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Best Credit Card For Gas Purchases

Not all rewards credit cards are equal, which is why we’re starting a semiregular feature today on the best credit card for specific spending categories.

These cards might top our list because they offer the best rewards. Or have the best sign-up bonus. Or offer great interest rates.

Or all of the above.

But each of these picks is, in our opinion, the very best card to carry for this type of purchase.

Up first: The best card for filling up your tank.

Pentagon Federal Credit Union recently made some significant changes to its gas rewards credit card, but I still think the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Visa Card is the best card for earning gasoline rewards.

The card now comes in two varieties. Neither version is as good as it used to be, but they’re still more generous than the competition, plus they have other benefits that make them best in class.

Not only do they have better rewards than competing cards, but you can earn them no matter which brand of gas you buy. All of the other gas cards out there, such as those offered by the oil companies, let you earn rewards at their stations only.

The Standard version of the PenFed card lets you earn 3% back on all gas purchases. But now there’s a $25 annual fee after the first year. That’s new.

If you want to avoid that fee, plus earn 5% back instead of 3%, the card also comes in a Plus version.

However, in order to earn those higher rewards and avoid the annual fee, you must also get a qualifying financial product from PenFed, such as an active checking account with direct deposit and a $250 minimum balance, a certificate of deposit or savings account, or some type of loan, such as a mortgage or home equity loan.

But that might not be a bad thing. If you’re already a PenFed member, you probably already have one of those. If you’re not a member, joining might be a wise choice: PenFed is one of our favorite financial services companies. It has some of the best deals, including some of the best credit cards and loan rates.

While you don’t earn any rewards for using the card outside of gas stations, there’s no limit on the rewards you can earn on gas purchases, and the cash back you earn is automatically credited to your account every month.

In addition to the gas rewards, the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Visa Card has other great features, including low interest rates. Most other gas cards charge very high rates.

Both versions carry a super-low APR if you qualify: Just 9.99% on purchases through June 30, 2014, after which it can change if the prime rate does. However, that’s unlikely to happen for several years, according to the Federal Reserve, which says it will be holding interest rates at or near 0% for at least that long.

If you act before Dec. 31, 2013, you can transfer a balance for 4.99% for the life of the balance. If you act after that date, the rate is the same as the purchase rate, or 9.99%. There is a 3% balance transfer fee, but it’s capped at $250.

If you use the card overseas, there are no foreign transaction fees, like most other cards charge.

If you’re not familiar with PenFed, you should check it out.

It’s a big credit union that caters to military personnel and their families, plus employees or volunteers of the American Red Cross. But there are other ways to join.

You can also join if you register with either of two charities that support the military and their families: the National Military Family Association, which costs $20 to join, or the Voices for America’s Troops, which costs $15.

Compare PenFed’s card to all the gasoline rewards credit cards in our database.

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