credit & debt

Pump Up Your Credit-Card Gas Rebates

With prices at the pump climbing, some gas-brand credit cards are ramping up their discount offers.

With the average price of a gallon of gas recently near $3, credit cards that offer rebates on fill-ups are appealing. Trouble is, the 5-cent discount per gallon many major gas-brand cards offer isn’t very enticing.

The BP Visa card, however, is worth a look. For every $100 you spend at BP, you get a discount on your next fill-up of 25 cents per gallon on up to 20 gallons. You’ll also get 15 cents off per gallon for each $100 you spend on grocery, dining and travel purchases, and 5 cents off for every $100 you spend elsewhere -- except at other gas stations. A typical user can expect to earn $394 in annual rebates -- compared with $34 with a card from, say, ConocoPhillips or Sunoco.

If you’re not loyal to BP, you may be better served by a card that offers cash back or points for each purchase at a broad range of gas stations. The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature card offers five points per dollar spent on gas, three points on grocery spending and one point on other purchases. The typical annual rebate is worth $448. You can join Pentagon Federal Credit Union by paying one-time dues of $17 to a qualifying organization and depositing $5 into a savings account.

You’ll get 5% cash back on gas and 1% back at retail merchants with the Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum card. The typical annual rebate is $197. Become a member by joining USA Cares (free for those becoming Fort Knox members), paying a one-time $10 fee to the credit union and depositing $5 into a savings account. The Sam’s Club Mastercard ($443 typical annual rebate; you must be a Sam’s Club member) pays back 5% on up to $6,000 spent on gas annually (1% thereafter), 3% on travel and dining, and 1% on everything else.

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