3/1/2013 4:19 PM ET|
The 5 best gas rewards credit cards
The right rewards card can reduce the burden of rising prices at the pump.
This post comes from Odysseas Papadimitriou at CardHub.com.
Those savings might at first seem pedestrian, but people buy gas rather frequently and high gas prices aren't likely to be short-lived. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that the price of regular gas will average $3.57 a gallon for the rest of the year -- slightly higher than the $3.55-a-gallon average during 2012, the most expensive year for gas ever.
Considering that 2011 previously held that cost crown, having the right gas rewards card figures to be increasingly important moving forward.
There are two types of gas rewards credit cards:
- Those tied to specific station chains.
- Those that allow you to earn points or cash back wherever you fill up.
The former historically offered the most value, but given their inherently limited usage capability, the latter segment has in recent years turned the tables. Consider the rewards offered by the following cards, which Card Hub selected from more than 1,000 overall offers as providing the most significant savings on gas.
Pentagon Federal Credit Union Platinum Rewards Card
Gas rewards:5% cash back at any station.
Other highlights: 3% cash back at supermarkets and 1% everywhere else.
Fees: No annual fee, but you may have to pay a one-time $15 fee to join the Pentagon Federal Credit Union.
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
Gas rewards: 3% cash back at any station.
Other highlights: 6% cash back at supermarkets and 1% everywhere else; $150 initial bonus if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
Fees:$75 annual fee.
TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express
Gas rewards: 3% cash back on all gas purchases up to $4,000 (1% thereafter).
Other highlights: 2% cash back at restaurants, 2% on travel, and 1% on everything else.
Fees:Free for Costco members.
Marathon Credit Card
Gas rewards:25-cent rebate for each gallon of Marathon gas purchased during months you charge at least $1,000, 15-cent rebate for spending $500 to $999.99, and 5-cent rebate for spending less than $500.
Other highlights: not applicable.
Chevron & Texaco Credit Card
Gas rewards:30 cents a gallonoff Chevron and Texaco gas for the first 60 days, 20 cents off when you spend more than $1,000 in a given month, and 10 cents off when you spend $300 to $1,000. You can earn and redeem a maximum of $300 in discounts each calendar year.
Other highlights: not applicable.
When it comes to picking one of these cards, the most important considerations are your current spending habits and your credit standing. You don't want to apply for a credit card affiliated with a particular station chain if you don't exclusively get gas there or could easily begin to do so.
Furthermore, you can avoid costing yourself time and effort on a rejected credit card application by simply making sure you have the requisite good or excellent credit beforehand.
It's also important to note the value of strategic grocery shopping and smartphone application use. It's becoming common for major supermarket and gas station chains to team up on loyalty programs. For example, Safeway shoppers earn discounts on ExxonMobil gas, and Giant and Kroger have a similar relationship with Shell. Shopping at one of those stores can supercharge your savings.
The same can be said for using an app like GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas prices in your area before using your gas rewards card to further lower your costs.
Ultimately, regardless of exactly how your gas rewards plan shapes up, it's clear that giving a bit of thought to how you pay at the pump will ensure that amount is as low as possible.
More on Card Hub and MSN Money:
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Thomson Reuters (click for restrictions). Real-time quotes provided by BATS Exchange. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Interactive Data Real-Time Services. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by SIX Financial Information.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
LATEST BLOG POSTS
- Report: Hazards higher for poor kids
Children from lower income families are at greater risk of suffering accidental injuries and being sickened by food, according to a Consumer Federation of America study.
- Worst fee-greedy airlines
- How to save more money this month
- Plastic paychecks shrink salaries, suit says
- How price shopping leads to overspending
- How to split summer travel expenses with friends
- Fit for summer: Splurge or save?