Additional perks include a signup bonus of $100 cash back if you spend $500 within the first three months, and a zero percent introductory interest rate on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months.
Amex Blue Cash Everyday Card. Cash back on gas rewards for this card isn't in the same ballpark as the cards offering 4 to 5 percent back, but Hardekopf says the Amex Blue Cash Everyday Card has its advantages. You get 2 percent cash back on standalone stations—meaning most national brands, such as Shell, Sunoco, and Gulf; stations belonging to discount stores, superstores, or warehouses (e.g., Cosco) are excluded. Those exclusions are a drawback, but you earn a sizable 3 percent cash back on supermarket purchases (capped at $6,000 annually, 1 percent after), 2 percent on select department stores, and 1 percent on all other purchases. The card has a zero percent introductory APR for the first 12 months.
In addition, Hardekopf recommends paying a little extra to upgrade to the Blue Cash Preferred Card. For a $75 annual fee, you get 6 percent back on supermarket purchases and 3 percent back at standalone gas stations and select department stores.
Non-Credit Card Rewards Programs. To draw more customers, many gas stations offer free loyalty programs that allow you to earn extra savings. The Fuel Rewards Network, for example, awards consumers points for purchases at restaurants and department stores, which can be redeemed at participating Shell locations.
The bottom line: Settling for a second-rate rewards card means you're leaving money on the table, says Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of the credit card comparison website CardHub.com. With the right card, you can drive down how much you pay at the pump and keep your car going without running out of cash.