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Looking for the best return on gas and fuel?
Americans consume a whopping 135 billion gallons of fuel per year. Along with food and housing, fuel ranks as one of the most significant spending categories for many families in the U.S. and accounts for a substantial share of credit card spending. If you swipe the right card at the gas station, you can receive as much as 5% back on your fuel bill in the form of rewards points or cash back.
Around half the credit cards we're discussing as the best for gas purchases are no-annual-fee, cash-back cards — perfect if you're looking to keep your costs to a minimum. The remainder levy an annual fee but earn points in an array of rewards programs with the chance of higher returns. These typically provide a bunch of ancillary benefits on top of their earnings, as well.
Our Pick: The Best Credit Card for Gas and Fuel
- 60,000 point signup bonus worth $800 towards airfare through the ThankYou Travel Center, or potentially much more when transferred to airline partners
- 3X points per $1 on airfare and hotels and at gas stations, restaurants, and supermarkets
- Annual Hotel Benefit: Save $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when you book through ThankYou.com
- No foreign transaction fees
- $95 annual fee
- 3X points per $1 spent on airfare, hotels, and at gas stations
- 3X points per $1 spent on dining at restaurants, including cafes, bars and lounges
- 3X points per $1 spent at supermarkets
- 1X points per $1 spent on all other purchases
The Citi Premier slides into first place by earning Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Other Hotels.. While the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card earns more points — five for every dollar spent at the pump, as opposed to three — we think Citi ThankYou Rewards are far more valuable. PenFed rewards points have a maximum value of 0.85¢ per point, while AwardWallet users typically redeem their ThankYou Rewards for 2.2¢ apiece.
Best Rewards Credit Cards for Gas and Fuel
|Credit Card||Points Earned on Gas & Fuel||Other Bonus Categories||Annual Fee|
|Citi Premier® Card||3X points at gas stations||3X points on air travel, hotels, supermarkets, and restaurants||$95|
|Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card||2X points at US gas stations; make 30 or more purchases in a billing period to earn 50% extra points||3X at US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year (then 1X)||$95|
|American Express® Business Gold Card||4X points on 2 of 6 categories with the highest monthly spend, including U.S. purchases at gas stations||Up to 4X points on the remaining 5 categories including:|
Airfare purchased directly from airlines
U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
U.S. purchases for shipping
U.S. purchases at restaurants
U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
|$295 - Rates & Fees|
|Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card||3% back in the category of your choice, which can be gas — up to $2,500 of quarterly purchases in the 3% and 2% categories|
*From 08/22/2023, the gas category will also include Electric Vehicle Charging (EVC) Stations.
|2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs||$0|
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express||Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.||N/A||No annual fee - Rates & Fees|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||3% back at U.S. gas stations||6% at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%. Cash back is issued as a statement credit.)|
6% back on select U.S. streaming services
3% back on transit, including trains, taxi cabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways
|$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95. - Rates & Fees|
|Choice Privileges® Mastercard® Credit Card||3X at gas stations||5X at Choice Hotels and Choice Privileges points purchases|
3X at grocery stores, home improvement stores, and phone plans
|Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard® Credit Card||5X at gas stations||10X at Choice Hotels and Choice Privileges points purchases|
5X at grocery stores, home improvement stores, and phone plans
|$95 (waived for the first year)|
|Citi Custom Cash® Card||5% back on the first $500 of purchases in your top spending category each billing cycle, which can include gas||1% back on everyday purchases|
1% back in your top spending category after the $500 threshold
|Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi||4% cash back on gas and EV charging for the first $7,000 per year, then 1%||3% cash back on travel & dining|
2% cash back at Costco and Costco.com
|$0 (with a paid Costco membership)|
|Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurants Credit Card||2% cash back on gas up to $1,000 per quarter (Cashback Match for first year takes it to 4%)||2% back on gas and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter||$0|
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||6X at U.S. gas stations||12X at Hilton properties|
6X at U.S. restaurants and U.S. supermarkets
|The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card||6X points at U.S. gas stations||12X at Hilton properties|
6X on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, on U.S. purchases for shipping, at U.S. restaurants, on flights booked directly with airlines or with AmexTravel.com, and
on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
|$95 - Rates & Fees|
|PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card||5X points on gas at the pump (points are worth 0.85¢ apiece for a 4.25% return)||3X points at supermarkets, restaurants, and TV, radio, cable, and streaming services||$0|
|Sam’s Club® Mastercard®||5% back in Sam's Cash on the first $6,000 of gas purchases annually, then 1%||3% back in Sam's Cash on Sam's Club purchases for Plus members|
3% back in Sam's Cash on dining and takeout 1% back in Sam's Cash on other purchases
|$0 (with a paid Sam's Club membership)|
|United℠ Business Card||2X at gas stations||2X on United purchases|
2X at restaurants, office supply stores, transit, and commuting
|United Gateway℠ Card||2X at gas stations||2X on United purchases|
2X on transit and commuting
|U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card||4X points at gas stations and EV charging stations||5X points on prepaid hotels and car rentals in the travel portal|
4X points on other travel
2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, dining, and streaming services
|Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card||3X points at gas stations and EV charging stations||3X at restaurants, travel, transit, streaming services, and phone plans||$0|
|Wyndham Rewards Earner® Card||5X points at gas stations||5X points at Wyndham hotels|
2X points on eligible dining and grocery purchases (excluding Target® and Walmart®)
|Wyndham Rewards® Earner℠ Business Card||8X points at gas stations||8X points at Wyndham hotels|
5X points on marketing, advertising, and utility purchases
|Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card||6X points at gas stations||6X points at Wyndham hotels|
4X points on eligible dining and grocery purchases (excluding Target® and Walmart®)
While Citi takes the top spot, the Amex EveryDay Preferred isn't far behind. It earns an effective 3x Membership Rewards points on gas if you put 30+ transactions on the card per billing cycle. AwardWallet users typically redeem these points for 2.14¢ apiece in value.
The rest is a bit of a mixed bag.
The dark horse in the table above is the American Express® Business Gold Card, which earns 4x Membership Rewards points on two of six categories with the highest spend each month. This includes U.S. purchases at gas stations — but only if that is one of your top two spending categories that month. If not, you'll only earn 1 point per dollar spent. If U.S. gas station purchases make up the bulk of your spending each month, this is, without a doubt, the best rewards card for purchasing gas and fuel.
The PenFed Platinum Rewards provides a high return on paper but has less redemption flexibility than other programs.
Perhaps the most underrated pair on the list would be the Hilton duo. If you can wrangle more than 0.5¢ per point in value for your Hilton points, 6x points at U.S. gas stations could potentially return as much as 3–6¢ per dollar spent on fuel.
While we've included the above, we haven’t included the Chase Freedom®, which often features gas among its revolving quarterly bonus categories. You’ll get between 5% and 10% back on your gas spending when this is a bonus category, though that's capped at $1,500 of spending in the relevant quarter. For everyday gas purchases, however, when gas isn't a bonus category, you’ll only receive 1% cash back.
What Purchases Are Included in the Gas and Fuel Category?
Gas purchases, from a terms and conditions perspective, are fairly straightforward. Provided the purchase codes in the correct merchant category, you will receive bonus points or cash back.
Amex describes its U.S. gas stations category here, including:
“To earn additional rewards on gas purchases, the gas station where you purchase gasoline must be located in the U.S.
A gas station is defined as a merchant that is in the primary business of selling gasoline to consumers. Gas stations may sell other convenience items, but its primary business must be selling gasoline to consumers.
(Superstores, supermarkets, and warehouse clubs that sell gasoline are NOT considered gas stations)”
Bank of America
These are the gas category terms for the Bank of America Customized Cash Card:
“The Gas category includes purchases in a wide variety of merchant categories including:
Automated Fuel Dispensers; Fuel Dealers for Coal, Fuel Oil, Liquefied Petroleum and Wood; Marinas and Marine Service and Supplies; Service Stations, with or without Ancillary Services
(Wholesale clubs that offer pay at pump locations could also appear in this category.)”
*From 08/22/2023, Bank of America expanded the gas category on the Bank of America Customized Cash Card to also include Electric Vehicle Charging (EVC) Stations.
The Chase FAQ is here, describing gas as follows:
“4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases worldwide, including gas and EV charging at Costco, for the first $7,000 per year in gas and EV charging purchases and then 1% thereafter”
Most gas stations should be included in these terms:
“Gas Station purchases include those made at merchants classified as places that sell automotive gasoline that can be bought at the pump or inside the station. Gas Stations affiliated with supermarkets, supercenters, and wholesale clubs may not be eligible.”
“Visa® USA determines which transactions are classified as gas purchases paid at the pump and supermarket purchases based on Merchant Category Codes. … Fuel purchases for airplanes and boats receive 1 point per dollar spent.”
The terms here are quite broad, with a few exclusions:
“Transactions qualify for cash back based on how merchants classify the transaction. U.S. Bank cannot control how merchants choose to classify their business and reserves the right to determine which Purchases will qualify. Purchases of gasoline or electric vehicle charging greater than $200 will not be deemed to be a purchase of automotive fuel and as such will earn a reward of 1%.”
“Gas stations, automated fuel dispensers, and electric vehicle charging stations. The following may not be eligible for bonus Points: Gas or electric vehicle charging purchases at warehouse/membership clubs, grocery stores, car washes, auto repair stores and superstores that sell gasoline or electric vehicle charging.”
Are Any Purchases Excluded From the Gas and Fuel Category?
Purchases made within the gas and fuel category have few conditions imposed, with the exceptions of spending caps, location restrictions, the ever-present merchant category codes, and the peculiar limitation from Discovery on NFC and similar tech.
Outside of merchant category codes and location restrictions, Amex doesn’t list any specifics. If the purchase codes as a gas station and it’s in the U.S., you get bonus points.
Bank of America
“Purchases made at merchants whose primary line of business is not the sale of automotive gasoline or fuel, like superstores, supermarkets and truck stops will not earn bonus cash rewards.”
Outside of merchant category codes, Chase doesn’t list any specifics. If the purchase codes as a gas station, you get bonus points.
From the Citi Premier:
“You won't earn three points for gas purchases at warehouse clubs, discount stores, department stores, convenience stores or other merchants that are not classified as gas stations using the gas station merchant code.”
Citi Costco has these exclusions:
“You will only earn 1% cash back, not 4% for gas and EV charging purchases made at superstores, supermarkets, convenience stores and warehouse clubs other than Costco or for fuel used for non-automobile purchases.”
This page outlines some interesting exclusions:
“…purchases made at warehouse clubs, wholesale distributors, and discount stores, will not qualify. Purchases made using Near Field Communication (NFC), virtual wallets, or similar technology may not be eligible.”
In addition to using Merchant Category Codes, you'll see this exclusion:
“Fuel purchases for airplanes and boats receive 1 point per dollar spent.”
“Purchases of gasoline or electric vehicle charging greater than $200 will not be deemed to be a purchase of automotive fuel and as such will earn a reward of 1%.”
Among the exclusions are these:
“Gas or electric vehicle charging purchases at warehouse/membership clubs, grocery stores, car washes, auto repair stores and superstores that sell gasoline or electric vehicle charging.”
The Citi Premier® Card is positioned as a clear winner as the best credit card in the gas and fuel category, earning an unrestricted 3x ThankYou Rewards on purchases at gas stations — and it's not limited to purchases in the U.S. If you’re already a Costco member, 4% cash back on the Citi Costco card provides great value up to the $7,000 annual cap.
Hilton fans also reap the benefits of bonus points on U.S. gas purchases using the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and Hilton Business Card. And small business owners can take advantage of the Blue Business Plus card’s 2x points on all purchases up to the first $50K each year (then 1x), including gas and fuel purchases. This is an excellent fall-back card if you don’t carry a credit card offering bonus points on gas.
If you have a card that returns great value on gas purchases and we haven’t got it on the list, get in touch via the comments below. We'd love to know more about it.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (Rates & Fees), Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees)
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.