Best Credit Cards for Gas in 2017
One of the most common expenses in the average American's monthly budget is keeping gas in the tank. If you live in a car-centric city like I do, getting even a few cents per gallon off your gas costs can mean big savings over the course of a year. Fortunately, there are a few credit cards out there that can save you up to five percent on every dollar spent on gas purchases. For a more generalized roundup of great credit card deals, see our article on the Best Credit Cards of 2017.
Best Credit Cards for Gas 2017
Click on a credit card below to read more about how you can best use them for gas station purchases.
|Credit Card||Gas Purchase Bonus|
|PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Visa® Plus||5% Cash Back (unlimited)||Apply|
|Costco Anywhere Visa® Card||4% Cash Back (up to $7,000 per year)||Apply|
|Chase Freedom Card||5% Cash Back (one quarter per year)||Apply|
|BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card||3% Cash Back (up to $2,500 per quarter)||Apply|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||3% Cash Back (unlimited)||Apply|
In terms of everyday cash back, the PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Visa® Plus is our top pick for a credit card for gas purchases, at 5% unlimited cash back. There are two easy-to-hit eligibility requirements that are no-brainers if you're a big gas spender. First, you'll have to be a member of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, which you can join by donating $17 to Voices for American Troops or the National Military Family Association (a one-time fee). Then, you'll need an active account to max out their bonus and avoid the $25 annual fee, which you can qualify by having:
PenFed Active Account Qualifications
- Active checking account with direct deposit ($250 min.)
- Money Market Certificate or IRA Certificate
- Installment loan
- Equity Loan or Equity Line of Credit
- Thrifty Credit Service
- Personal Line of Credit
- Money Market Savings Accounts
Jumping through these hoops is worth it for 5% cash back on all your gas purchases, and paired with its other cash back bonuses, like 3% at grocery stores, this card is our favorite.
Highlights from the PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Visa® Plus
- 5% unlimited cash back (after meeting eligibility requirements).
- 3% cash back at grocery stores
- No annual fee (after meeting eligibility requirements).
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card from Citi is another great card for gas, provided you live near and use Costco for your shopping needs. The card offers 4% cash back on all gas purchases, up to $7,000 per year, but the real value can found in the fine print. Many gas cards on this list won't allow you to receive the bonus cash back if you purchase from superstore or grocery store pumps, which often have much cheaper gas than, say, a Shell station. This card makes one key exception – Costco gas pumps – which allow you to save 4% on already competitively priced gas. The high limit for the bonus, $7,000 per year, also means the bonus cash back won't run out anytime soon.
Some other notable features of this card? No annual fee if you have a Costco membership. Also, you'll get 3% cash back at all restaurants and eligible travel purchases worldwide, 2% cash back at all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com, and 1% cash back on everything else.
Highlights from the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card
- 4% cash back on all gas purchases (including Costco), up to $7,000 per year.
- 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases.
- 2% cash back on all other purchases at Costco and Costco.com.
- 1% cash back on everything else.
- No annual fee with Costco membership.
The Chase Freedom Card is a good pick for a gas credit card because it has no annual fee, and for one quarter every year (January to March in 2017), it offers 5% cash back on the first $1,500 in combined purchases on gas and local commuter transportation. While it's not a year-round discount like the Costco card, other quarters offer strong 5% bonuses as well, like grocery stores in Quarter 2 of 2017. Plus, there's a $150 sign-up bonus when you spend $500 on the card in the first three months of card membership.
One way to receive even more than 5% return on your gas purchases with the Chase Freedom card is by pairing it with any card that earns Ultimate Rewards points. While the Freedom card alone is strictly a cash back card, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can transfer your cash back rewards at $0.01 per point into your Ultimate Rewards account. From there, you can expand the value way beyond one cent per point in value when you redeem for free travel (just see what I did with some of my Ultimate Rewards points in Australia). If you're interested in learning more about the Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve cards, check out our post on the Top Airline Credit Cards of 2017.
Keep in mind, Chase does have another Freedom card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ Card, which offers a strict 1.5% cash back on every purchase (no rotating categories). While the bonus might not be as high during the gas bonus quarter, there's no cap to the cash back that you receive with the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ Card (and it offers the same sign-up bonus of $150 after $500 in spend, with no annual fee). These rewards can also be transferred to your Ultimate Rewards account for maximizing your bonus. For some, this hassle-free card may be a better pick.
Chase Freedom Card Highlights
- 5% cash back at a rotating list of categories each quarter
- $150 cash back on the first $500 in purchases in the first three months after account opening
- No annual fee
Of all the cards on this list, the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card provides you with the greatest opportunity for the most cash back per year on gas purchases. You receive 3% cash back on gas purchases, 2% cash back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back on everything else, up to $2,500 in combined purchases per quarter, as a regular card member. That means up to $300 back each year on gas, if you spend the entire $10,000 limit each year at your preferred gas store (keep in mind, this doesn't apply to wholesale club or superstore gas pumps). Plus, there's an easy-to-hit sign-up bonus of $100 if you spend $500 in the first three months of card membership.
If you are a Bank of America banking or Preferred Rewards client, though, you can stretch these rewards even further. If you have a checking or savings account with Bank of America (and many of you do – it's the second largest bank in the U.S.), you can transfer your cash back to your bank account for a 10% bonus on cash back. If you max out your gas bonus, that's $330 each year! If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client with between $25,000-$100,000 in combined balances between Bank of America banking and/or Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch investment accounts, you can increase that cash back to between 25%-75%. If you max out this relationship, with more than $100,000 in combined balances, your gas rewards cash back jumps to to $525 per year, or 5.25% cash back. Learn more about Preferred Rewards in our detailed breakdown of the program.
BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card Highlights
- 3% cash back on gas, 2% cash back on grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- $100 cash back after $500 in purchases in the first three months after account opening
- 10% cash back bonus for being a checking/savings customer, up to 75% bonus if a Preferred Rewards customer.
- No annual fee.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
We like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express because it gives you 3% cash back on all gas purchases, year round with no limit. Plus, there's a sign-up bonus of $150 back if you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership. So you could potentially get $180 on your first $1,000 in groceries back if you meet the spend requirement at gas stations.
The card also features 6% cash back at grocery stores (up to the first $4,000 per year) and 3% cash back at department stores. Finally, you'll earn 1% cash back on everything else. Keep in mind, there is a $95 annual fee, which is higher than other cards on this list, but if you're using the card as your primary grocery store and gas card, it's worth it. If not, you need to be spending more than $700 a month on gas to make this card worth the annual fee. If you're not keen on the annual fee, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers 2% cash back on gas purchases, but does not have a sign-up bonus.
It's also important to note that American Express does not count superstore or wholesale club (like Costco or Sam's Club) gas purchases towards the bonus, so if you do the bulk of your filling up at one of those types of stores, this might not be the card for you.
Highlights from the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- 3% cash back on all gas purchases (except superstore and wholesale clubs).
- 3% cash back on department stores
- 4% cash back at grocery stores (up to $4,000 per year)
- 1% cash back on everything else.
- $95 annual fee.
What about co-branded gas cards?
We realize many folks prefer to have a card from their gas station of choice, but the fact is that your total rewards will more than likely be greater with one of the above cards. The BP Visa Credit Card is not a bad choice if you are loyal to BP stations, as you'll receive a $0.25 per gallon discount (up to 20 gallons) for every $100 you spend at BP stations. If you max that discount out, it's like 5% cash back. But if you look at the benefits of the PenFed card above, it doesn't make much sense to apply for the BP card instead.
Other cards issued by ExxonMobil, Hess, Chevron, and Shell simply don't offer rewards as good as the cards we mention above. We can't recommend applying for those cards.
What's behind our selection methodology?
We pride ourselves on editorial independence at Brad's Deals, and we make sure to give our honest and researched recommendations, regardless of compensation from card issuers. The recommendations above are either based on my own personal experience with these cards, or based on the hundreds of discussions we've had with readers on what they need out of a gas credit card.