash back on gas for the first $1,500 in combined gas and grocery purchases each quarter. On all other purchases, you can earn 1 percent cash back, with no limitations.
Sign-up bonus: You can earn $100 cash rewards bonus if you make at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days.
Pros: This is another card that’s good for those who spend a lot of money on gas and groceries. One benefit it has over the AmEx Blue Cash card is that you only have to spend $500—not $1,000—in the first 90 days to earn the $100. It also has no annual fee and a 0 percent APR for the first 12 statement closing dates. The rewards you earn are automatic and they don’t expire. You can also choose how you want to receive your cash—whether it’s a direct deposit into an account or a statement credit.
Cons: After the first 12 billing periods, your APR will jump to 12.99 percent to 22.99 percent. And like the AmEx Blue Cash card, this has the same limitation amount for how much you can earn.
Gas prices are high, but you can make the best out of an expensive necessity. Earn your money back for doing something you have to do anyway. These are some of the best cards for earning the most money back on gas purchases, but if you didn’t see one you like, you can ask around at various banks to see what sort of gas rewards they offer.