Best Cards For Gas Stations [2018]

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Update: These offers for Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express and the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.


Whether you’re constantly on the road to visit client sites, suffering through a long commute or schlepping around kids to any number of events — sorry, mom, fuel costs can certainly add up quickly. If you drive a Tesla, your car is better than mine and I can’t help you in this post.

Since gas stations is a bonus category for many cards, this is a great opportunity to squeeze out a few more points and, hopefully, make these pit stops hurt a little less.

Similar to what I did with my post on grocery stores and supermarkets, I thought it would be a good idea to compile your best options to make things a little easier. I’m going to cover several categories of cards including:

From flexible points to cash back — whatever your preference, one of the cards from the list below can help you get a solid return at gas stations.


Best cards to earn flexible points

When it comes to earning miles and points, my priority is flexible points that give me access to multiple airline and hotel partners. On top of that, these points protect me from sudden devaluations within any given airline or hotel program.

Citi Premier℠ Card

The Citi Premier Card is probably my favorite card for gas station purchases. While most travel bonus categories don’t include gas stations, Citi has chosen to do so with the ThankYou Premier. That means you’ll earn 3X ThankYou Points on all these purchases.

I know ThankYou Points don’t get the same press as Chase Ultimate Rewards Points and Amex Membership Rewards points but there are some fantastic ways to use them. If nothing else, the partners that overlap with Chase and Amex can help you save Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards points for times when they’re the only option.

This card comes with a reasonable $95 annual fee which is waived the first year.

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

If your business spends a lot on gas purchases, the Amex Business Gold Rewards Card might be just what you need to earn tons of Membership Rewards points. Unlike many cards, you actually get to choose your 3X bonus category from 5 options:

  • Flights purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases for shipping
  • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers

If gas is your biggest expense, select it as your 3X category and you can earn 3X on your first $100,000 in gas stations per year. The other categories will earn 2X and each 2X category has its own $100,000 cap per year.

Whether it’s a 3X category or a 2X category for you, it’s a great card when you need to fill up.

The Amex Business Gold Rewards Card comes with a $175 annual fee that is waived the first year.

If you want to earn Membership Rewards points but are looking for a personal card, I would consider the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card.

It earns 2X at U.S. gas stations but you can actually earn 3X with a little effort. If you make 30 purchases within a billing cycle on the card, you’ll receive a 50% bonus on the points you earned that cycle.

If you want to make sure you hit the 30 purchases required, you can reload your Amazon account balance with $0.50. If you swing by a gas station once per week, that would leave you with 26 purchases to go. With just 26 reloads on Amazon — a total of $13, you’d be all set. Not a bad way to justify a card with a $95 annual fee!

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

While the Chase Ink Cash is a cash back card on its own, it does earn Ultimate Rewards points. As long as you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, the points you earn with the Ink Cash can be transferred to airline and hotel partners.

I’m guessing a few of you have one of these cards.

With the Ink Cash, you’ll get a card with no annual fee that also earns 2X on purchases at gas stations up to $25,000 per cardmember year. Also included under this $25,000 cap are restaurants.


Best cards to earn cash back

If you’re happy with your miles and points balances or are earning plenty through other purchases, a little cash back might be just what you want.

Alternatively, you might just prefer the simplicity of cash back. Either way, you’ll have a few great options.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi & Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi

The Costco Anywhere Visa and the Costco Anywhere Visa Business Card are clear winners in this category at 4% cash back. There is one caveat to this, though, as you are limited to earning 4% cash back on the first $7,000 at gas stations per year. Once you hit that threshold, you’ll earn 1%.

That being said, they provide an easy way to earn up to $280 in cash back each year which could pay for a few more fill-ups. Neither card comes with an annual fee but you do need a Costco membership to get either card which effectively means they have annual fees. The annual membership fee is $60 or $120 depending on which type you choose.

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

The SimplyCash Plus doesn’t come with an annual fee, but it does give you the option to earn 3% cash back at gas stations up to $50,000 per year.

Like the Amex Business Gold Rewards Card, you have to designate your 3% category:

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
  • Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
  • U.S. gas stations
  • U.S. restaurants
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
  • U.S. purchases for shipping
  • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers

The categories you don’t choose will only earn 1% cash back, so it’s only a good choice for gas purchases if you make it your 3% category.

For businesses with a big chunk of spend going to gas stations, the 3% up to $50,000 per year isn’t a bad deal.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card

While the Blue Cash Preferred comes with a $95 annual fee, you can earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations with no spending cap. While many are accustomed to using Amex cards to earn Membership Rewards points, this does provide an easy way to earn cash back that goes beyond the basic 2% cash back card.


Best cards to earn fixed-value points

Sometimes, you need a flight or a hotel night on a specific date and award space just doesn’t cooperate. That’s where fixed-value points can really come in handy.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

A new offering from Wells Fargo, the Propel Amex Card earns 3X on purchases at gas stations and comes with an annual fee of exactly $0. Not a bad start if you ask me. The Go Far Rewards points can be redeemed for travel, a statement credit or gift cards at 1 cent per point.

However, there’s a way to get so much more.

If you also have the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card, you can redeem for travel at 1.5 cents per point. To take it a step further, if you spend $50,000 on the Visa Signature in a calendar year, your points will be worth 1.75 cents per point.

Since Go Far Rewards points can be combined, all points you earn with the Propel Amex will be worth 1.5 or 1.75 cents each. When you consider that neither card has an annual fee and you can get the same value (or better) as you would with the Chase Sapphire Reserve via the Chase travel portal, that’s quite something.

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card

If you’re a member of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Card Visa Signature is an interesting option. While the points are only worth .85 cents per point when redeeming for a gift card, you can get more than 1 cent per point on some hotel bookings — think, 1.1, 1.15, 1.2.

While this isn’t quite as competitive as the Wells Fargo combo option, it might be worth a look as it earns 5X on gas station purchases. Pretty good for a card with no annual fee.


Best cards to earn airline miles

While co-branded airline cards have a reputation for being pretty poor for everyday spending, American and United both have business card options that earn bonus points at gas stations.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

With the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select, you can boost your American miles balance by earning 2X at gas stations. While award space on American’s own flights can be tough to find, American miles are great for partner awards.

While I prefer flexible points, this is a solid option if you need to top off your American account in preparation for a fun business class redemption — perhaps Qatar’s Qsuites for 75,000 miles.

The annual fee for this card is $99 and waived the first year.

United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card

If Star Alliance awards are more your style, the Chase United Business Card earns 2X miles per dollar at gas stations. United miles can be particularly useful for business class awards as the rates aren’t terrible and you won’t get hit with surcharges. If you’re flying a partner such as Austrian Airlines, you’ll really appreciate the latter.

This card comes with a $95 annual that is waived the first year with the card.


Best cards to earn hotel points

When it comes to hotel co-branded cards, our options aren’t quite as strong save for one option.

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

The Hilton Ascend Amex is going to be your best option if you need hotel points for an award stay. While Hilton points aren’t as valuable as Hyatt points, the Hilton Ascend earns 6X points at gas stations.

For those who spend a good chunk of time on the road, this card could provide an easy way to help earn your next Hilton stay.

This card comes with a $95 annual fee.

Bonus options: 5X quarterly bonus categories

Chase Freedom®

If I can earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points on purchases, you’d better believe it’s going to be my go-to card. That’s why, for one quarter every year, the Chase Freedom becomes my favorite card for gas station purchases.

While it’s not a guarantee that gas stations will be included as a quarterly 5X category — up to $1,500 in spend, it has been for as long as I can remember. As long as it continues to be, I’ll keep reaching for it when I need gas — or a snack.

Just remember that you need one of the premium Ultimate Rewards cards if you want to be able to transfer the points you earn to airline and hotel partners. Otherwise, the points you earn will be cash back.

The Chase Freedom does not have an annual fee. Gotta love that.

Discover It

If cash back is more your style, the Discover It is another card with no annual fee and quarterly 5% bonus categories. Like the Chase Freedom, the Discover It caps your quarterly spend on 5% categories at $1,500.

If you spend $500 per month on gas — way too easy in some cities — then you’ll get $25 back each month for a total of $75 over the course of the 5% quarter. You can redeem the cash back for a statement credit, have it deposited in your bank account or redeem it for gift cards.

Sometimes, you’ll find discounted gift cards that can help you stretch your cash back a little further.

Final thoughts

While there are some other niche options, these cards will help you get a great return in points, miles or cash back whenever you need to stop by a gas station. When it comes down to it, whatever type of card you prefer, you have options to really maximize your purchases.

For those newer to miles and points, I’ll add one important point. Please focus on cards that are restricted by the Chase 5/24 rule if you are under 5/24 so you don’t miss out on valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points, United miles and Marriott Rewards points.

As always, if you’ve recently opened a card and are trying to hit the minimum spend to earn a welcome bonus, focus on that card as you’ll get even more value with the welcome bonus.

If you’re not working on a minimum spend and 5/24 is in the rearview mirror, any of these cards could be a good choice for you.

What card(s) do you use at gas stations?

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Comments

  1. Citi Costco Visa is the way to go. Costco gas is significantly cheaper and getting back 4% is huge. I fill up 2 SUV’s every week and the 7k limit is not an issue.

    Gas is about 3.50 now in CA and saving 14 cents a gallon.

  2. Bank of America Cashback cc is the way to go if you have $100K+ in combined balances at BoA/Merrill Lynch. 3% plus a 75% bonus = 5.25% cash back on a no annual fee card.

  3. Do you feel that the SPG Business 4X on gas is of greater or lesser value than the 6X Hilton? Personally, even with all of Marriott’s clusters right now, it seems to be a better value (by percentage) unless you are a Hilton loyalist.

  4. @Marsh

    Move out of CA, the devil lives there. He breaths forest fire every year. He even loves red light camera. To make it worse, the devil takes ransom money for water bottles.
    But the devil saves the worst for last, income tax!!!!!!

    Gas is about 2.50 now in TX.
    CA pays 40% more.

    Jumping red light in CA fine is $490, in TX is $75 in TN is $50.
    CA pay 980% (9.8 times) more.

    5 cents per bottle in CA.
    WTF is that in TX.

    The worst, CA top bracket income tax is 13.3%.
    TX is ZERO, none, nothing, tax free.

    I’ll wait for @Debit to explain why liberals pay more for gas, fines, bottle, or tax.

    With the devil eating so much money, how come you still have drought, homeless, and illegal aliens.
    For Jesus sake, move out of CA. The best credit card for you is any card as long as you don’t live with the devil.

  5. Here is my humble opinion on maximization at gas stations:
    Step 1. Get a hybrid or electric car.
    Step 2. Spend your gas money on travel and use your favorite travel card(s) :-P.

    (Mostly) win for the environment, win for your pocket book, win for electricity companies. What not to love?

  6. @eskimo
    Unfortunately I moved out here for work from the east coast and I agree with what you are saying. CA is def the devil, but I like playing with fire.

  7. From now until Dec 25th, using Hilton Ascend .. you’ll get the 6x for gas plus you may be working toward $1,000 spend for 10k points applicable twice..
    $2k = 20k pts..

  8. Chase Pay is also usually a CF rotating quarterly category. When it is, I use the Chase Pay app for Shell gas, earning 5% on the CF + saving .05/gallon via Shell.

    Between the Chase Pay & Gas categories (using the Exxon app for discounts) 1/2 my yearly gas purchases earn 5x URs.

  9. Eskimo,

    I am sure California is fine being a separate country outside the union. For all the campaign BS Republicans spew against California they wouldn’t be ready to let California leave the union.

    But white Republican males are lying scum and hypocrites. No surprise!

  10. @eskimo
    10% back Amex Offer
    3% cash back Dosh
    4x Marriott on SPG Biz
    points with speedpass when u put your payment through it.

    theres also a $10 off $20 on Mobil 2x Amex offer.

  11. Product pusher! Another TPG. Left out Sam’s Club Mastercard, Fort Knox Visa, Navy FCU, etc. I guess they pay you zero $.

  12. What about the AMEX Everyday Preferred???

    Assuming you make 30 purchases/cycle (which I think most of us can cover), you are also earning 3% (5.1% @ 1.7c/mile valuation) in MR points, which in my opinion are more valuable than Citi rewards (often due to the transfer bonuses).

    Moreover, you get the added benefits of 4.5% (7.65% @ 1.7c/mile) on groceries and 1.5% (2.55%) on everything else. AND, your gas purchases will help you hit the 30 transactions.

    No idea why this card is overlooked in the article

  13. you really do get around – is that the ferry street bridge in eugene, OR (town of beautiful bridges)?

  14. I buy Shell gift cards at office supply stores with my Ink Cash for 5x UR = up to 10%. And I don’t have to worry about card skimmers.

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