Editorial Review

Ducks Unlimited Card Review: High-Flying 5% Back on Gas, Sporting Goods

Earn unlimited 5% cash back on gas purchases, with no annual fee, no membership requirement and no limit on how much spending is eligible for that rate. You also get 5% back at sporting goods stores and 1% everywhere else.

Robin Saks FrankelNovember 14, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

3.4

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: Best-in-class rewards on gas and at sporting goods stores make this an outstanding option for big-time road warriors or those wanting a just-for-gas card. But earnings are lightweight in other areas.

Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card

Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

21.74% Variable

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$0
Annual Fee
$0
Intro APR
N/A

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No annual fee

  • High rewards on gas, sporting goods

Cons
  • High APR

Alternate Pick: 2% cash back on Everything

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

No categories, just consistent rewards

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer pays 2% cash back on purchases — 1% when you buy something and another 1% when you pay the bill. If your credit card spending covers a lot more ground than gas, this card makes it simple to earn elevated rewards on all purchases.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

15.49% - 27.49% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

16.49% - 25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% APR for 12 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers

Intro APR

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 14 months

Intro APR

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

The no-annual-fee Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card is a rare bird indeed. Issued by First Bankcard, a division of First National Bank of Omaha, it offers an exceptional rewards rate — unlimited 5% cash back — on gas and at sporting goods stores.

That's a big, honking rate on gas with no strings attached — no reward limits, spending caps, fees or membership requirements. It's a boast few other cards can make, and it rightfully earns it a spot as one of NerdWallet’s best credit cards for gas. That stellar rewards rate also applies to purchases at sporting goods stores, but even those who hate the great outdoors can find something to love among the athletic wear, shoes and household items often carried by such retailers.

On all other spending, however, the card’s earnings are light as a feather and easily bested by many flat-rate cash-back cards.

Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card: Basics

Card type: Cash back.

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: None.

Rewards:

  • 5% cash back on gas purchases. (This includes businesses whose merchant category codes are either “service stations” or “automated fuel dispensers,” per the card’s terms.)

  • 5% back on sporting goods store purchases.

  • 1% back on everything else.

  • Points expire on the fifth anniversary of when they were awarded. You can redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit to your bank account or a paper check mailed to the address on the account. You can also use your earnings for merchandise, gift cards, travel or other goods and services.

Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 21.74% Variable.

Foreign transaction fee: 3%

Why the Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card might be right for you

High top rewards rate

For gas rewards with no hurdles or hoops, the Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card is best in class. If you're always on the road (and at the pump), it's a great card to have along for the ride. And that’s to say nothing of its generous rate at sporting goods stores. Stock up on whatever you need to pursue your outdoor passions, or just get a few pairs of yoga pants and watch nature shows from your couch. Either way, you’ll earn that same rich rewards rate of 5%.

No annual fee, NO LIMITS, No membership

This bears repeating. Other cards that offer rewards rates of 5% or above tend to either charge annual fees, place a ceiling on the amount of spending eligible for the higher rate, or carry membership requirements. (You don't have to be a member of the waterfowl advocacy group Ducks Unlimited to get this card.) Not the Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card. You'll earn a consistent and unlimited 5% at service stations and sporting goods stores no matter how much you spend.

By contrast, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card earns 5 points per dollar spent on gas at the pump, but you can’t redeem points for cash back, and in many cases the points are worth less than a penny apiece. And there’s a membership requirement: You’ll have to join PenFed’s credit union to get the card. Meanwhile, cash-back cards that seemingly rival the 5% gas rate on the Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card — such as the Chase Freedom®, the Discover it® Cash Back and the Sam's Club Mastercard — all have a cap on the amount of gas spending eligible for the top rate, along with some other limitations.

Conservation support

A portion of every purchase made with the Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card is donated to Ducks Unlimited’s efforts to preserve and maintain wetlands and other native habitats for ducks, geese and other wildlife. The organization says its conservation and management efforts have provided over 14 million acres of habitat for waterfowl, and that the number of ducks recorded in those areas has increased as a result. As its credit card motto says: “You buy, ducks fly.”

Why you might want a different card

You might not spend that much on gas

The Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card is a world-class gas card, but consider whether that's actually what you need. The truth is, most families simply don’t spend all that much on gas compared with other areas of their budget. If your household were to spend $2,000 a year on gas — which is around average, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration — you'd get a nice $100 back from the card. But on purchases that make up a bigger portion of many family budgets — groceries, restaurants, clothing, household goods, utilities and so on — you'll earn a mundane 1% back.

For people who don't mind carrying multiple cards and using them strategically or who simply want a just-for-gas card, this product is peerless. But if you're more of a one-card-for-everything person, it may fall short of other options.

Redemption can be cumbersome

You can take your rewards as a statement credit, a deposit into a checking or savings account, or a mailed check — but it must be in set denominations of $25, $50, $100, $250 or $1,000. In other words, if you’ve got $99 worth of rewards stored up, you’re going to get your hands on only $75 of it (a $50 redemption and a $25 redemption) at cash-in time.

There are no 'extras'

Unlike a lot of other cash-back options, this card offers no sign-up bonus, nor will you get any kind of intro APR rate on purchases or balance transfers. For those who travel a lot by car and are looking for the kind of perks that have become increasingly popular on other cards aimed at frequent travelers, you won't find any on the Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card.

Ongoing APR is high

If you typically carry a balance from month to month, this card will cost you a bundle. The ongoing APR is 21.74% Variable, which means that in spite of that 5% rewards rate on gas and sporting good stores, those savings will be far outweighed by what you'll pay in interest. Consider a card with a 0% APR offer on purchases if you need some extra breathing room on a big buy.

ties to hunting may be an issue for some 

Ducks Unlimited was founded by sportsmen and waterfowl hunters who recognized that habitat conservation would help promote a healthy population of native birds, and the organization says 90% of its members are hunters. The organization is upfront in its mission statement that it supports waterfowl hunting when it’s done in an “ethical and sustainable manner,” and its website has an entire section devoted to hunting — migration alerts, hunting tips, duck calling, decoy strategies, shooting tips, waterfowl gear, dog training and so on. For many people, the group's close relationship with hunting isn't going to be an issue, but others might not be comfortable with it.

Potential alternatives

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

If you're looking for strong rewards beyond just filling up at the pump, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card earns elevated rewards across a wide swath of spending categories. With this card, you'll earn 3 Go Far Rewards points for every dollar spent on dining (which includes restaurants, takeout and bars), riding and driving (which includes gas stations, rideshares and transit), travel (which includes flights, hotels, homestays) and eligible streaming services. You'll likely find that earning a slightly lower 3% for gas vs. the 5% on the  Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card is outweighed by the overall rewards in so many other areas.

Sam's Club Mastercard

To be sure, 5% back on gas isn’t unheard of. The Sam's Club Mastercard, for example, offers that rate — but only up to $6,000 spent on gas per year. After that, you’ll drop down to 1% back on gas. It also earns 3% back at restaurants and travel, and 1% on all other spending. And while the card’s annual fee is technically $0, you must join Sam’s Club to get it. Membership there costs at least $45 a year. But, if your gas spending is in line with the average household and you tend to buy in bulk, the Sam's Club Mastercard might save you more money overall.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

If you're seeking solid and consistent rewards every time you use your card, you'll find that with the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. With this card, you'll earn a total of 2% cash back on every purchase — you'll get 1% when you make it and another 1% when you pay the bill. That means you'll get the same rich rate across the board on everything whether you're buying hunting gear for a trip or a rubber duckie for the tub.

Should you get the Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card?

If you drop a lot of money at gas stations, sporting goods stores or both and are looking for a card to maximize your return on that spending, you won't find a more rewarding option than the Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card. But unless you're an extreme road warrior, you may not spend nearly as much on gas as you think you do. In that case, a card offering elevated rewards across multiple categories might be a better fit in your wallet.