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If you plan on packing up the car this summer for a much anticipated road trip, or you're preparing to commute back into the office in the near future, consider a credit card that rewards you for filling up at the tank.
The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card is not only Select's top pick for the best gas rewards credit card (see our methodology below), but it's now offering a welcome bonus: New cardholders can earn 15,000 points when you spend $1,500 in the first three months of opening an account. Points can be cashed in for gift cards, travel and shopping for things like home appliances and electronics.
Cardholders can benefit from this no-annual-fee card's rewards program:
- Earn 5X points for gas purchases at the pump and electric vehicle charging stations (this is the highest rewards rate at gas stations that we've found)
- Earn 3X points for supermarket purchases, restaurants/dining and cable, satellite and other pay television/radio/streaming services
- Earn 1X point on all other purchases
In addition to the generous rewards program, cardholders can take advantage of 0% introductory APR balance transfer rate for 12 months on transfers made in the first 90 days after account opening.
5X points on gas purchases at the pump and electrical vehicle charging stations, 3X points on supermarket purchases, 1X point on all other purchases
15,000 points when you spend $1,500 in the first 3 months from account opening
0% introductory APR for 12 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days after account opening.*
17.99% variable on purchases; 17.99% non-variable on balance transfers
Balance transfer fee
Foreign transaction fee
The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card comes with Visa Signature perks, including a secondary auto collision damage waiver (CDW) that reimburses cardholders for the covered theft or damage as well as valid administrative and loss-of-use charges imposed by the auto rental company and reasonable towing charges that occur while you are responsible for the rental vehicle.
Coverage lasts up to 15 consecutive days within your country of residence or 31 consecutive days outside the U.S.
PenFed is a credit union that offers a whole range of credit cards, as well as checking and savings accounts, mortgages, auto, personal and student loans.
PenFed is based in McLean, Virginia, but has 48 branch locations across 15 states.
Military affiliation is no longer required to have a PenFed membership, but you do have to be a member to get the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card or any other PenFed credit card. You can become a member by opening a PenFed savings/share account with a $5 deposit and maintaining a $5 account balance in order to keep your PenFed membership active.
To determine which cards offer the best value for filling up your tank, Select analyzed 29 of the most popular credit cards offered by the biggest banks, financial companies and credit unions that allow anyone to join and offer bonus rewards at gas stations. Bonus rewards mean a cardholder earns 2% or 2 points per dollar in a given category. In this case, gas stations.
We compared each card on a range of features, including cash-back rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit score and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.
Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.
Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.
Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.
It's important to note the value of a point or mile varies from card to card and based on how you redeem them. When we calculated the estimated returns, we assumed that cardholders are redeeming points/miles for a typical maximum value of 1 cent per point or mile. (Extreme optimizers might be able to achieve more value.)
Our final picks are weighted heavily toward the highest five-year returns, since it's generally wise to hold onto a credit card for years. This method also avoids giving an unfair advantage to cards with large welcome bonuses.
While the five-year estimates we've included are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your spending habits.