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The average price for a gallon of gas in Los Angeles stood at more than $4.19 a gallon in late May, according to AAA. That’s an improvement from the more than $4.23-a-gallon price earlier in the month, but filling up your car in Los Angeles still takes a bite out of your bank account.
Fortunately, Los Angeles drivers can find a bit of a positive in the high gas prices. Those who have rewards credit cards that provide them with rewards points when they pay for gas can earn points rapidly today.
They can then turn these points into free vacations, hotel stays, airline miles, home electronics, restaurant gift cards and other merchandise.
The key, though, is to nab those credit cards that provide you with the greatest rewards when you’re filling up your tank.
Here’s a short list of the best gas credit cards for Los Angeles motorists.
1. Shell Platinum MasterCard: The Los Angeles area is dotted with Shell gas stations. That makes the Shell Platinum MasterCard a must-have for frequent drivers in the city.
You’ll receive 5 percent cash back any time you use your card to pay for Shell purchases. Thanks to the price of gas, if you fill your car with Shell gasoline once a week, you can rack up a significant amount of cash back. You’ll also receive a 0.5 percent cash-back bonus on all other purchases.
This isn’t a perfect card, though, especially if you don’t plan on paying off your balance every month. The card comes with a very high purchase interest rate of 23.99 percent.
2. Exxon/Mobil MasterCard: Los Angeles is also home to several Exxon/Mobil gas stations. Because of this, the Exxon/Mobil MasterCard is a good one for Los Angeles drivers to have in their wallets. But like the Shell card, this card is only a smart move for those drivers who plan on paying off their balances in full each month. That’s because the Exxon/Mobil MasterCard comes with a sky-high purchase interest rate of 24.99 percent. Here’s the warning again: Don’t use this card if you’re going to carry a balance from month to month.
If you do plan on paying your card in full each month, the Exxon/Mobile MasterCard can provide you with ample cash-back rewards. You’ll receive 15 cents back for every gallon you pump into your card every time you use it to purchase gasoline at an Exxon/Mobil station.
You’ll also receive a cash-back bonus of 2 percent when you use your card to charge up to $10,000 in purchases. Once you cross the $10,000 limit, you’ll receive 1 percent cash back on all purchases.
3. Discover Open Road Card: The Discover Open Road credit card can earn Los Angeles drivers significant dollars every time they fill up their cars. That’s because this card provides a 2 percent cash-back bonus whenever cardholders use the card to pay for gasoline purchases.
And that’s not all: The card provides the same 2 percent cash-back bonus whenever consumers use it to make purchases at restaurants. All other purchases bring a cash-back bonus of 1 percent.
You’ll also nab a $75 gift card with Restaurant.com after you use your card to make your first purchase.
Cardholders will also receive a $50 statement credit after they use the BankAmericard card to make at least $100 in retail purchases within the first 60 days of opening their account.
5. Capital One No Hassle Cash Rewards: This credit card gives consumers cash-back bonuses of 2 percent on all gasoline and grocery purchases. All other purchases fetch cash-back bonuses of 1 percent.
The card also comes with 0 percent interest on all new purchases until May 2012. After that, the purchase interest rate rises to 12.9 percent to 20.9 percent depending on the creditworthiness of cardholders.
6. American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card: This card allows you to build membership rewards points — which you can then convert into free airline miles, resort stays, gift cards, electronics and other merchandise — if you spend a lot of money at the pump. And certainly in Los Angeles, motorists will be paying a lot this summer to fuel their vehicles.
This Gold Card gives you two membership rewards points for every dollar that you spend on gas and groceries. The card also gives consumers three rewards points for every dollar that you charge for airfare, and a single point for every other dollar that they charge.
Cardholders will also earn 15,000 rewards points if they spend at least $1,000 with their cards during the first three months after they’ve opened their accounts.
7. Chase Freedom Visa: This card features rotating categories of purchases. When you use your credit card to purchase these items, you’ll receive 5 percent cash back. These purchases change: For three months, you might receive 5 percent cash back for restaurant purchases. For the next three months, you might receive 5 percent cash back on gas purchases.
If you use this card wisely, then — using it to fill up with the cash-back reward for gas purchases stands at 5 percent — you can earn a significant number of dollars when you use it at Los Angeles gas stations.
Credit Shout is a community of personal finance experts dedicated to helping you save money and make smart financial decisions. Learn how to master your credit card rewards, improve your credit score and start eliminating your debt.