Before you pack up the car for a road trip or a family vacation, make sure you sign up for a gas rewards program. If you’re spending the money anyway, you might as well get something back.
During 2020 and 2021, exploring the great outdoors was all the rage and there’s no sign of it slowing down. According to Fortune, Club Wyndham and WorldMark by Wyndham saw a 71% increase in bookings in timeshares near U.S. national parks. And the top 10 trending destinations for 2022 are no longer metropolitan cities, having been replaced by outdoorsy places and beach towns.
Many vacationers making their way to national parks don’t fly – they drive. However, gas is considerably more expensive than it was just a year ago. With that in mind, it’s smart to look for ways to maximize purchases you plan to make during a road trip – particularly gas. Gas rewards programs allow you to do just that.
By and large, gas rewards programs offer discounts on gas purchases just for signing up and are free to join. These discounts can be small: Many programs only let you earn a few cents off per gallon if you’re not an elite member. However, some gas programs let you earn elite status if you buy enough gas to qualify on an ongoing basis.
According to our 2021 gas card survey, the most popular perk from gas cards by far is money off per gallon. In fact, 21 of the 26 cards we profiled offered gas discounts that range from 3 cents to 10 cents off per gallon. The average discount worked out to 6 cents off. If you’re a true road tripper, consider getting a gas credit card as well.
At the end of the day, it absolutely makes sense to sign up for a gas rewards program if you plan to take a road trip in the near future. The problem is figuring out which program to sign up for. To help in your search, we highlight the best gas rewards programs below.
BPme Rewards: Best for frequent BP and Amoco customers
Why we picked it: The BPme Rewards program works for BP and Amoco gas stations, both of which let you earn 5 cents off per gallon your first month as a member. Just keep in mind that you need to spend $100 per month on gas in the program to maintain the 5 cent per gallon discount in following months.
Signing up for BPme rewards is absolutely free, and the discount you earn is automatically applied to your purchase when you fill up on gas at BP or Amoco and identify yourself as a rewards member. Just enter the phone number associated with your account at the pump or by downloading the BPme mobile app.
- 5 cents per gallon
- Use BPme app to pay, view receipts, track rewards and more
- Compare competitor prices up to a two-mile radius with Price Match (99 cents a month)
- Must spend at least $100 per month to maintain 5 cent per gallon discount
Who should apply: People who drive everyday (taking kids to and from school, going into work, heading to the gym, etc.) will find it easy to maintain the $100 a month minimum. Frequent BP or Amoco customers will like this gas program as well.
Who should skip: Those who don’t drive every day (cardholders who work remotely or hybrid workers) who might find it difficult to spend $100 a month on gas should skip this program. Of course, those with no BP or Amoco fuel stations near them should skip as well.
Exxon Mobil Rewards+: Best for consumers who splurge for premium gasoline
Why we picked it: Exxon Mobil Rewards+ lets you earn discounts on fuel based on your spending, including gas and store purchases. At Exxon Mobile stations, you’ll earn 3 cents per gallon in points at the pump and 2 cents per dollar in points for in-store purchases of drinks and more.
This program also lets you achieve Premium status for even deeper discounts. To qualify for this status, you must fill up your vehicle at least three times a month with eight or more gallons of Synergy Supreme+ Premium Gasoline. After that, you’ll earn 6 cents per gallon in points at the pump while you maintain the status. This program is also free to sign up for, and you can monitor your rewards with the mobile app.
- 2 cents per dollar on in-store purchases
- 1 cent per gallon (or per dollar) more on every purchase if you link AARP and Exxon Mobil Rewards+ memberships
- 6 cents per gallon on all Synergy Supreme+ purchases for Premium members
- Use Exxon Mobil Rewards+ app to earn, track and redeem points
- Premium status only possible with Synergy Supreme+ premium gas (Octane 91-93) purchases
- Low base discount of 3 cents per gallon
Who should apply: Anyone who drives a luxury car that uses premium gas and fills up their tank at least three times a month will love this gas rewards program. Those who often buy snacks or drinks at gas station stores will also like the rewards on in-store purchases.
Who should skip: Those driving cars that use regular (Octane 87) or midgrade (Octane 88-90) gas will never be able to qualify for Premium status, so you should skip. Anyone who fills up fewer than three times a month will also find it difficult to maximize this gas program.
Shell Fuel Rewards: Best for stacking discounts
Why we picked it: Shell Fuel Rewards is rather multifaceted for a gas rewards program. The program starts you off with Gold status for six months, which qualifies you for 5 cents per gallon in discounts. To maintain Gold status, you must fill up your car with fuel at least six times during the final three months of your introductory period. If you don’t, you’ll revert to Silver status with the program, with which you’ll only get 3 cents per gallon off when you fill up at the pump.
- Up to 5 cents per gallon
- Stack gas discounts (like 10 cents a gallon) on other kinds of purchases with Fuel Rewards Savings
- In-store rewards on select items at participating Shell stores
- Must continually fill up gas six times every three months to maintain Gold Status
- Low discount for Silver Status (3 cents per gallon)
Who should apply: Frequent Shell customers and serious roadsters should definitely take advantage of its gas rewards program, especially those who fuel up around once a week. If you love stacking rewards (much like stacking coupons at the grocery store), you should also sign up. This program is also great for anyone leaving for a road trip soon since its rewards kick in right when you sign up.
Who should skip: Cardholders who aren’t confident they fill up their car six times in three months should skip. If you also don’t like maximizing rewards, you may not appreciate this program as well.
Speedway Speedy Rewards: Best for free stuff
Why we picked it: The Speedway Speedy Rewards program offers a ton of different ways to rack up points in its program, but each point does not translate into 1 cent in savings on gas. Instead, points are assigned to rewards you can redeem them for. For example, you might rack up 1,750 points over time, then redeem those points for 10 cents off per gallon during a single fill-up. However, you can also use your points for free stuff including snacks, gift cards and more.
Signing up is free and earning points is easy. For starters, you earn 10 points per gallon of fuel and 20 points per dollar spent on merchandise. You can also earn more points on special items that change over time, like a certain type of ice cream or an energy drink. Additionally, you can earn fuel rewards points by shopping with partners that include select grocery stores, Points.com, Quicken Loans and more.
- Flexible ways to earn points
- Multiple redemption options (free items from store, fuel discounts or gift cards)
- Speedy Rewards Clubs earn coupons for free products, bonus points or discounts
- Low value of each Speedy Rewards point
- Low earning rate on gas (10 points per gallon)
Who should apply: Infrequent drivers (or occasional road trippers) will like this program because your gas discounts depend on your spending at Speedway gas stations rather than pumps per month. If you like using rewards on free stuff instead of gas discounts you may also enjoy Speedway Speedy Rewards.
Who should skip: Cardholders who drive a lot may find the earning rate on fuel too slow and in that case should skip. Those who mainly prefer gas discounts over free items should also look elsewhere.
Kroger Fuel Rewards: Best for Kroger family of stores shoppers
Why we picked it: The Kroger Fuel Rewards program is mostly geared toward individuals who shop in the Kroger family of stores, which includes Ralphs, Dillons, King Soopers, Harris Teeter and more. This program is also free to sign up for and easy to understand.
You’ll start off by earning 1 fuel point for each dollar you spend in the Kroger family of stores, but you’ll also earn 2 fuel points per dollar when you buy gift cards. Qualifying prescriptions can net you another 50 fuel points. The Kroger Fuel Rewards program also lets you earn more fuel points when you shop online through its store or at Fred Meyers Jewelers.
- Multiple ways to earn fuel points
- Redeem fuel points at Kroger Family Stores Fuel Centers or select Shell stations (100 fuel points for 10 cents off a gallon)
- May earn unlimited fuel points each month
- Fuel points expire last day of following month (points earned in Sept. expire Oct. 31)
Who should apply: Cardholders who regularly shop at Kroger stores should definitely take advantage of this program. Kroger Fuel Rewards is always great for work from home or hybrid workers who don’t drive too often, so they can rack up points on other purchases, then spend on gas when needed.
Who should skip: Serious motorists won’t like that you must earn points from purchases before enjoying gas discounts, so if that sounds like you, you should opt out. Also, if you’re leaving on your road trip soon and don’t have time to rack up points, you should skip this one.
Circle K Easy Rewards: Best for simplicity
Why we picked it: Circle K Easy Rewards makes it easy to sign up for free online or through the mobile app. Once you become a member, you’ll earn 10 points per gallon on fuel and 20 points per dollar on drinks, snacks and more.
Once you earn 2,000 points, you’ll get $2 in rewards you can apply to your next purchase. You can also qualify for special sweepstakes and promotions as a member, although these offers vary.
- Simple, straightforward program
- 10 points per gallon and 20 points per dollar on snacks, food and non-alcoholic drinks
- Manage rewards through Circle K app
- No other way to earn points outside fuel and in-store purchases
- Only one redemption option
Who should apply: People who find most rewards programs overly complicated will enjoy this program’s clear-cut nature. Circle K Easy Rewards is also great for anyone who wants to redeem points on only fuel or in-store purchases, nothing more.
Who should skip: If you love flexibility, either in earning or redeeming points, you won’t like this gas rewards program. Those who prioritize gas discounts will find the rewards structure too slow to be worth it.
How to choose a gas rewards program
Since gas rewards programs are free to sign up for, you can theoretically create an account with all of them if you want to. However, that can be a lot to keep track of, so it may be better to narrow down your choices to just one or two.
How do you pick a gas rewards program? These tips can help:
- Figure out which gas station brand you spend the most with. Get out your bank statements or credit card bills to see which gas station brand you are spending the most with. If one particular gas station is most convenient to you based on where you live or work, see if their gas rewards program is a good fit for your needs.
- Take stock of your gas station spending. Also, consider how you spend money with various gas station brands. Do you fill up with fuel and leave right away? Or, are you someone who stops in gas stations for snacks, coffee or household essentials? Since some gas rewards programs reward those purchases differently, you should pick a program that will give you more discounts or points for how you spend.
- Decide if you want fuel discounts or free stuff. Also look at how gas rewards programs reward you, whether that means getting discounts off gas or free drinks and food. Ultimately, you should pick a gas rewards program that offers perks and rewards you can use.
Before you pack up the car for a road trip you’ll never forget, remember to make sure you sign up for a gas rewards program.
Better yet, sign up for a few free programs that can reward you for stopping at various gas stations, and pair your efforts with a credit card for gas that will reward you for each dollar you spend. If you’re spending the money anyway, you might as well get something back.