Gas prices in April hit their lowest levels since 2009, but that doesn't mean it's not a great idea to save even more money when possible considering the average household spends more than $2,500 a year on gasoline. A gas rewards card can earn you up to 5% back on your fill-ups or even more when combined with a gas station loyalty program.
Here's our list of the best credit cards for gas purchases in 2016 -- and some tips for choosing the right type of card.
Should You Get a Branded Gas Rewards Card?
Many gas stations have affiliated credit cards, many of which promise the most lucrative savings on fill-ups. Branded gas station cards aren't for everyone, though. With a branded card, you will only save on gas purchased at affiliated gas stations. This can often mean spending more money just to qualify for cash back. Some gas station cards also have convoluted rewards programs. For example, you may be limited to earning the full cash back amount on a specific number of gallons each month or you may need to fill up a certain number of times to get the full value.
General rewards cards are more flexible as you can earn cash back on gasoline from any gas station, allowing you to check for the lowest price in town for the best savings.
Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi
The new Costco Visa card -- which debuts in June 2016 -- is a huge improvement over the old Costco AmEx card. The Costco Anywhere Visa earns 4% back at eligible gas stations on the first $7,000 a year (1% afterward). You can even earn 4% back on Costco gas, a nice perk you can't get with most rewards cards as Costco fill-up transactions aren't coded as gas purchases.
You'll also earn 3% back on travel and restaurant spending, 2% back on all Costco purchases, and 1% back on everything else.
Few cards offer such generous rewards, especially on gasoline. The Costco Anywhere Visa should definitely make you consider getting a Costco membership if you don't already have one.
BankAmericard Cash Rewards Card
The BankAmericard Cash Rewards card gives you 3% back on gasoline on the first $1,500 during each quarter ($6,000 per year). While this may seem restrictive, that's more than double what the average U.S. household spends on gasoline so you're unlikely to hit the cap.
Along with 3% back on gas, the card earns 2% back on groceries and 1% back on everything else. The BankAmericard Cash Rewards card currently has a $100 sign-up bonus once you spend $500 during the first 3 months.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card
The Blue Cash Preferred card offers the same 3% back on gasoline as the BankAmericard Cash Rewards card, but the amount you can earn is unlimited. If you spend more than $500 on gas per month, the AmEx Blue Cash Preferred will likely be a better bet.
The card also earns 6% back on groceries (on up to $6,000 per year) and 1% back on everything else.
The Blue Cash Preferred card has no rotating categories to track but it does have an annual fee of $75. The Blue Cash Everyday card has no annual fee, but it only earns 2% back on gasoline. If you have a high gas budget, the Blue Cash Preferred has a very generous rewards rate with no limit.
Discover it Card
The Discover it card is one of the best rewards cards in the industry with no annual fee and 5% back on popular spending categories. Categories rotate quarterly but they frequently include gasoline and groceries.
Along with the 5% back on rotating categories, you earn an unlimited 1% back on everything else. And new cardholders will have all first year rewards doubled by Discover as a sign-up bonus.
What we really like about Discover it is the fact that it allows you to earn redeem cash back you earn directly on Amazon.com for any purchases you make. You can also redeem cash back in the form of a statement credit or check.
Chase Freedom Card
The Chase Freedom card ties with the Discover it in terms of gas rewards. Both cards offer 5% back on rotating spending categories that often include gasoline once a year. Because gasoline is only a bonus category once a year, the Chase Freedom and Discover it cards aren't ideal for year-round gasoline purchases, but one of them is good to keep in your wallet. You also need to keep track of the bonus categories and sign up for them each quarter or you won't earn the 5% back.
The Chase Freedom card has no annual fee and a $150 sign-up bonus after you spend $150 during the first three months.
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card
If you're in the military, a government employee, or a Red Cross volunteer, you can be eligible to become a member of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union. This PenFed card offers 5 points per $1 on gasoline, which is the equivalent of 4.25% back given the value of the points. You also earn 3 points per $1 on groceries and 1 point per $1 on all other spending.
The card has no annual fee and a $100 bonus statement credit once you spend $1,500 during the first 90 days. The main downside to the card is the low value of the points, but a guaranteed 4.25% back on gas is still hard to beat.
Station Affiliated Credit Card Rewards
Most gas station affiliated credit cards don't offer much in the way of rewards or they have complicated programs. Note that most gas station cards offer a flat rebate per gallon instead of a cash back percentage. Here's an overview of affiliated gas cards.
Station Specific Card Rewards Comparison
Marathon Visa Credit Card
25¢/gallon rebate on Marathon gas when you spend $1,000+ per month with the card; 15¢/gallon when you spend $500 to $999 per month; 5¢/gallon rebate when you spend less than $500 per month.
BP Visa Gas Card
15¢/gallon rebate for every $100 spent at BP; 5¢/gallon rebate for every $100 spent elsewhere. *Program has several gotchas
CITGO Rewards Credit Card
10¢/gallon rebate on CITGO gas during the first 3 months; 5¢/gallon rebate afterward
ExxonMobil Smart Card
6¢/gallon discount on every gallon at Exxon and Mobil stations
Shell Platinum Select Mastercard
10¢/gallon rebate if you spend at least $500 with the card during a billing cycle; 15¢/gallon rebate if you spend $1,000 to $2,499; 20¢/gallon rebate if you spend $2,500 or more in a billing cycle.
Sunoco Rewards Credit Card
5¢/gallon instant discount at Sunoco stations