Any discounts that you receive on goods or services that you purchase throughout the year can be helpful in maintaining your budget. Fuel credit cards are no exception to this rule. However, you will need to just the right credit card to increase your discounts and rewards, thereby maximizing your purchasing power and stretching your family budget.
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Some gas credit cards only offer a discount of four or five cents per gallon for every gallon of gas purchased at their stations. For consumers who don’t drive much during an average year, this may not add up to more than $20 or $30. Others however, offer far larger discounts that will allow you to lower your gas bills using gas rebate credit cards.
What are some of the best fuel credit cards on the market?
In 2011, the Market Watch consumer finance column of the Wall Street Journal published a very informative article on saving money using gasoline credit cards.
The Journal found that there are significant savings to be had if you’re using certain credit cards for your gas purchases. They listed a number of fuel credit cards that you might want to consider, including the following:
- Cards that offer a 5% rebate on gasoline purchases at their stations include Shell and British Petroleum (BP). ExxonMobil offers a discount of 15 cents per gallon to customers of their stations amounting to slightly more than a four percent discount at today’s prices.
- American express offers a 3% rebate on gasoline purchases with its preferred Blue Cash card. However, annual membership fees of $75 might eat up part or all of your gasoline savings.
- Costco’s TrueEarnings card also offers a 3% rebate on gasoline, but only to a maximum of $4,000 in annual gasoline purchases (1% thereafter). Beyond that point Costco’s discount decreases to 1%. However, $90 can be saved on that first $3,000 spent.
Can I save on other goods and services besides gasoline?
Yes! By themselves, fuel credit cards would probably not have a dramatic effect on your family’s budget. However, many credit cards on the market offer not only a discount on fuel purchases, but also on virtually everything you might buy during the year.
While a few cents here and a few cents there might not seem like a lot, these premiums and rewards will add up over the course of a year, resulting in literally hundreds of dollars in savings for smart consumers who use reward credit cards.
How did rewards credit cards get their start?
A number of years ago, credit card issuers discovered that they could attract customers by offering points and other bonuses for travelers. Aggressive credit card companies offered double and triple air miles, frequent travel upgrades, and discounts on hotels, rental cars, and vacation packages.
Major airlines as well as companies like American Express, with its own global travel agency, were pioneers in these early travel rewards programs. Unfortunately, relatively few consumers saw the benefits of these programs.
They were designed for frequent travelers, and only those customers who diligently tracked, managed, and subsequently used their travel points were able to cash in. There were also many limitations, catches and loopholes, and points often expired before they could be used.
What are the new rewards programs like?
The newest credit card rewards programs are designed for the average family and encourage consumers to make every single daily purchase on a rewards credit card. Rewards credit cards offer points, bonuses, discounts, and cash back for gasoline purchases as well as grocery purchases and pretty much anything else you can imagine.
CNN Money, offers some insightful tips on sorting through the myriad of rewards credit cards to find the deals that are best for you. First, CNN recommends that consumers focus immediately on credit cards with cash-back features and options. The older style frequent flier cards and points cards don’t provide nearly as many consumer incentives as the newer cash back credit cards.
Then, of course, consumers should be well acquainted with the terms of any credit card holder agreement they sign up for. Always read the fine print involving a credit card’s rewards program and understand the benefits, as well as the drawbacks of each card’s plan before deciding on the card that is right for you. Lastly, CNN encourages consumers to negotiate fees and the other terms of a new credit card agreement before signing up.
The credit card industry is highly competitive and individual credit card companies will often be willing to meet your demands, if you just ask.