Looking For A Good Reward Credit Card For Gas Purchases

At the end of last year, I reported that we were the proud owner of a new camper which will become our main source of vacation time starting this upcoming summer.

A few days ago, I started having a mild panic attack when I looked at the gas price situation and some of the surrounding news.  In Michigan, gas prices have gone up around 30 cents over the past couple of weeks.  It seems every year the gas price rise starts earlier and earlier in the year, and the projections get a bit higher for the summer projections.

This year, people are already talking about $5 gas.  Thinking about the cost associated with towing a camper, it seems that any ‘savings’ we are getting on paying for cheap campground accommodations would be negated by higher gas prices.  The vehicle we tow with gets about 20MPG regularly, and I’m assuming that will drop significantly given that we’ll be towing another several thousand pounds.

I finally calmed down when I realized a few things:

  • We usually do a good amount of driving anyways, so while there will be additional costs due to the reduced mileage and potential higher gas prices, the difference won’t be as bad as I’m probably thinking.
  • I can take this as an opportunity.

This second aspect actually calmed me down and got me a bit excited.

See, right now, we pay for gas and many other regular costs on our Citi Dividends Master Card.  This is a cash back rewards card that offers 1% cash back on all purchases, and 5% cash back on rotating categories that change every three months.  Since there is no annual cost for the card and we pay our balance in full, this is just ‘extra’ cash, which we’ve used to buy new TVs and other ‘luxury’ items that, in essence, become ‘free’.

So, back to the opportunity.

What this gives me is an opportunity to see if there is a better card that I can use for rewards on gas purchases.  Because, I know there are rewards cards all over the place, but because I’ve been satisfied until now with the simple 1%, I haven’t done much digging.

But, since I know I’ll be spending more on gas than ever before, it’s definitely time to start looking.

Here are the things I’ll be looking for:

  • Cash back rewards.  I want to keep it simple.  No ‘points’ or anything else or having to ‘spend’ the rewards with a certain group of retailers.  Show me the money.
  • Rewards for gas greater than 1%.  Unless I can find this, there’s really no value in changing cards or adding another card.
  • Not tied to one particular station.  Our camping journeys will likely take us all around the state and maybe even to other parts of the country.  I don’t want a card tied to one particular station since I have no assurance of knowing what station we’ll be fueling up at on any given trip.
  • No annual fee. I’ve never paid for the privilege of using a credit card, and I’d prefer not to begin doing so now.

So, savvy readers, do you know of any credit cards that fit the bill?  Anything else I should be looking for? 

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16 thoughts on “Looking For A Good Reward Credit Card For Gas Purchases

  1. Gas prices make me want to cry lately. I find that some rewards cards offers are posted by or on the gas pumps, so keep an eye out when you’re filling up.

    I have a membership with a gas station which gives me 4% back on gas purchases regardless of whether I use a credit card. It’s awesome!

    • Yeah, there are offers for individual stations, but I don’t want to limit myself to one station since when we’re traveling, it’s a crap shoot as to what stations will be available for us. I also don’t want to get a whole slew of cards, either 🙂

    • That’s a good deal but I’m looking for something a little more consistent. My Citi card does the rotating categories thing, and as you’d expect, gas typically doesn’t get the summer months treatment since they know that’s when people buy the most gas and they’d have to pony up the most rewards.

  2. Hey Beagle, I wrote a post last year about my journey in finding a 5% back on gas card . The post is at this link:

    It is a Pen Fed card, and as a civilian I had to join the National Military family organization for 20 bucks a year donation. So that was the only “cost” which will pay for itself quickly. I don’t know how hard it is to qualify. Good luck.

    • Yes, get the PenFed card, for 5% reward on gas every day, no rotating categories. If they still take applications for their current version, it’ll be automatic cashback every month. Come Feb. 1 the new version will be by prepaid debit card, for which you will have to wait to have a substantial amount accumulated (I heard $100 worth). But the new version also adds 3% for supermarkets. If you are OK with waiting for a $100 debit card, that may be worth it.

  3. Sallie Mae offers a 2% cash back card on anything you purchase. The redemption tier is high though – 25,000 points or $12,500 of spend. We have a Ralphs (Kroger) supermarket in Los Angeles. I buy Shell Gas cards with my Sallie Mae 2% card, get 2x to 4x in-store rewards, and then get $0.10 off a gallon at Shell if I enter in my Ralphs membership number (at a cost of 100 points). So, I get anywhere from a 4% to 6% rebate plus $0.10 off for each gallon I pump.

    PayPal debit card is 1% cash back, but the upside is the low redemption threshold. Any rebate, regardless of the amount, will be sent to your account at the end of the month.

    • Sounds like a good system and that would work for the everyday driving, but since I have no idea what stations will be available when we’re on our various camping trips, I wouldn’t want to limit myself to one card. The Citi card I have now already pays 1% so that sounds equivalent to the PayPal card.

  4. Hey Beagle, Are you still a Costo member? If so, the Costco Amex card gives you 3% on all gas purchases, not just at Costco. There’s no annual fee for the Amex card if you’re a Costco member. Your reward comes at the end of the year in the form of a check automatically that can be redeemed at Costco for cash or mechandise. We have this card and have gotten nice sized checks in the past and always cashed it out when we got it.
    https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/
    This site (recently updated) compares a few different top gas, including some mentioned in others’ comments.

    • Thanks. My dad suggested the same thing and I’m pretty sure that’s what we’re going to go with. We were at Costco last night but I didn’t stop and take care of it because our baby girl was pretty unhappy by the end of the trip, we decided to hike it. But, that probably will be the final decision.

  5. Rewards cards can be great – but I’m still the person paying cash at the pump! For me it means zero bookkeeping, zero payments to track, and yet… zero rewards. Great post – it made me consider whether searching out an appropriate gas/rewards card might be for me. Thanks!

  6. x2 on the costco card. Great for gas but be aware that you only earn 3% on the first $3k of gas per year. With an RV, you could blow by that pretty quickly I am guessing.

    My latest gas trick is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred with gives 6% groceries and 3% for gas. Better still, I typically fill up at my local grocery store’s gas station since they seem to have low gas prices. Each month I buy gift cards for their gas station at the grocery store, resulting in 6% on gas most of the time.

    • My commute is five miles round trip and my wife stays at home with the kids, so the gas threshold probably shouldn’t be a huge issue.

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