Credit Card Industry Expert Roundup #26 - What credit card do you use for buying gas, and why?
About 10 years ago when gas prices were through the roof, people began to take a closer look at the ways they could save money on gas. Perhaps the most effective method, other than not buying it of course, still exists today - gas rebate cards. For this issue, Jason Steele asks the experts which is their favorite way to pay for gas.
Michelle Black - Credit expert, freelance writer, and speaker with over 16 years of experience in the credit industry.
When buying gas I typically stick with whichever card is going to give me the most rewards. In July - September of 2018 I used my Chase Freedom card. That card features different categories each quarter which allow you to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases (a pretty sweet deal with no annual fee attached to the account). You do have to log into your account and opt in to be eligible to earn the 5% rewards - a bit of a hassle in my opinion, but worth it. I typically set a reminder on my phone to opt in each quarter. Last quarter, gas stations were one of the 5% categories featured. When gas stations are not a featured category on my Chase Freedom card, I use with my Citi Double Cash card. With 2% cash back on any purchase, it's my go-to, all-around card if one of the other options in my wallet doesn't feature better rewards for a specific type of purchase.
Lee Huffman - Teaches others how to travel more, spend less, & live better since 2012.
The credit card I use for gas might surprise most readers. It isn't one that offers bonus points for purchases at gas stations. My go to credit card is the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card. The points are worth about 1.5 cents for most people. but because I have the Southwest Companion Pass, the points earned are worth double that for me. That 3x per dollar spent is on par with most of the bonuses earned on other cards and saves me from having to carry around a specific credit card just for gas.
The Southwest Companion Pass is the best airline benefit around. You get this benefit when you earn at least 110,000 points in a calendar year from flights, credit card bonuses & spend, and partners. Every dollar I spend on the Southwest credit cards gets me one step closer to renewing the companion pass. Once you've earned it, your designated companion can fly with you for free anywhere Southwest flies for the remained of the current year and all of the following year. Just pay the required taxes on the flight.
Zina Kumok - Author of consciouscoins.com
I typically use whatever card I'm currently trying to get a sign-up bonus with. If I don't have a new card, then I'll use my Southwest Rapid Rewards card because I usually fly Southwest and want to earn as many points as possible. I only fill up once a month so I'm not too concerned with getting the best cash-back on my gas.
Geoff Whitmore - Founder of WalletPath.com
I use my Chase Ink Plus Business credit card to buy gas. It earns 2x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on gas purchases (up to $50,000 in purchases annually). Because the Ink Plus Business credit card earns 5x points per $1 at office supply stores, they are my go-to place to buy gift cards. Then, I’ll use the gift card for my everyday spending.
I also hold the Hilton Honors Ascend credit card. It earns 6x points per $1 on gas purchases. However, Hilton Honors points aren't as valuable or as flexible as transferable points. For that reason, I stick with my Chase Ink Plus credit card.
Because of the flexibility of transferable points, I try to earn them on all my spending. For example, Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer out to some of my favorite loyalty programs like Hyatt and United.
Holly Johnson - Founder of Club Thrifty
While I occasionally switch cards for gas purchases, I'm currently using my Citi Premier card when I fill up the family car. The Citi Premier offers 3x points on travel including gas purchases, 2x points on dining out and entertainment, and 1x points on all other purchases. Fortunately, that's on top of the 50,000 points I earned for signing up and spending $4,000 on the new card within three months of account opening.
While my favorite flexible rewards program is Chase Ultimate Rewards, I still value the Citi ThankYou program due to its flexibility and transfer partners. I'm currently racking up Citi points to transfer to Air France/Flying Blue for cheap flights to Europe, but the program has a lot of other transfer partners as well. I also like the fact that you can use the Citi ThankYou travel portal to book travel directly. You even get 25% more travel when you use your points to book airfare through the Citi portal.
The Citi ThankYou Premier card also comes with no foreign transaction fees and an annual fee that is waived the first year.
Jason Steele - Founder of the credit card media conference CardCon
I’ve been using the Amex Everyday Preferred, which offers 2x points at US gas stations. Another nice thing about this card is that when you use it for 30 or more transactions during a statement period, then you get a 50% bonus on your points earned. This means that I can earn up to 3x points per dollar at US gas stations, which is great.
Amex points are very valuable, as they can be transferred to miles with many different airlines. When I use these miles for expensive last minute flights, or seats in business or first class, then it’s possible to realize several cents per mile in value. The biggest downside is that this card has a $95 annual fee. Also, it has a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, and the bonuses don’t count outside of the United States.