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Travel Best Gas Credit Cards for Road Trippers and Commuters Alike

23:32  03 december  2021
23:32  03 december  2021 Source:   cntraveler.com

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  Best Gas Credit Cards for Road Trippers and Commuters Alike © Kevin Schmid/Unsplash

Condé Nast Traveler has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Condé Nast Traveler and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. We don't review or include all companies, or all available products. Moreover, the editorial content on this page was not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are entirely those of Condé Nast Traveler's editorial team.

Whether you’ve been road tripping for the last year or plan to rev up for holiday vacation, the credit card you use to pay for fuel can make a big difference. You should be earning more than one reward point or mile for every dollar you spend at the pump. If you’re not, then you’re not doing it right.

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For starters, if you are renting a car, then you’ll want a card that comes with car rental damage protection or roadside assistance. If cashing in points on free travel isn’t a priority, other cards offer the choice to be rewarded as cash back instead. Here are five gas credit cards that can speed up those rewards (or cash back balance) in a hurry and make that road trip budget stretch just a bit farther along the way.

Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card

With no annual fee and a slew of bonus-earning spend categories, the Chase Freedom Flex is a champion when it comes to accruing points. The card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards, which is a popular flexible point system ideal for everyone from beginners to loyalty program nerds. You can opt for cash back instead of points, which also makes this a great card even for less frequent travelers.

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Points collectors can transfer points to more than a dozen airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, Marriott, Southwest, and United or spend points like cash (one point equals one penny) directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards online portal. Since there’s no annual fee, this is a top-value card for those that want fast access to points (or cash back) with minimal cash outlay.

What you'll get at the gas station: Each year, gas purchases earn five points per dollar spent (up to $1,500) during at least one quarter.

Other perks: The revolving 5x bonus category changes each quarter and can include a variety of retailers like home improvement stores and pharmacies. You’ll also earn three points at drugstores, restaurants, and on takeout services all year-long.

Learn more about the Chase Freedom Flex card.

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Discover It Cash Back Credit Card

Another rewarding card without an annual fee is the Discover It Cash Back, which offers bonus-earning categories on a similar quarterly rotation. This is a purely cash-back card, which means travelers looking for points to redeem toward a business class flight or luxe vacation may be less enticed. Still, big-time road trippers, families, and business travelers can rack up some serious cash with this card. It’s also great for young spenders like college students that want to put a little extra cash in their pocket while earning a bonus on their regular purchases.

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What you’ll get at the gas station: During at least one quarter per year, cardholders will earn five percent cash back at the pump.

Other perks: Other quarterly reward bonuses include five percent cash back at grocery stores, Amazon, and restaurants, which are everyday spend categories for many Americans.

Learn more about the Discover It Cash Back credit card.

U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card

This winner of a card is purpose-built for travelers and road trippers. The tradeoff is that U.S. Bank Altitude points do not have any airline or hotel program transfer partners, which means you can only redeem them for benefits like travel and gift cards at the rate of one penny per point. You can also opt for cash back, but consider how much you spend to see if it is worth it. The card has a $95 annual fee, but is waived for the first year.

What you’ll get at the gas station: You’ll earn four points per dollar (or four percent cash back) on travel and gas purchases all year long, not only during one quarter of the year like on some other cards. There is no limit on how much you can earn, either. That’s pretty generous.

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Other perks: You’ll earn two percent back on eligible purchases at grocery stores (including delivery) and on dining or streaming services. There are also statement credits for streaming services like Netflix or expedited travel security programs like TSA PreCheck.

Learn more about the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature card.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

This card has a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees), but that is waived the first year. That small fee may seem like peanuts to drivers with long commutes, carpooling parents, and road trippers looking to accrue cash back year-round at the pump. If you spend heavily on transit, fuel, and groceries, this card also provides solid returns.

What you’ll get at the gas station: Unlike other cards that only award bonuses a few months a year, this AmEx card delivers three percent cash back on fuel purchases all year long. Even if you’re not the one driving, you’ll earn three percent cash back when using this card to pay for transit including rideshare services, taxis, buses, trains, and even tolls.

Other perks: It’s not just drivers that will see meaningful return. Cardholders will also earn six percent cash back at grocery stores and on certain U.S. streaming subscriptions. Everything else earns one percent cash back.

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Learn more about the Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express.

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why not choose which categories you want for bonus point earning? That’s what the no-fee Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card lets you do. That flexibility means that you can customize your cash back earning to your own spending patterns. Still, the quarterly spending caps can stifle the returns if you spend more than $2,500 in that category every three months. Big spenders would be better off with another card.

If you're a Preferred Rewards member at Bank of America, though, you can multiply your earnings, with top-tier Platinum Honors members getting up to a 75 percent cash-back bonus.

What you’ll get at the gas station: Each quarter, you can select a category to earn three percent cash back. These include gas stations, but also dining, online shopping, and travel spending, which means you can coordinate your gas station–specific earnings and your road trip planning. You can even change your earning category once per month, but can only earn rewards on up to $2,500 in spending per quarter.

Other perks: Expect two percent cash back year-round on grocery and wholesale club purchases and one percent back on everything else, but only up to the $2,500 quarterly limit.

Learn more about the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card.

See rates and fees for the AmEx Blue Cash Preferred Card.

Condé Nast Traveler has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Condé Nast Traveler and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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