Maximize gas station points and savings

Here are ways to ease the pain at the pump. 

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Last month I published ways to maximize points per dollar at Amazon.com.  Now, with gas prices rising through the roof, it’s time to look at what we can do to ease the pain at the pump.  There are quite a few really good options, but each depends on which credit cards you carry.  If you carry a card that automatically gives extra points for gas station purchases (such as, for example, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Card at 5X), then you may already be maximizing your savings.  Otherwise, read on:

Blue Cash Preferred:

This card already gives 3% cash back for gas purchases, but you can do better!  Since the card gives 6% cash back for grocery purchases, you can go to your local grocery store to buy gas gift cards and receive 6% cash back!  Even better, if you shop for gas cards at either Giant Eagle or Kroger grocery stores, you can earn additional gas discounts through their rewards programs!

Chase Freedom:

In the first quarter of 2012, gas stations and Amazon.com are the 5X bonus categories for the Chase Freedom card.  As long as you register for the promotion, until the end of March gas station purchases will be rewarded with 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar, up to $1500 for the quarter.  After the first quarter, not all is lost.  Take a look at the Freedom’s bonus category chart:

  • Q1 (January – March): Gas stations and Amazon.com
  • Q2 (April – June): Groceries and movie theaters
  • Q3 (July – September): Gas stations and restaurants
  • Q4 (October – December): Hotels, airlines, Best Buy and Kohl’s

Q1 is already covered.  In Q2, note that groceries are on the list.  Many grocery stores carry gas station gift cards.  So, from April to June, rather than using your Freedom card at the gas station, go to your grocery store to buy gas gift cards.  In Q3, gas stations return to the bonus category list so you can go back to using the Freedom card directly at gas stations.  In Q4 you may be out of luck unless you can find gas gift cards at Best Buy or Kohl’s.

Chase Ink:

The Chase Ink Bold, Ink Classic, and Ink Cash cards offer 5 points per dollar for purchases at office supply stores.  So, using your Ink card, visit an office supply superstore such as Office Depot and load up on gas gift cards.  Note that I’ve seen gas gift cards at Office Depot, but not at OfficeMax.  I haven’t looked yet at Staples. 

American Express Business cards

Most American Express business cards give you American Express OPEN Savings.  This means that, for purchases at certain merchants, you get money credited back to your account.  One example is OfficeMax in which you receive 5% back for purchases of $100 or more.  If you can find gas gift cards at your local OfficeMax then you can save 5% on all gas purchases!  Note, though, that my local OfficeMax does not appear to carry gas gift cards so this may not be possible unless the OfficeMax near you carries them.

Other Cards

If you hold a credit card that offers bonus points in certain categories such as groceries, drug stores, office supplies, etc., then check to see if your local stores carry gas gift cards.  Find a store that qualifies and use your card to load up!

Icing on the Cake

Many gas stations charge more for credit card purchases than for cash.  With gas gift cards, though, you will be charged the cash price


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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

    • aznprzn: Thanks for the info. Yep, I stopped by a Staples today and saw Shell gas cards there.

      Dana: Thanks for the info about the Citi card.

      Randy: Thanks! Hilton 6X can be thought of as a 3% rebate since Hilton points have a fair trading price of .5 cents. That’s not as good as Freedom’s 5X, but better than most cards.

  1. Also, Hilton Amex offers 6 points per dollar for gas. Also, want to let you know that your blog is quickly becoming my favorite…I love the way you think trying to extract the most points in every situation…just the way I think!

  2. Gas points are pretty useful now-a-days! It seems gas prices are raising tremendously, DAILY! Since it’s such a timely topic I just wrote a blog post with some tips on how to save money on gas. I didn’t include anything about gas reward points, but I would love if you checked it out and let me know what you thought! I put some useful information in there!
    http://www.attorney-newyork.com/blog/from-the-blog/11-tips-to-help-you-tackle-rising-gas-prices/

    • aznprzn: Thanks for the tip! I am worried, though about the Office Depot T&C in the Ultimate Rewards Mall:

      Please note these terms & conditions: Not eligible on purchases of gift cards. Orders placed through bsd.officedepot.com Contract Account are not eligible. Only coupons found on the mall are eligible.

  3. With Chase Freedom, if the reward is 5% back on gas, can you buy a gift card at the station and still get the 5% back? Most stations are now charging extra if you use credit cards and would prefer to get the gift card ahead of time and save even more.

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