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How to Pick a Good Gas Rewards Credit Card

Gasoline is expensive, and it is unlikely to become more affordable in the future. Thankfully, there are many credit cards that offer increased rewards for purchases at the pump. But with so many competing offers, how can cardholders choose the best gas rewards credit card for their needs?

Consider these factors:

Discounts per dollar or per gallon

Some gas cards offer discounts in terms of cents per gallon, while others offer a percentage of cash back based on the total price in dollars. Since the national average for self serve regular gasoline is about $3.60 per gallon, a 5% discount is equal to 18 cents per gallon. So discounts based on dollars will always look smaller than those based on gallons, but will usually be larger.

Cards that offer discounts for specific gasoline retailers versus bank rewards

Most major gas station chains offer their own credit or charge cards. And understandably, they offer their best rewards when purchasing fuel at their stations. This might work for those who always fill up at the same chain, but it won’t make sense for those who constantly shop different brands for the best price.

Cards with discounts only valid only at “stand alone” gas stations

Some cards that offer bank rewards for purchases at gas stations are only valid at “stand alone” locations. This excludes retailers such as Costco, Sam’s Club, and supermarket fuel centers. So always be sure to double check the fine print. and avoid these cards if stand alone stations are the most expensive option in your area.

Interest rates and fees

Like all reward cards, gasoline cards should only be used when cardholders pay their monthly balances in full. Otherwise cardholders should be looking for products with the lowest interest rates.

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A few good gas rewards credit cards

Costco True Earnings card from Costco and American Express

This card offers 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations including Costco, but excluding other warehouse stores and supermarkets. The rewards are only valid on the cardholder’s first $4,000 in gasoline purchases each year, and cardholders will receive 1% back after that. Rewards are distributed once a year after the close of the cardholder’s February billing cycle. There is no annual fee for this card with a paid Costco membership.


Visa from Chase

The American Association of Retired Persons offers its co-branded card with 3% cash back at gas stations and on restaurant purchases. New applicants receive $100 cash back after spending $500 on their card within three months of opening an account. There is no annual fee for this card, and it is available to people of all ages who join AARP as a standard or associate member.

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Card

This card offers five points per dollar spent on gasoline purchases, and three points per dollar spent at supermarkets. Points can be redeemed for once cent each towards merchandise, travel, gift cards and Visa prepaid cards. There is no annual fee for this card, and anyone can join the Pentagon Federal Credit Union by making a $15 donation to a military support charity.

At publishing time, the Costco True Earnings card from Costco and American Express is offered through product pages and is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Image: iStockphoto

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Note: It's important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards and personal finance since 2008, poring through the terms and conditions of credit card agreements to understand the minutiae of how these products work. His work has appeared on Yahoo, MSN, HuffingtonPost and other major news outlets. In his free time, Jason's a commercial pilot. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in History. More by Jason Steele

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