Best credit cards for gas purchases
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit cards information and benefits.
Americans spend a lot of time in their cars — so much time that gasoline purchases make up 3.3% of annual household expenses. That may not sound like much, but it means that the typical family spends about $1,909 each year on gas, according to consumer expenditure data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This is the number we used when looking at the best cash-back credit cards and best travel credit cards to use at the pump. We found nine consumer credit cards that offer solid returns of 3% or more on gas spending. Here is a list of our top picks:
Best gas credit cards of 2020
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Best for earning Chase points
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for families
- PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card: Best for credit union members
- Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express: Best for earning Amex points
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: Best for commuters
- Citi Premier® Card: Best for earning Citi points
- Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi: Best for Costco members
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Best for road trips
- Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card: Best for tiered rewards
The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited, Wells Fargo Propel, PenFed Platinum, Bank of America Cash Rewards and Amex Everyday Preferred has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
If you’re a small-business owner — or operate your own business on the side — you may want to consider business credit cards such as The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express or the Ink Business Cash Credit Card, both of which offer returns of about 4% on your gas spending (based on TPG valuations). But this analysis focuses on personal cards, so let’s look into the best consumer credit cards to have when you’re at the gas station, compared and ranked by what you’ll earn per dollar spent:
|Credit Card||Category Bonus||Point Value of currency*
||Total Earned per Dollar Spent||Annual Fee|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||1.5% cash back on spending||2 cents||3 cents***||$0|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||3% cash back at U.S. gas stations. Terms apply.||N/A (cash back)||3 cents||$0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020 (see rates & fees)|
|PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card||5x points on gas purchases||0.85 to 1.27 cents**||4.35 to 6.35 cents||$0|
|Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express||2x points at U.S. gas stations (50% points bonus when you make 30 or more purchases with your card in a billing period). Terms apply.||2 cents||4 to 6 cents depending on points bonus||$95|
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card||3x points on travel and transit, including gas stations||1 to 1.75 cents||3 to 5.25 cents||$0|
|Citi Premier® Card||3x ThankYou points on airfare and at gas stations||1.7 cents||5.1 cents||$95|
|Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi||4% cash back on eligible gas worldwide (for the first $7,000 in purchases per year, then 1%)||N/A (cash back)||4 cents||$0 (with your paid Costco membership)|
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||6x points at U.S. gas stations (among other 6x categories). Terms apply.||0.6 cents||3.6 cents||$95 (see rates & fees)|
|Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card||3% cash back (for the first $2,500 spent per quarter on a category of your choice, including gas, 1% thereafter)||N/A (cash back)||3 cents||$0|
*Bonus value is an estimate based on TPG’s monthly valuations and not the card issuer.
**TPG does not assess the value of PenFed points, however PenFed has provided examples to us that indicate points are worth 0.85 cents toward gift cards, and perhaps a little more for merchandise. When booking travel, points are worth around 0.85 to 0.90 cents each for air travel, but as much as 1.27 cents toward hotel bookings, with many hotel reservations returning about 1.18 cents in value per point redeemed.
***Cash back may be converted to more valuable points only when paired with a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points.
Let’s look into each card individually, including an analysis of the value of gas rewards earned over the course of a year.
Best Gas Credit Cards
Gas rewards: Earn 1.5% cash back on all non-bonus expenses, including gas stations.
Other rewards and perks: Earn 5% back on the first $12,000 spent at grocery stores, 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3% on dining and drugstore purchases
Sign-up bonus: Earn $200 bonus after spending $500 in the first three months.
Annual fee: $0
Estimated annual cash back/points from gas spending: Earn $28.64 cash back/2,864 Chase Ultimate Rewards points worth $57.28.
Keep in mind: Although Freedom Unlimited is a cash-back credit card, you can transfer your earnings into the account of an Ultimate Rewards credit card you hold — such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve — to convert your rewards into Ultimate Rewards points, which are worth 2 cents each according to TPG’s latest valuations. This is due to the program’s terrific transfer partners like United and Hyatt. But when you use your points to book travel within the Chase travel portal, Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents when used in combination with the Sapphire Preferred and 1.5 cents with the Sapphire Reserve.
Gas rewards: Earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations.
Other rewards and perks: Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1%) and 6% back on select U.S. streaming services. Earn 3% back on transit (parking, tolls, ride-share, subway, etc.) and 1% back on other purchases.
Welcome offer: Receive a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. Offer Expires 12/10/2020
Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95 (see rates and fees)
Estimated annual cash back/points from gas spending: $57.27
Keep in mind: This is a cash-back card, so there’s no opportunity to earn valuable Amex Membership Rewards points, but 3% in cash back on gas purchases isn’t bad. However, when it comes to earning gas rewards, not all stores are treated equally. American Express says “superstores, supermarkets and warehouse clubs that sell gasoline are not considered gas stations” and won’t earn bonus cash back.
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card
Gas rewards: Earn 5x points at the pump.
Other rewards and perks: Earn 3x points on groceries and 1 point per dollar on all other spending.
Sign-up bonus: Earn a $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 within the first 90 days.
Annual fee: $0
Estimated annual cash back/points from gas spending: 9,545 points worth $81.13 to $121.22
Keep in mind: You must be a member of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union to qualify for this card, although you don’t need to be a military or government worker to join. You can belong to PenFed’s affinity partners, pay $20 to join the National Military Family Association or pay $15 to join Voices for America’s Troops, either of which makes you eligible for PenFed membership. Points may be redeemed for rewards only, including airfare and hotel stays. Based on previous reporting, points are worth as little as 0.85 cents each when redeemed for gift cards and as much as 1.27 cents apiece when put toward hotel bookings. A minimum balance of 1,000 points is required for redemptions.
Gas rewards: Earn 2x points at U.S. gas stations.
Other rewards and perks: Earn 3x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1x points; 1x points on other purchases. Use your card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 50% more points on those purchases.
Welcome offer: Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards points after you make $1,000 in purchases in your first three months.
Annual fee: $95
Estimated annual cash back/points from gas spending: 3,818 points valued at $114.54 (if you make 30 or more transactions each month)
Keep in mind: Because this card is part of the Amex Membership Rewards program, points are worth more than the standard 1 cent each you’ll find with most cash-back cards. According to TPG’s latest valuations, Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents apiece thanks to the array of valuable transfer partners. That means for every dollar spent at a gas station, you’ll earn 2 points, worth a total of 4 cents. If you hit 30 monthly transactions, those 2 points per dollar spent turn into 3 points per dollar spent, worth 6 cents. This makes the EveryDay Preferred card among the most valuable options for gas purchases.
Gas rewards: Earn 3x points on gas station purchases.
Other rewards and perks: Earn 3x points on eating out, ordering in, gas stations, ride-shares, transit, flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals and popular streaming services. Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Annual fee: $0
Estimated annual cash back/points from gas spending: 5,727 points worth $57.27 to $100.22
Keep in mind: Points are generally valued at 1 cent each and can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, charity donations or cash back. However, the Go Far Rewards points you earn on the Propel Amex can be combined with the no-annual-fee Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card, which allows you to redeem your points at 1.5 cents each for airfare. If you spend $50,000 in a calendar year on the Wells Fargo Visa, that redemption rate jumps to 1.75 cents per point, which would make the points earned on Propel Amex gas purchases worth as much as 5.25 cents per dollar when redeemed for airfare. The information for the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Gas rewards: Earn 3x on gas stations.
Other rewards and perks: Earn 3x at restaurants, supermarkets, and on airfare and hotels.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.
Annual fee: $95
Estimated annual cash back/points from gas spending: 5,727 points worth $97.36
Keep in mind: At 1.7 cents each, ThankYou points are worth a bit less than Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards, but the Citi currency can still prove valuable, especially when you transfer points to one of the program’s 15 travel partners. However, when purchasing gas, you may want to avoid gas sold at warehouse clubs as you’ll only receive 1 point per dollar with the Citi Premier® Card.
Gas rewards: Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year (1% thereafter).
Sign-up bonus: None.
Annual fee: $0 with your paid Costco membership.
Estimated annual cash back/points from gas spending: $76.36
Keep in mind: You have to be a Costco member to be eligible for this card, and although this is a cash-back card, you can’t earn statement credits or redeem your rewards at any time. Instead, you’ll receive a reward coupon annually, redeemable for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco warehouses.
Gas rewards: Earn 6x Hilton Honors bonus points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations.
Other rewards and perks: Earn 6x Hilton Honors bonus points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations; earn 12x Hilton Honors bonus points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio; earn 3x bonus points for all other eligible spending. Earn a free weekend night reward after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year; automatic Hilton Honors Gold status, with an upgrade to Diamond when you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year.
Welcome offer: Earn 130,000 bonus points after you use your card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee: $95 (see rates and fees)
Estimated annual cash back/points from gas spending: 11,454 points worth $68.72
Keep in mind: This card may not be a good choice for general points and miles collectors, as TPG values Hilton points at only 0.6 cents each, less than many other programs. That makes the 6x gas station bonus look far less attractive, but using this card could make sense to Hilton loyalists who want to maximize Hilton Honors points, earn a free-night certificate or upgrade to Diamond elite status.
Gas rewards: Earn 3% cash back in one of six categories of your choice, including gas purchases, for the first $2,500 spent each quarter. Note that the $2,500 quarterly cap applies to both your 3% choice category and the 2% back on grocery store/wholesale club purchases (then an unlimited 1% cash back applies to all other purchases).
Other rewards and perks: Earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on up to $2,500 spent per quarter on combined choice category, grocery store and wholesale club purchases, then 1%) and 1% on everything else. Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account. If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25%-75%.
Sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 online cash-rewards bonus after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening.
Annual fee: $0
Estimated annual cash back/points from gas spending: $57.27
Keep in mind: You can earn tiered relationship bonuses in Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program based on the amount of money you have on deposit in your qualifying Bank of America and/or Merrill Edge/Merrill Lynch investment accounts. You’re eligible for a percentage-based bonus of base rewards points you earn once you have at least $20,000 in assets at the bank. Here’s how the tiers work:
- Gold status earns a 25% rewards bonus and requires combined balances ranging from $20,000 to $50,000.
- Platinum status earns a 50% rewards bonus and requires combined balances ranging from $50,000 to $100,000.
- Platinum Honors status earns a 75% rewards bonus and requires a combined balance of more than $100,000.
The rewards tier you qualify for will be based on your three-month average combined balances in your qualifying accounts, so your status could change as you deposit and withdraw money from your accounts.
Additional gas credit cards: rotating categories
We haven’t included cards such as the Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants), Chase Freedom Flex or Discover it Cash Back on our list because their base rewards are too low (1%), while their respective rotating category bonuses change every year. Both cards have reliably included gas purchases for at least one quarter each year as one of the rotating categories eligible to receive 5% cash back on up to $1,500 a quarter (enrollment required each quarter).
That could be worth up to $75 cash back during the quarter — or even more on the Chase Freedom when you pair it with a card like the Sapphire Preferred and combine your points in a single Ultimate Rewards account. The Discover it Cash Back offers 1% cash back on all other purchases. The information for the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Flex and Discover it Cash Back has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
For the typical U.S. household, gasoline purchases are the ninth-largest categorized expense for credit card spending. You shouldn’t make gas rewards your only priority when choosing your next credit card, but it’s an important factor if you’re driving the family around regularly. As always, your best bet is to find a card that offers great bonus category rewards on the spending you do most frequently, so if gas is a major part of your budget, make sure you consider at least one of the credit cards on this list.
- Best travel credit cards
- Best airline credit cards
- Best dining credit cards
- Best credit cards for everyday spending
- Best credit cards for entertainment spending
Additional reporting by Carissa Rawson.
Featured image by aabejon / Getty Images.
This is The Points Guy’s permanent page about the best credit cards for gas purchases. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to older card offers and details below.
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