5 great credit cards to save on gas now
As gas prices rise, these cards will reduce your pain at the pump
Specializes in writing on travel, family and food
Gas prices are the highest we’ve seen in four years with the average price per gallon across the nation sitting at $2.85 on July 1, according to AAA. How can you reduce your pain at the pump? Credit cards can save a percentage or rack up points for future travel every time you fill-up.
No one’s thrilled about it as summer road trips are on the horizon. “Nearly 80 percent of Americans say the price of gasoline is too high at $3 per gallon,” says Jeanette Casselano, AAA gas price expert.
These five gas cards can reduce the cost of filling your tank or add miles and points to your bank to cover future travel costs. The experts recommending these cards to take a bite out of rising gas prices are retirees, savvy points earners and other everyday Americans who use these credit cards to save money whereever they can.
See related: Best gas credit cards of 2018
Costco fans rave about this card from Citi, which earns 4 percent cash back at gas stations worldwide up to $7,000 yearly and comes with no annual fee if you have a Costco membership.
Other benefits include 3 percent cash back on travel and restaurant purchases, as well as 2 percent on all Costco expenditures. New since early 2018: The Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi also charges no foreign transaction fees.
Doug Garner of Orlando, Florida, says the Costco card is his favorite way to save on gas. Garner says he’s a retired 76-year-old who appreciates a deal. “That’s why my wife and I are on our third Southwest Companion Pass,” he adds.
Here’s how Garner’s Costco Visa card saves him at the pump: “Gas ranged from $2.77 to $2.85 per gallon near my home, and I filled up at Costco for $2.68 per gallon,” Garner said recently. “Then I got another 4 percent rebate, so I saved another 11 cents per gallon for a net cost of $2.57 per gallon.”
Garner says even though Costco has an annual membership fee of at least $60, his family of two is able purchase enough gas (and other items at Costco) to cover nearly double that Costco membership fee.
As for his saving strategy when he’s not filling up, Garner says, “I routinely ask for a senior or military discount when I pull the plastic out.”
See related: FAQs on Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi
Travel Freely creator Zac Hood, who also blogs about ways to better manage your credit cards, recommends the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express as his top way to save on gas. The card earns 3 percent at gas stations, which can be redeemed as a statement credit.
The Blue Cash Preferred card does come with a $99 annual fee, though currently you can get $200 cash back as a welcome bonus after spending $1,000 on the card in the first few months. Hood notes that sign-up bonus is more than double the annual fee.
“For those who don’t want to worry about an annual fee, the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great option,” Hood says. Cardholders can get 3 percent cash back up to $2,500 in gas purchases every quarter, as well as 2 percent cash back at groceries and wholesale clubs.
New cardholders can currently get $150 cash back as a sign-up bonus after spending $500 within the first 90 days of holding the card.
For even more savings, Hood suggests doing your banking at Bank of America to get an additional 10 percent bonus when depositing your cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account.
Karl Kerchief of Vicksburg, Mississippi, whose “family is always on the go between work, grocery stores and volunteer work,”says his favorite card to pay for gas is the no annual fee PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature card.
The PenFed card offers 5 points per dollar on gas and grocery purchases with no annual fee.
To be approved for the card, you do need to be a member of the PenFed Credit Union, which requires a minimum $5 deposit and meeting eligibility criteria.
While there are a few cards that offer 5 percent cash back on gas as part of rotating quarterly categories, the Discover it® Cash Back Card is potentially a better value for new cardholders.
While the Discover it Cash Back Card typically includes the opportunity to earn 5 percent cash back on gas at least one quarter each year on up to $1,500 in purchases, Discover will match cash back earned by new cardholders in the first year.
Gary Hartling, of Sierra Vista, Arizona, says that he was not able to max out the $1,500 using his Discover It card with gas purchases alone so he bought gas station gift cards to buy gas in the other quarters when 5 percent cash back was no longer available on fuel.
“If you want to pile up rewards or simply earn cash back, a credit card for the pump is an excellent way to benefit from your normal monthly spending,” says Hood. “Using a debit card is not getting you any perks!”
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