In a previous post I touched on maximizing rewards at the pump. It’s one of those stops that so many of us make every week (if not more than once a week) and put potentially hundreds of dollars into. I’m about to stop by the gas station and will save a couple bucks today that will go into my investment account.
Let’s get into it on a station by station basis. Let me know if I’ve missed anything here in the comments! I’m going over options based on stations available in Florida, so I won’t necessarily capture the stations in Cali or Chicago but the principles will be the same.
First step –
You need a great cash back credit card offering a high reward on Gas. This quarter I’m using the Chase Freedom (NOT the Unlimited) for 5% back. The Freedom rotates quarterly categories for 5% cash back and makes a great addition if you already have a solid cash back foundation strategy.
When I’m not on a promo quarter, the Costco Citi Visa provides for a solid 4% cash back. There’s no annual fee on it with your Costco membership and 4% cash back on gas every day is hard to beat.
Once you’ve decided on your credit card, it’s time to move on to…
Second step –
…the gas station’s own program! Some franchises provide a better reward than others, so let’s go over them.
The Good (redeem for gas discounts) –
- Shell gives you a direct discount on gas at the pump for being a part of Fuel Rewards. Depending on how much gas you get, you’ll secure discounts from $0.03 per gallon up to $0.05 per gallon immediately discounted off the purchase price. You start out with Gold status ($0.05 discount) for the first 6 months. During the second 3 months (“qualification period”), you need to fill up 6 times to maintain Gold status. Gold status is worth 2% off at $2.50 per gallon. You can earn additional gas discounts from shopping at Winn Dixie ($0.05 off per gallon for $100 in purchases) and referring friends ($0.25 off per gallon for each friend that signs up!).
- Thorntons earns rewards pumping gas, but at an undisclosed rate. However, the rewards are redeemable for savings directly on gas. There are also instant discounts such as savings on water or chips/soda. Thorntons could really be a great program with some added transparency.
- Exxon Mobil Speedpass+ has been launched since the end of the Plenti program and is still a little rough, but it aims to provide some new ways of dealing with fueling up. You earn points for every gallon you pump and can redeem those points for savings on gas, junk food, car washes, and more. The app will periodically also provide fuel bonuses in-app, so the app is really essential here. And probably one of the greatest aspects of this app-driven program is paying directly through the app instead of by credit card. The app links to your credit card and scans a QR code at the pump to enable payment, keeping your credit card out of skimmers in the pump.
The Bad (earn on gas, but no redeeming on gas) –
- RaceTrac rewards 1 point for every GALLON you pump or 1 point for every $0.25 you spend on qualifying products. You can redeem points for free water, cookies, candy, etc. with more rewards showing up as you move up through their spend levels. Unfortunately there’s no option to redeem your rewards for discounts or credit on gas, but I never turn down a free bottle of water. Racetrac also provides coupons in the app for BOGO fountain drinks in case you’re sucking lots of soda on the road.
- Speedway‘s Speedy Wallet rewards points for spending in store or pumping gas. There are lots of bonus point in-store purchase opportunities, but the points earned for pumping gas are pretty much an unknown. I spent $10.98 putting around 4 gallons in my tank and received 42 points. I’m hesitant to say it’s 10 points per gallon though as they don’t actually explain it on their site or app. They also have partner stores where you can earn fuel discounts, but don’t tell you how much and there are none in my area. Points can be redeemed for coffee, water, cookies, junk food, etc. The true value in Speedy Rewards is redeeming for Gift Cards.
The Ugly (no earning OR redeeming on gas) –
- WaWa doesn’t reward for your spending on gas. Instead with every purchase in-store (I know, I know, the subs) you work your way toward a $50 spend that secures a reward such as a free coffee, free ICEE, free fountain soda, etc. They also give you a reward just for signing up for the rewards program, so it’s worth signing up and swinging by for a large coffee while you’re on the road.
Third step –
Don’t miss out on automatic cash back with apps! Link your credit cards to these apps and then automatically get cash back at select stores, restaurants, GAS STATIONS, and more.
- SPENT Money makes it easy to get 1% cash back automatically at Chevron, Shell, 7-Eleven, and even ExxonMobil. Just pay with a linked credit card. There’s lots of other cash back opportunities with SPENT Money such as McDonalds, Uber, Walgreens, Starbucks, and Home Depot all earning 1% cash back.
- Dosh recently stopped earning on gas in my area, but previously provided 2% cash back on ExxonMobil. It’s still worth signing up as there’s cash back right now from 2% at Sam’s Club, 5% at Payless ShoeSource, up to 7% back on select restaurants, and even 10% back on auto care (may as well save on maintenance if you can’t save on gas).
Fourth step –
Rounding out the gas returns is the receipt uploads. These apps will let you scan your receipts for rewards (including up to $0.20 per gallon cash back).
- GetUpside (use referral code 4ZVVQ if you sign up! You’ll help this blog stay online) pays you cash back for registering for a bonus, then uploading your gas receipt within 4 hours. This evening I’ll be picking up $0.16 per gallon on my way home for a cash back bonus of $1.44 on my hybrid’s 9 gallon tank. Using code referral code 4ZVVQ will get your $0.20 per gallon for your first time using GetUpside.
- Receipt Hog gives you points for uploading receipts from fast food, clothing stores, gas stations, grocery stores, etc. which you can later redeem for gift cards.
- Fetch Rewards will also give you points for every receipt from a convenience or grocery store. It just happens that most gas stations also happen to be convenience stores, so you can easily earn points for every gas receipt. Use referral code V4XTY for a sign up bonus. You can redeem Fetch Rewards points for a variety of gift cards including Visa & MasterCard gift cards.
You can see here the value of these programs. Shopping at Shell can give you an immediate discount, cash back through Spent, cash back on your credit card, plus cash back and rewards through uploading your receipt on up to 3 apps for the “six-dip.” These programs add up quickly to maximum returns.
Just don’t forget to take that cash back and send it off to your investment account to maximize your long-term returns!
I may earn a commission or referral bonus off of links from this site, but that does not influence which sites or apps that I link to. These are applications that I am signed up for and use. The affiliate links are there to help this blog start paying for itself.