Over the last several years, gas prices seem to always fall under one of two categories: "high" or "really high." In short, it’s never cheap! So when it comes to credit cards, it’s no surprise that gas rewards continue to be one of the most popular categories. I’m sure you’re familiar with most, but here are three of the best that you rarely ever hear about:
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1. Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Card
Very few people outside of Kentucky know about this hidden gem, which is a pity because it’s arguably the best program out there. It gives 5 percent at gas stations without any ceiling on how much you can earn. For all other purchases, you get an above-average 1.25 percent rebate. As with all credit unions, you will first have to be a member in order to open a credit card. Fortunately though, Fort Knox Federal offers a couple loopholes so even those who don’t live or work in the area can signup:
Loophole #1: Their website states “relatives of any person who can be a member may also join our credit union.” So if by chance you have family that live, work, worship, attend school or regularly do business in Boyle, Breckenridge, Grayson, Hart, LaRue, Meade, Nelson or Taylor County (all in Kentucky) then you may qualify.
Loophole #2: No family in Kentucky? No problem! Because no matter where you live in the United States, you can qualify simply by joining the American Consumer Council. Your membership in this organization is completely free as long as you join one of their participating credit unions at the same time (one of which is Fort Knox Federal).
2. PenFed Visa Platinum Cashback Rewards Card
If you’re a credit card connoisseur, chances are you’ve already heard of the Pentagon Federal gas card. But outside the personal finance circles, you rarely hear about this one. Like the Fort Knox card, you also are given a full 5 percent at gas stations as long as you pay at the pump. At one point in time it also gave 2 percent at supermarkets and 1.25 percent elsewhere, but these days you get just 1 percent on spending outside of gas stations. Anyone can join PenFed, even if you don’t have a qualified connection to the military, government, or a defense-related company.
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Here are the loopholes:
Loophole #1: A one-time $15 fee to Voices For America’s Troops during signup.
Loophole #2: A one-time $20 fee to National Military Family Association during signup (this one is tax deductible). By the way here’s a little industry secret about PenFed: To the best of knowledge they are the only credit union that advertises their cards through affiliate websites (and in full disclosure, Credit Card Forum is among them). However their ads perform very poorly when compared to the big banks, so many websites choose to avoid PenFed altogether since there’s so little money to be made off them. That’s why many of those best gas credit card rankings you see on some websites don’t always include PenFed, despite the fact the PenFed is a paying advertiser.
3. BP Visa Card
Outside of the BP gas stations, you rarely ever hear about this one. Some posters on Credit Card Forum have speculated that the reason for this is because of the animosity towards BP since the gulf oil spill, and in turn, they’re making a strategic decision to take it easy on the marketing. Whether that’s true or not I can’t say for sure, but what I do know is that the issuer of this card (Chase) does not currently advertise this card through affiliates.
The rewards are quite generous: 5 percent at all BP stations, 2 percent on eligible dining and travel, and 1 percent on everything else. If you don’t regularly buy gas at BP then this card probably won’t make sense for you. However, if you do find yourself filling up there on a regular basis, this is an uber-generous program considering the additional 2 percent categories, no annual fee, and no caps on rewards.
Overall, my review of the BP Visa card is a definitely a thumbs up when it comes to rewards. But I completely understand and respect why people aren't too happy with BP and in turn, may not want their credit card.
Michael Dolen is the founder of Credit Card Forum, a popular social destination for all things credit card.