Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pump Up the Rewards Generic and Gas-Station-Affiliated Cards Can Both Offer Advantages

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pump Up the Rewards Generic and Gas-Station-Affiliated Cards Can Both Offer Advantages

Article excerpt

With gasoline prices in the stratosphere and only expected to head higher -- surging to a projected $4 per gallon by Memorial Day - - getting a credit card that offers the best cash-back rewards at the pump can be one way to help ease the pain.

There are two general types of gas reward cards: generic cards good at any station and those linked to a specific brand, such as BP or Exxon, which offer the highest rebates at affiliated stations.

In general, generic gas cards will be the best choice for most people because the cards offer the flexibility of buying gas at a variety of stations.

But for consumers willing to stick to a particular brand, discounts typically are higher with station-affiliated cards.

And for people who don't mind using multiple cards, getting a brand-specific card to buy gas and another cash-back card for all other purchases may be the way to go.

For example, a consumer could fill the tank using a gas card offering 5 percent off purchases at the pump (but only 1 percent on other purchases), and buy everything else using a card that offers a flat 2 percent on all purchases.

"It's important to not only compare gas rewards earning rates, but also how the other rewards they offer match up with your biggest expenses," said Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of the credit card comparison site Cardhub.com,

Cardhub just released its picks for getting some of the best rewards at the pump:

* Pentagon Federal Credit Union Platinum Cash Rewards (generic). This card offers 5 percent cash back on gas, plus 1 percent on all other purchases. There is no annual fee, but cardholders must join the PenFed credit union, which virtually anyone can do by paying a one-time $15 fee to join an association in the credit union's field of membership.

"It's phenomenal that Pentagon Federal is offering 5 percent cash back on gas, regardless of what station you buy it at," Mr. Papadimitriou said. "Rewards earning rates that high are typically only seen on station-affiliated cards. …

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