The Best Credit Cards for Commuting

May 17, 2019

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Credit cards compete for the top spot in your wallet by offering high-value bonus multipliers for purchases in a wide range of categories, including travel, dining and groceries.

But even if you spend the bulk of your budget in these categories, you probably aren’t going grocery shopping or buying plane tickets every single day. Not as many cards step up to the plate to offer bonus points on the one thing most us have to do every single day: commute to and from work or school. If you’re looking to earn bonus points on this often unavoidable expense, here are the top cards you should consider.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by Danielle Vito/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Danielle Vito/The Points Guy)

You’re not going to find the word “commute” anywhere in the fine print on this card, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s beloved 3x points on travel purchases (excluding $300 travel credit) will extend to your morning commute. Just like the 3x bonus category for dining purchases, Chase defines travel in the broadest way possible. You’ll earn bonus points for all the conventional things like airfare and hotels, but you’ll also earn for ride-share services like Uber, public transit, and even some parking fees.

This makes the Sapphire Reserve a great choice for your day-to-day life and for your vacations as well. The 50,000-point welcome bonus (earned after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months) will jump-start you toward your next tropical getaway. The Reserve has a $450 annual fee, which is largely offset by a $300 annual travel credit. This credit is automatically applied to any eligible purchases you make, so you might even find yourself getting reimbursed for your commute by Chase if you pay with a Sapphire Reserve. If the $450 annual fee is more than you’re willing to pay, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers 2x points in the same broadly defined travel and dining categories.

Citi Premier Card

The Citi Premier Card packs a whole lot of value into a card with a very manageable $95 annual fee. Your workweek will be much more rewarding thanks to the card’s 3x points on a broadly defined travel bonus category. TPG contributor Jason Steele dug deep on what triggers this bonus, and found that everything from taxis and gas stations to public transit earned the triple points.

The Premier also offers double points on dining and entertainment, giving it a leg up on the comparable Chase Sapphire Preferred both in terms of the number of bonus categories and the multipliers they receive. The Citi Premier is currently offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months, worth $1,020 based on TPG’s latest valuations.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

(Image by The Points Guy.)

While Amex’s cash-back portfolio often gets overshadowed by its impressive lineup of Membership Rewards points-earning cards, the Blue Cash Preferred can be a great option for those looking to earn a little cash back on their commutes. The card underwent a recent refresh that included the addition of a new 6% bonus category for select US streaming services and 3% back for transit. Amex indicated that this category will cover parking, tolls, ride-shares, subway tickets and more.

The Blue Cash Preferred comes with a $95 annual fee (see rates & fees) and is currently offering a welcome bonus of a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Importantly, unlike the earlier cards on this list, it carries a 2.7% foreign transaction fee (see rates & fees). This means that you’ll want to leave it behind when packing for vacation.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.)

The Wells Fargo Propel also offers 3x points on travel purchases, including taxis and ride-shares among others. Don’t let the name of your rewards (Go Far Rewards points) fool you, though — this is a cash-back card in nearly every way.

You can redeem your points at a fixed rate of 1 cent each for travel, gift cards, charity donations or cash back, but no matter how you plan on spending your rewards, most redemptions will get 1 cent per point. The biggest exception comes for customers who also hold the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card. Since Wells Fargo lets you pool points between cards, Propel card holders can leverage the redemption options of the Wells Fargo Visa Signature. Specifically, you can redeem for airfare via its portal at a rate of 1.5 cents per point, and this jumps to 1.75 cents per point if you spend $50,000 a year or more on the Wells Fargo Visa Signature. (The information for the Wells Fargo Visa Signature has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.)

Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ Visa®️ credit card

(Image by The Points Guy.)

The Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ Visa®️ credit card goes out of its way to reward customers who are loyal to BoA through the BofA Preferred Rewards program. To enroll in this program, you’ll need an eligible Bank of America personal checking account and a three-month average combined balance of $20,000 or more in a Bank of America account and/or Merrill Edge or Merrill Lynch investment accounts.

Members of the Preferred Rewards program will see their earning rates on the Premium Rewards card jump to the following amounts:

Spend Categories Regular Cardholder Tier 1 – Gold ($20,000 – $50,000) Tier 2 – Platinum ($50,000 – $100,000) Tier 3 – Platinum Honors ($100,000+)
Travel/Dining Earnings 2x points 2.5x points 3x points 3.5x points
Other Earnings 1.5x points 1.875x points 2.25x points  2.625x points

The good news is that the travel category is defined quite broadly to include things like busses, taxis, ferries, parking lots and garages and more. If you’re a Platinum Honors member, that 3.5x earning on travel purchases is one of the better offers out there.

Bottom Line

Commuting to and from work can make a long day even longer. While you can’t cut your commute just by carrying the right credit cards (we wish!), you can get a good amount of points or cash back on transit expenses. Some of the cards with the best “travel” bonus categories include very broad definitions that will cover your morning commute, whether you’re filling up the gas tank or hopping on the subway.

For rates & fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Amex, click here.

Featured photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: $250 Cash Back Terms Apply.

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $250

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: New! Earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services and 3% cash back on transit. Plus earn 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%) and 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • New 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • New 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Over 3 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017 and 2018.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
14.49%-25.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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