Paying More At The Pump? These Credit Cards Can Save You Money

Paying More At The Pump? These Credit Cards Can Save You Money

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For most Americans, filling up the gas tank is a common occurrence, whether it’s weekly or monthly. So, if you’re spending a significant portion of your monthly household budget on fuel, it’s important to make sure you get the best return from your credit card on your gas station purchases.

But which card is the best to use at a gas station? It depends on your needs, but we’ve put together a list of the best credit cards for gas to help you decide which one is the right choice for you.

Citi Premier® Card: Best for travel points
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card: Best for flexibility
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card: Best for no cap
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi: Best for cash back
Chase Freedom Flex℠: Best for cell phone protection
Discover it® Cash Back: Best for rotating categories
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Best for hotel points
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card: Best for poor credit

All information about the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card, the Discover it® Cash Back and the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card has been collected independently by CNN. The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card, the Discover it® Cash Back and the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card are not currently available through CNN.

Why did we pick these as our best credit cards for gas this year? Let’s dive into the details of each of these cards and see how they compare to one another.

If your main goal is to turn your gas station purchases into free travel, then the Citi Premier card is your best bet. In fact, it’s one of our favorite travel credit cards. This card earns 3 Citi ThankYou points for every dollar you spend on gas, with no cap to the number of points you can earn.

You can easily redeem ThankYou points for travel in two different ways. First, Citi has its own travel portal — similar to Expedia or Orbitz — where you can book a flight or hotel and, instead of paying cash, use your ThankYou points to pay. When you redeem this way, your points are worth 1 cent per point.

The second option is to transfer your ThankYou points to one of Citi’s 17 airline and hotel partners at a 1-to-1 ratio. It takes more time and flexibility to book this way, but you can potentially get a lot more value for your points, especially if you’re looking to fly business or first class.

There’s a learning curve when booking flights with these airline and hotel programs, and most of Citi’s airline partners are international carriers. But JetBlue is also a Citi airline partner, which makes it easy to redeem ThankYou points for travel within the U.S. on JetBlue.

The Citi Premier card is also a great choice when you’re paying for air travel, and at hotels, supermarkets and restaurants (including takeout), as you’ll earn the same 3 points per dollar in these categories as well.

You’ll also get extended warranty protection, damage and theft protection and no foreign transaction fees on the Citi Premier. But unfortunately, there’s no travel insurance coverage on the card, so you’ll be without car rental insurance, trip cancellation and interruption protection, trip delay protection or baggage delay coverage.

And even though the Citi Premier has a $95 annual fee, you’ll get an annual $100 hotel credit on reservations of $500 or more when you book through ThankYou.com as well as a $5 discount on three Lyft rides taken in a month, three free months of Door Dash’s DashPass food delivery membership and access to Mastercard Luxury Hotels and Resorts.

Learn more and apply now for the Citi Premier card.

The Citi Custom Cash Card is one of the most flexible cards you’ll find if your spending habits change each month throughout the year. You’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $500 spent in your top eligible category each billing cycle (then 1% cash back after that). You don’t have to choose your category in advance — you’ll earn the 5% cash back automatically in whichever category you spent the most in during that billing cycle.

Fortunately, many categories fall within the 5% cash back bucket — including gas station purchases. So if you prioritize this card for gas, you can earn up to $25 cash back per billing cycle — that’s up to $300 per year. And best of all, if your spending shifts in a billing cycle or two — or you end up not driving much during a particular month — you’ll instead earn 5% cash back on different spending categories, such as restaurants, grocery stores, drugstores and more.

Rewards on the Citi Custom Cash Card are technically earned in the form of Citi ThankYou points, but you can redeem your points for a statement credit at a rate of 1 cent per point. However, if you also have the Citi Premier card, you can combine all of your ThankYou points together in one account and then redeem them for travel or transfer them to Citi’s travel partners.

The one downside of the card is that on all other purchases that don’t fall into the top eligible category, you’ll only earn 1% cash back. For those purchases, you’re better off with the Citi® Double Cash Card, which earns 2% cash back on everything you buy — 1% when you make a purchase, and another 1% when you pay it off.

For a no-annual-fee card, the Citi Custom Cash Card is a great gas credit card option, especially since new card holders also get a 0% introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months. Just make sure you pay off your debt by the end of the intro period, because the APR rises to a variable 13.99% to 23.99% afterward.

Learn more and apply now for the Citi Custom Cash Card.

Although the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature card isn’t mentioned often, it’s a top contender when it comes to gas purchases. It earns 5 points for every dollar you spend on gas — with no cap to the amount you can earn. To top it off, you’ll also earn 3 points per dollar at the supermarket (including most Target and Walmart locations), restaurants, and TV, radio and cable streaming services.

Unfortunately, there’s no option to redeem your PenFed Platinum Visa points for cash back, and PenFed doesn’t have any airline or hotel transfer partners. Instead, points can be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise and travel booked through PenFed. There’s no set redemption value, but typically, travel redemptions will give you the highest value.

The limited redemption options of the PenFed Platinum Visa is the main reason this card isn’t higher on our list. And there’s a big catch — even though the card doesn’t carry an annual fee, you must join PenFed’s credit union to be eligible for the card. But with all that said, if you’re willing to redeem your PenFed points for travel, you can typically get more than 1 cent apiece for your points, which makes the card worth considering.

One of the strongest features of the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi is its earning rate on gas purchases. Regardless of where you fill up your tank, you’ll earn 4% cash back with this card, up to $7,000 per year (then 1% thereafter). And while Costco gas stations typically offer the best price on fuel compared to nearby locations, you aren’t limited to just these stations to earn the bonus cash back on this card.

Additionally, you’ll also earn 3% cash back at restaurants and on eligible travel purchases with the Costco Anywhere Visa, 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com and 1% cash back on everything else.

Although the Costco Anywhere Visa technically doesn’t come with an annual fee, you must have a Costco membership — which starts at $60 per year — in order to get the card. So it may only be worth getting the card if you’re also a Costco shopper.

For your non-gas purchases, the Costco Anywhere Visa also provides protection for your purchases made both in and outside of Costco stores. For example, the card’s purchase protection benefit will cover you if any item you buy with the card is damaged or stolen within 120 days or purchase (90 days for New York residents), up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 annually.

Learn more and apply now for the Costco Anywhere Visa card.

The Chase Freedom Flex is unique, as it gives you the opportunity to earn bonus points on different purchases throughout the year based on its rotating bonus categories. You can earn 5% cash back in these categories, up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter. And while “gas stations” isn’t a category on the Freedom Flex 365 days a year, it’s often listed as a bonus category in one or two quarters.

When gas stations is a bonus category for the quarter, you’ll be able to earn 5% cash back for the entire three months, up to the $1,500 maximum. The entire list of Chase Freedom Flex categories hasn’t yet been revealed for 2022, so we aren’t yet sure if and when we’ll see gas as a bonus category, but it’s likely we will at some point. Just remember that you must activate your bonus categories on the card each quarter in order to earn bonus cash back.

Aside from the rotating categories, you’ll also earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards with the Chase Freedom Flex, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1% on all other purchases. You’ll want to pay special attention to drugstores, since you can often purchase gas gift cards — such as Shell and ExxonMobil — on the gift card carousel at the store. If those gas stations are where you typically fill up your tank, this is an easy way to indirectly get 3% cash back on your gas purchases year-round.

And although the Chase Freedom Flex card is marketed as

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