The Shell credit card, formally known as the Shell Drive for Five card, offers very little in the way of rewards. In fact, it only offers one financial reward, which we will discuss shortly.

Like most other station-specific gas rewards cards, the Shell Drive for Five card comes with no upfront rewards. You won’t get a dime for signing up with this card, but you may get a nickel for each gallon of gas! For each gallon of gas that you purchase, you may get 5 cents back. So, if you purchase 50 gallons of gas each month, you’ll get $2.50 back. You can get a few bags of potato chips and a pack of gum with that, but that’s about it.

This card does not offer much at all other than the mentioned 5 cents per gallon. Shell advertises “Pay at the pump convenience”, but you could do that with just about any other credit or debit card.

There are really no other rewards than the 5 cents per gallon. Well, you won’t have any fraud liability with this card, so if a guy with a pickup truck pick-pockets you and fills his tank up, you won’t be left with $100 bill to pay. That’s about it, though.

Watch Out For Major Restrictions

Station Selection

As you may have guessed, you’ll only earn rewards by using this card at Shell stations. You’ll only be able to do so in the United States, as well.

Minimum Quantity

To earn 5 cents per gallon, you’ll have to purchase at least 45 gallons of gasoline each billing cycle. If you drive a vehicle that gets 25 miles per gallon, that comes out to approximately 280 miles per week that you’d have to drive to reach this minimum threshold. If you use your vehicle purely for work, you’d have to drive 28 miles each way every day during a 5 day work week. Keep this in mind, as you could end up getting nothing back at all.

Maximum Quantity

After you purchase 100 gallons of fuel during a billing cycle, you will no longer accrue rewards. This means that the maximum that you could get back during a billing cycle is $5. You probably don’t consume 100 gallons of fuel each month, but keep this in mind if you are a road warrior or drive a gas-guzzler.

Reward Limit

The most that you can get back with this card each year is $60. To reach that mark, you’d have to purchase 1,200 gallons of fuel. If you drive a vehicle that gets 25 miles per gallon, that would mean that you’d have to drive 30,000 miles to reach that mark. That’s more than most people drive annually, so most of you won’t reach that limit.

Lackluster Rewards on Station-Specific Cards

By this point, you may be thinking that this card is the worst card ever made. However, it is part of a growing trend of station-specific gas cards becoming nearly worthless with rising gas prices.

The rewards on the Shell Drive for Five card are similar to others out there. The Conoco Personal card offers virtually the same terms as this card, so you won’t save much there. It seems that the best gas cards are offered by general issuers, not as station-specific cards.

Of course, gas stations are not all to blame for rising gas prices. They don’t control global politics. Well, some may disagree with that, but that’s another topic entirely! They also don’t directly control other market forces that cause spikes in gas prices.

However, they are in control of the rewards that can be offered on station-specific cards. They have not matched rising prices with rising rewards, meaning that Joe Driver is left holding the bag or, more accurately, an empty wallet.

Better Alternatives

The Blue Cash Everyday from American Express and Discover Open Road cards offer much better terms than the Shell Drive for Five card. Each offers 2 percent cash back on gasoline purchases and rewards on all other purchases, giving you a much more complete package than the Shell Drive for Five or just about any other station-specific card offers.

Also, each can be used at any station, not just Shell stations, giving you much more flexibility. Additionally, there are no spending minimums in relation to gas with either card, so you won’t have to jump though hoops to get gas rewards.

While both of the mentioned cards would work fine, I recommend going with this Blue Cash Everyday card. It has less strings attached than the Discover Open Road card, making it much more customer-friendly. In any event, I urge you to look closely at any station-specific card these days and, if the terms are not acceptable, look toward 1 of the mentioned alternatives.