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How to Decide Which Is the Best Card to Save on Gasoline

How to Decide Which Is the Best Card to Save on Gasoline

Million Mile SecretsHow to Decide Which Is the Best Card to Save on GasolineMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Moses, commented:

 I have a small truck driving business and I’m actually the only driver.  I have a fuel card that saves 16 cents per gallon, that has a savings for the whole year of $2,400 to $4,800.

I like to travel and I’m not sure if I should pay my fuel with the Chase Ink Plus card instead and get the 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points for fuel?

Great question, Moses!

How To Decide Which Is The Best Card To Save On Gasoline
What’s the Better Choice? The Chase Ink Plus or 16 Cents Off per Gallon?

Let’s take a look at which card will save you more money!

What’s the Best Card to Use at the Gas Station?

Moses has a very generous fuel card and I’ll answer his question directly below.

But the best card to use at gas stations is usually a card with minimum spending requirements you’re trying to meet!

Sign-up bonuses are the quickest way to earn Big Travel with Small Money.  And you’ll typically save more by using your spending on fuel to work towards earning the sign-up bonus instead of category bonuses.

For example, if Moses gets the Chase Ink Plus card he can use it to pay at the pump and earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when he spends $5,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening his account.

He can redeem those points for:

How To Decide Which Is The Best Card To Save On Gasoline
When You Transfer 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Point to Hyatt, You’ll Have More Than Enough for 2 Nights at the All-Inclusive Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Montego Bay! This Would Otherwise Cost You ~$1,760!

If Moses spends the same $5,000 on gasoline with his fuel card at $2 per gallon, he’d only save $400 (2,500 gallons x 16 cents).

He might also consider other cards with great sign-up bonuses like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Prestige.

Chase Ink Plus Versus 16 Cents Off per Gallon

Let’s say Moses saves $2,400 on gas for the year with his fuel card.  That would mean he buys 15,000 gallons of gas per year for his trucking business ($2,400 savings per year / 16 cents savings per gallon).

How To Decide Which Is The Best Card To Save On Gasoline
If You Buy 15,000 Gallons of Gas With a Fuel Card That Gives You a 16 Cents Off Per Gallon It Saves You $2,400! How Does the Chase Ink Plus Compare?

With the Chase Ink Plus card, you’ll earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent at gas stations.  So if gas costs ~$2 per gallon, Moses would earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($30,000 spent on 15,000 gallons X 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points).

How much those points are worth depends on how he redeems them.

1.   Cash Back

You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for cash back at 1 cent per point.  So Moses’ 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are only worth $600 in cash back.

In this case, he’d do much better with the fuel card.

2.   Paid Travel With No Blackout Dates

Chase Ultimate Rewards points can also be redeemed for paid travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal at 1.25 cents per point.  That would give Moses $750 in travel with no blackout dates (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points X 1.25 cents per point).

Again, he’s better off using his fuel card to pay for gas to save $2,400. 

3.   Transferring to Travel Partners for Big Travel

You can get much more from your Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you transfer to airline and hotel partners like United Airlines and Hyatt.  Just how much more depends on what kind of travel you’re looking for.

Moses could transfer his Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines for a round-trip coach ticket to Paris or anywhere else in Europe.

How To Decide Which Is The Best Card To Save On Gasoline
60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Is Enough for a Round-Trip Coach Ticket to the City of Lights

A round-trip coach ticket between the US and Paris can cost ~$1,400.  So this will give you ~2 cents per point.

You’ll still save more with the fuel card.

However, if Moses uses his points for luxury travel, he can save just as much or more at gas stations with the Chase Ink Plus.

For example, instead of flying in coach to Paris he could use his 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a 1-way Business Class ticket.

How To Decide Which Is The Best Card To Save On Gasoline
Relax in Business Class With Cozy Seats, More Legroom, and Free Drinks! A 1-Way Business Class Flight to Paris Would Otherwise Cost ~$2,400!

This gives Moses 4 cents per Chase Ultimate Rewards point (~$2,400 / 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points).  $2,400 is same the amount he’ll save on gas with his fuel card.

But if he redeems for travel that gives him more than 4 cents per point, the Chase Ink Plus card wins over the fuel card.

For instance, Moses could transfer his 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt.  That’s enough for a 2-night stay at top Hyatt hotels like the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome.

How To Decide Which Is The Best Card To Save On Gasoline
The Park Hyatt Paris Vendome Can Cost ~$1,400 per Night! And Moses Can Stay 2 Nights When He Transfers His 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Hyatt

Moses will save $2,800 or ~4.6 cents per point ($2,800 / 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points).  That’s $400 more than he’ll save with the fuel card!

Note:   Some gas stations charge an extra fee for paying with a credit card instead of using cash or a debit card.  So you may have to factor this into your math.

Don’t Forget, You Also Get Other Perks With the Chase Ink Plus Card!

While Moses’ fuel card will only save him money at the pump, the Chase Ink Plus card will give him 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points for any other purchases he makes at gas stations, such as drinks and snacks.

He’ll also earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when he signs-up for the Chase Ink Plus card and spends $5,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening the account.

There is a $95 annual fee.

Plus, my favorite perk that comes with the Chase Ink Plus card is earning 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points at office supply stores and on cable, internet, and phone services.  This is another great way for Moses to save on business expenses!

Other Gas Cards to Consider

Other cards are sometimes better for saving on gas such as:

  • Chase Freedom5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (on up to $1,500 in spending) in rotating categories each quarter.  This includes gas stations through March 31, 2016.

So you could earn up to 7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points on gas this quarter, worth $75 in cash back.  Or more when you transfer to travel partners if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold (no longer available), or Ink Plus cards.

  • AMEX SimplyCash3% cash back at US gas stations, if you select this category. Terms apply.

Bottom Line

The best card to use at gas stations is usually the 1 on which you’re trying to meet the minimum spending requirement.

But for ongoing spending, you can do the math to see which is the best card for your situation.  It will depend on how you want to travel.

Our reader Moses earns a very generous 16 cents per gallon with his current fuel card.  So in his case, he’ll do better using that card.  That is, unless he redeems the Chase Ultimate Rewards points he earns from the Ink Plus for luxury travel experiences worth at least 4 cents per point.

This can include high-end Hyatt hotels.  And international Business Class or First Class flights on United Airlines.

We don’t earn a commission on Ink Plus small business card, but we’ll always tell you about the best deals!

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

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The Sams Plus card returns 5% on gas

Also 3% on travel and dining

What credit card was he using for the 16 cents per gallon? I run a small business with 10 trucks and was just wondering. Thanks,

Let's not forget the PenFed Rewards VISA -- you get 5% back each month on Gas, via a statement credit. Some hoops to qualify tho, since this card is for DOD or Military. But worth it if you can get it.

I attempted the math, but I am not certain of how many times he fills up or the tank size. From what I gather, however, at $3/gallon, 16 cents is going to essentially be the same as a 5% cash back or points card. At $2/gallon, 16 cents will be closer to 8% return. If you use a gas station that will give you this deal using a GC, you could actually get a fantastic return by using a 5% CC and stacking the savings. 😉 If it were running the numbers, I'd use a Discover for the first quarter for 10% cash back and WF 5% gas cash back for the next two quarters.

Cumberland Farms Smart Pay gives you .10 off per gallon, but it is tied to a checking account so no point gain. This article got me thinking that with the Freedom quarterly being gas, buying Cumberland Farms gift cards to use and forgoing the .10 per gallon makes some sense. I don't need to meet any minimum spend, but not losing much of anything with the quarterly bonus.

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