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Have you been hitting the road a lot this summer to celebrate long holiday weekends? If so, you’re not alone: According to data collected by MasterCard SpendPulse, Americans’ gas consumption during summer 2014 has (so far) increased 1.6% over 2013.
But there’s one more getaway to plan before the season is over! If you expect to drop a lot of dough at the pump for your Labor Day vacation, it’s a good idea to use a credit card that offers primo rewards on gas spending. Not sure which one to opt for? Take a look at the Nerds’ top picks below!
Best overall: Chase Freedom®
The Chase Freedom® is one of our favorite cash-back cards. With it, you’ll earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories (up to $1,500 in combined spending per quarter) and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
In 2016, gas stations are featured as a 5% bonus retailer for the first quarter of the year. Plus, you’ll also have the opportunity to score bonus rewards at other retailers throughout the year. Other 5% bonus categories are as follows:
|Chase Freedom® bonus rewards categories for 2017 and early 2018|
|Q1 2017 (Jan. 1 - March 31)||Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls or Amtrak)|
|Q2 2017 (April 1 - June 30)||Grocery stores and drugstores|
|Q3 2017 (July 1 – Sept. 30)||Restaurants and movie theaters|
|Q4 2017 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31)||Walmart and department stores|
|Q1 2018 (Jan. 1 - March 31)||• Gas stations
• Internet, cable and phone service
• Purchases via Chase Pay, Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay
What’s more, the Chase Freedom® provides all of these great benefits with an annual fee of $0. The icing on the cake? A signup bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. All in all, the Chase Freedom® is a great choice!
If you spend a lot on gas, grocery stores and wholesale clubs: Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Family life often includes lots of trips for gas and groceries. If this sounds familiar, the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card is a good option to consider.
With the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card, you’ll earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% cash back on gas for the first $2,500 in combined spending per quarter. You’ll also get 1% cash back on all other purchases. Plus, if you are a Bank of America® customer and redeem your rewards into your checking or savings account, you’ll get an ongoing 10% customer bonus.
This card is also convenient for people who don’t like to worry about changing bonus categories; if you like the idea of earning solid, ongoing rewards at retailers you shop with all the time, the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card delivers.
Like the Chase Freedom®’s $0 annual fee, the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card also has an annual fee of $0. It also provides a signup bonus: $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. For big gas and grocery store spenders, or people who shop at wholesale clubs a lot, this card is a winner!
If you’re looking for unlimited gas rewards: Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card
If you’re constantly stopping to fill up your tank, you might be worried that you’ll exceed the bonus cash-back spending limits with the Chase Freedom® or the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card. In this case, opting for the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card might be a good idea.
With this card, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent on gas, 2 points per dollar spent on restaurant purchases, and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. Since each point is worth $.01, this means you’re getting a rewards rate of 3% at the pump. Plus, Wells Fargo banking customers can score an annual relationship bonus of 10%, 25% or 50% on all points earned, depending on what type of account you have and how much you’re keeping in it.
But here’s the really great news: There’s no limit to the number of points you can earn. This is why the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card is great for people who devote a lot of their monthly income to gas spending. Plus, you can redeem your rewards in a variety of ways, including travel, cash back, gift cards and merchandise.
Like the Chase Freedom® and the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card, the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card offers a signup bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in net purchases in the first 3 months. The only slight drawback to this card is that it charges an annual fee. The $0 for the first year, then $45.
But it’s helpful to think about this charge in the context of this card’s high, unlimited rewards rate: If you’re spending at least $130 per month at the pump, you’ve hit the break even point with the annual fee. If you spend more than $500 per month on gas, you’ve outstripped the bonus rewards you’d earn with the Chase Freedom® and BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ credit card, so opting for the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card makes sense, despite the annual fee.
The takeaway: If you’re planning a road trip for your Labor Day getaway, be sure to take one of the Nerds’ favorite gas cards along!
Road trip image via Shutterstock