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3 Gas Rewards Credit Cards Worthy of Your Wallet


Whether it’s a golf-outing to Pinehurst, a beach trip to Cape Cod with the grandkids or that roadtrip you’ve been meaning to take with your wife for decades now, if you’re like many baby boomers and retirees, summer travel is on the agenda.  But with gas prices near $4 per gallon, it may be time to think about getting a credit card that can save you some dough.

Despite rising gas prices, a growing number of Americans — especially older Americans — plan to hit the road more frequently this year than last year. Overall, 86% of Americans said they’re planning a trip this summer, up from 83% last year, and roughly two-thirds of them plan to take a car trip, according to a survey by TripAdvisor.com. Increasingly, these travelers are 65 and older: The total number of trips taken by older adults has increased 10% since 2001, according to a survey by AARP. But for all its perks, your summer road trip will have one unpleasant downside: sticker shock at the pump. The average price for a gallon of regular gas is $3.92, up 37% over last year, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. The good news: “Gas rewards cards can help frequent travelers save money,” says Tim Chen, CEO of NerdWallet.com, a website dedicated to educating consumers about credit cards. “Some cards award up to 5% cash back.”

Of course, these cards aren’t a cure-all to your gas price woes. For one, many rewards cards have high interest rates, Chen says, so if you don’t pay off your balance in full each month, the money you’ll spend on interest is likely far greater than the money you saved on gas. Plus, the rewards on some cards are difficult to follow with rotating categories of rewards that change each quarter. Still other cards only work at certain gas stations.

That said, these cards can save you a significant money, possibly hundreds of dollars in a year for the frequent driver, Chen says.  Here are his recommendations for some of the best gas rewards credit cards for the frequent traveler:

  • PenFed Platinum Cashback Rewards: This card gives you 5% cash back on gas purchases, and the company has no limit to the amount of gas that they’ll give you cash back on. Plus, at 13.99%, the APR is low, so if you do rack up a bill on accident one month, it’s not going to cost you as much as it would with another card. The problem: “This card is pretty hard to qualify for,” Chen says.
  • Chase BP: This card also gives you 5% cash back on gas, but only at BP pumps, which can be a problem for many consumers. However, for the BP loyalist, it’s a good bet, says Chen, as not only is the 5% generous, the card doesn’t limit how much gas it offers cash back on.
  • Amex Blue Cash Preferred: This card is good for the person who spends a lot on gas, groceries and department stores. It gives 3% cash back on gas, 6% on groceries and 3% on department stories, with no limits.  But the card carries an annual fee of $75, so unless you’re a big spender, this card might not be right for you.

Click here to see more suggestions for gas rewards cards.


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    • One problem with the CHase BP Visa card (that Chase fails to advertise): Chase stops gasoline transactions at $100 and then limits the number of gasoline transactions to two (2).

      With gas prices rising, this means you need to swipe and pump two times to fill your minivan’s tank (first time for $100 and the second time to complete the fill).

      The problem with the other issue (two transaction limit) is that if your spouse or children use the card, they can’t be buying gas on the same day you buy gas.

    • I have the AMEX Costco card which gives 3% back on gas ($3K max spend/yr) and dining, 2% on travel (hotels, car rentals, cruises, airline tickets), and 1% on everything else. I also have a Chase Freedom card which gives 3% back on gas and groceries and 1% on everything else. If you wait until $200 is accumulated, you get a check for $250. This makes it really 3.75% and 1.25% back. Both cards are no fee.

    • BP stations typically have a street price in excess of 5% higher than their competitors, so the card is no bargain.

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  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.