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NerdWallet’s Best Gas Credit Cards of 2018

Nov. 1, 2018
NerdWallet’s Best Gas Credit Cards of 2017
NerdWallet adheres to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Gas isn’t a huge part of the typical household budget. So for most people, the trick to choosing a great gas credit card is picking one that rewards you well — not just on gas station purchases, but for other spending, too.

Still, especially for heavy drivers, getting outsized rewards on gas can be key. Aim to earn at least 3% back on every dollar spent at the pump.

Gas-station-branded cards might be tempting, but you’re likely to get more value overall with a general rewards credit card — and you won’t be tied to a single brand of service station.

Here are the Nerds’ picks for best gas credit cards:

» MORE: How to choose a gas credit card

For overall spending

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Apply Now on Wells Fargo's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • Sign-up bonus
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

    Cons

    • American Express isn’t accepted at as many merchants as Visa or Mastercard
    • Requires good/excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 14.49% - 26.99% Variable APR

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s a $300 cash redemption value

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months
  • Additional Information
    • New! Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months that's a $300 cash redemption value
    • Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in
    • Earn 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit
    • Earn 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
    • Earn 1X points on other purchases
    • $0 Annual Fee
    • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (fees apply), then a 14.49%-26.99% variable APR; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rates and fees
    • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions

The annual fee is $0. Earn 3 points per dollar spent on gas, dining, travel and popular streaming services, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 26.99% Variable APR. Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s a $300 cash redemption value.

Benefits of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

The relaunched Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card offers 3 points per dollar in a slew of popular categories, including gas stations. Others include dining out, travel and popular streaming services. All other spending earns 1 point per dollar. Points are worth a penny apiece and are redeemable for cash, travel and more. There’s a rich welcome offer for new cardholders, and you even get a 0% introductory APR period, all with an annual fee of $0.

Drawbacks of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

There are some limitations on redemption. For cash back, the minimum redemption amount is $25, or $20 when redeeming at a Wells Fargo ATM. Travel redemptions are available only by booking through Wells Fargo.

Bottom line

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card lacks some of the premium perks that other travel-card competitors offer. But for gas spending, it offers nice rewards while giving you a reason to use it on other spending, too.

For families

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Apply Now on American Express's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Leading cash-back rewards at U.S. supermarkets
    • Bonus offer for new cardholders
    • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

    Cons

    • Has annual fee — but if you spend more than $31 per week at U.S. supermarkets, the rewards offset the fee
    • American Express isn’t accepted at as many merchants as Visa or Mastercard
    • $25 minimum redemption

    Annual Fees

    $95

    APR

    • APR: 14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months
  • Additional Information
    • $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
    • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.
    • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
    • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.99% to 25.99%.
    • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
    • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
    • $95 annual fee.
    • Terms Apply.

The annual fee is $95. Earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores; 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%); 1% back on all other purchases. Terms apply. 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR. $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

Benefits of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Earning 3% back on U.S. gas station purchases year-round is excellent when there are other lucrative bonus categories, too. Large households especially will appreciate what the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can earn on grocery shopping: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). Terms apply.

Drawbacks of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Make sure what you’ll earn in rewards will outstrip the card’s $95 annual fee — grocery shopping can likely get you there faster than gas guzzling. If you’re completely opposed to annual fees, this card has a sister — the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express — with an annual fee of $0. It returns 2% at U.S. gas stations among its bonus categories. Terms apply.

Bottom line

The rewards structure of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is unusually generous to people who spend a lot on gas and groceries — perhaps those with families and long commutes. No cap on gas rewards means that even if you’re a salesperson with a multistate territory, you’ll be able to fill your tank all year long without getting bumped to a lower rewards rate.

For credit union fans

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Apply Now on Pentagon Federal Credit Union's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • Bonus cash back categories
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Membership required
    • Can't redeem for cash
    • Inconsistent point value

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • Min APR: 11.74%, Variable
    • Max APR: 17.99%, Variable
    • Penalty APR: Up to 17.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.

    Intro APR

    • 0% promotional rate for 12 months on transfers made now through December 31, 2018
  • Additional Information
    • 0% APR promo balance transfer rate for 12 months now through December 31, 2018. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 11.74% to 17.99%. APR will vary w/the market based on Prime Rate. 3% balance transfer fee per transaction. Subject to credit approval. $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.
    • Rate and offers current as of November 1, 2018 and subject to change.
    • Earn 5 points on gas purchases at the pump. Fuel purchases for airplanes and boats do not receive cash back rewards.
    • Earn 3 points on supermarket purchases
    • Earn 1 point on all other purchases
    • No annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • No cash advance fee
    • Chip enabled for added security
    • Federally insured by NCUA
    • Variable rate as low As 11.74% APR

The annual fee is $0. Earn 5 points per dollar spent on gas at the pump, 3 points per dollar on groceries and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. 0% promotional rate for 12 months on transfers made now through December 31, 2018, and then the ongoing APR of 11.74% - 17.99% Variable. $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.

Benefits of the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

If you’re willing to endure a little hassle in joining this credit union and using its points, it’s hard to beat the return in points on the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card, which has an annual fee of $0. Each $1 spent on gas earns the equivalent of 4.25 cents when redeemed for gift cards, which is a superb return. It also helps at the supermarket. The card is also our only choice that isn’t issued by a megabank, if that appeals to you.

Drawbacks of the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

To apply, you need to join the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, an organization that caters to military and government employees. (You can also join by making a charitable donation.) There is no cash-back option; just merchandise, gift cards and travel. Also, points aren’t worth the traditional penny per point. You’ll typically get a value of 0.85 cents each, although they can be worth more than a penny when used for travel. Also keep in mind that gas rewards are for pay-at-the-pump purchases only, so convenience store snacks, wiper fluid and car washes bought at the service station checkout counter won’t count for bonus rewards.

Bottom line

For some, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card won’t be an easy card to apply for, and redeeming points might be a hassle. But if you need a sky-high return on your gas spending, it may be the card for you.

For smaller spenders

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Apply Now on Bank of America's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • Cash bonus offer
    • Cash rewards

    Cons

    • If you're a big spender with excellent credit and willing to pay an annual fee, there are cards with higher rewards

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: up to 29.99% APR

    Bonus Offers

    $200 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles and 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days
  • Additional Information
    • No annual fee
    • NEW OFFER: $200 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
    • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter
    • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
    • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases AND for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers
    • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
    • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%
    • Easily add your Mastercard® credit card to any digital wallet for a simple, secure, and convenient way to pay online, in-app, and in-store

The annual fee is $0. Earn 3% on gas, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on other purchases for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter. 0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles and 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR. $200 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

Benefits of the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

3% back on gas purchases is already high, but if you’re a Bank of America® devotee, you can earn more. Bank checking or savings customers get a 10% bonus on redemption, pushing the effective rewards rate on gas to 3.3%. If you’re more of a saver than a spender and you have at least $20,000 in combined accounts at Bank of America®, Merrill Lynch or Merrill Edge, your gas earnings can rise to a rate of 3.75%, 4.5% or 5.25% with Preferred Rewards.

Drawbacks of the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Your 3% (or higher) rate on gas purchases is capped at $2,500 in combined gas/grocery/wholesale club spending per quarter, which can be complicated to manage and might be too low for larger households. Earning more than 3% back on gas purchases requires a high loyalty to Bank of America®.

Bottom line

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is already a good card for gas purchases, but if you’re a Bank of America® customer and can qualify for Preferred Rewards, this card becomes exceptional for use at the pump. Just don’t exceed that quarterly spending cap. Note, the Susan G. Komen® Cash Rewards Visa® credit card from Bank of America is mostly the same.

» MORE: 5 things to know about the Susan G. Komen Cash Rewards Visa card

For strategic quarterly use

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

Apply Now on Chase's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • 5% rewards on rotating categories
    • Access to Chase’s Ultimate Rewards site to earn more cash back

    Cons

    • If you value simplicity, a flat rate cash back card may be better
    • A foreign transaction fee

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 16.99% - 25.74% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months
  • Additional Information
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
    • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
    • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
    • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
    • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
    • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
    • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
    • No annual fee

Annual fee of $0. Earn 5% back on rotating bonus categories that you activate quarterly, on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter, and 1% back on all other purchases. Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Introductory APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.99% - 25.74% Variable APR.

Benefits of the Chase Freedom®

This card and the Discover it® Cash Back are similar, and both traditionally have featured gas stations as a quarterly category that earns 5% cash back. That makes them ideal for use at the pump for at least three months. You might be better off with a different card for the rest of the year. The Chase Freedom® gets the nod here because in 2018 it featured gas stations twice during the year as a 5% category, including in the third quarter during summer driving season. (Current bonus categories are here.)

Drawbacks of the Chase Freedom®

The card is great for using on bonus-category spending, but otherwise earns a low 1% back on everything else. That makes it more of a complementary card than one you swipe for all purchases. You have to keep track of the bonus categories and activate them each quarter, which some consider a hassle. Bonus earnings are capped at $1,500 in spending per quarter, meaning if you maxed out you’d earn $75 each quarter.

Bottom line

The Chase Freedom® traditionally has offered gas purchases as a rotating bonus category at least one quarter a year, and earning 5% back at the pump with an annual fee of $0 is hard to beat. But it requires a little effort to activate categories each quarter and to remember to use the card at the pump during the right time. And unlike a lot of other purchases, gas is a buy-it-when-you-need-it expense, making it harder to plan around.

For warehouse club members

Sam's Club Mastercard

Sam's Club Mastercard

Apply Now on Synchrony Bank's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Bonus cash back categories
    • No annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Need Sam's Club membership to qualify
    • Rewards redeemable once a year and only at Sam's Club

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • Min APR: 16.65%, Variable
    • Max APR: 24.65%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Get $45 (covers your Sam's Club membership fee for a year). Offer valid now through January 15, 2019.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 5% cash back on gas (on first $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), 3% on dining and travel, and 1% on other purchases.*
    • No annual card fee
    • One-card convenience
    • $0 fraud liability
    • Enhanced security
    • Online account management
    • Use wherever MasterCard® is accepted
    • MasterCard ID Theft Protection™ services

Annual fee of $0, but you must be a Sam’s Club member. The membership fee starts at $45 a year. 5% cash back at eligible gas stations worldwide, including gas stations at Sam’s Club (on up to $6,000 spent per year, then 1%), 3% cash back on dining and travel, 1% cash back on all other purchases. Sign-up bonus: Get $45 (covers your Sam's Club membership fee for a year). Offer valid now through January 15, 2019. The ongoing APR is 16.65% - 24.65% Variable.

Benefits of the Sam's Club Mastercard

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi offers a healthy 4% back on gas purchases. But among warehouse credit cards, the Sam's Club Mastercard wins, offering 5% back at eligible gas stations worldwide, including gas stations at Sam’s Club. Based on average household gas spending, those rewards total about $100 per year, enough to pay for the $45 Sam’s Club membership and still return 2.75% on gas spending for the average household.

Drawbacks of the Sam's Club Mastercard

The 5% cash back on gas applies to only the first $6,000 spent per year; then it’s 1% back. It’s a generous cap considering the average household spends one-third of that per year on gas, but it’s still a cap. Total rewards are capped at $5,000 per year. And a big downer: You can redeem rewards only once a year, in person at a Sam’s Club store.

Bottom line

If you’re already a Costco member, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is a fine choice with a robust rewards rate on gas purchases. But if you don’t already have that membership and don’t mind waiting to cash in rewards, the Sam's Club Mastercard offers more as a gas credit card, and a basic membership to Sam’s Club costs less, at $45.

» MORE: Compare the Sam’s Club Mastercard with the Costco Visa