According to a recent poll, more than two-thirds of Americans (62%) prefer gas rewards over other discount programs. After all, almost all consumers have to drive to work or school on a daily basis. Moreover, choosing the best gas rewards card (which depends on the individual’s circumstances) is especially important to those who have a long commute to work, as well as travelers that would rather drive than fly. Many programs out there, such as the Shell fuel rewards MasterCard, will reward you points on every dollar that you spend. After that, these points can be redeemed at the pump for discounts.
Having said that, a household that enrolls in the wrong program could struggle. For example, the discounts may not be as large as they hoped. Similarly, you might not find a nearby fuel location that will accept your rewards points. Above all else, because gas station prices are on the rise, consumers must pick a card that minimizes these extra costs.
When determining the best gas rewards card that serves your needs, there are several factors that you should consider. Firstly, the points must be rewarded on all types of purchases (whether online or offline). Secondly, it is important to choose a promotional program that local gas stations will accept. Thirdly, narrow down your options and pick a discount offering what rewards you the most amount of points on each dollar that you spend. Lastly, but certainly not least, determine whether a gift or credit card is more appropriate for you.
Choosing the Best Gas Rewards Card
Usage and Location
In some cases, a grocery outlet or retailer may offer you the equivalent of a fuel rewards MasterCard or VISA. However, they only award buyers points when they purchase products at their store. Otherwise, using your card elsewhere will not go towards gas discounts.
Nowadays, though, most issuers allow consumers to accumulate points regardless of where they spend their money. Because of this, shoppers can easily find less-restrictive and more convenient promotions and discounts.
Equally as important, many gas stations do not participate in these types of programs, while other rewards cards may only enable you to receive discounts at certain locations.
In short, if you choose a rewards discount that can’t be redeemed at a nearby gas station, your accumulated points become useless. The same applies when you can only make purchases on your fuel rewards MasterCard at specific stores.
Points per Dollar
Some promotional programs will award you with two points on every dollar spent. Others may give buyers three points, which is about average. When consumers define the best gas rewards card that meets their preferences, having a desirable points-to-dollars ratio is crucial.
To illustrate, here is an example: Assume that two people have Shell’s fuel rewards MasterCard. The first one earns two points per purchase while the other gets three. When their tally adds up, they get a one dollar discount on gas on every 100 points that they accumulated.
Every month, each of the two consumers spends $650 on groceries (which is the nationwide average). At the end of the month, the first one only gets 1,300 points (two for each dollar), and they qualify for a $13 discount. The rewards card holder, on the other hand, receives 1,950 points. As a result, this consumers gets almost $20 off when they fill their car’s gas tank.
Initially, a seven dollar discount (per month) doesn’t look very lucrative. However, the savings add up over time, even more so if you choose a program, such as the Shell fuel rewards MasterCard, which earns you more than three points on every dollar.
In reality, Shell’s MasterCard awards a consumer points based on where they shop. Generally, cardholders get $0.05 off each gallon of gas when they spend $100, which is relatively generous. Moreover, you may even get up to a $0.25 discount per gallon when making purchases at select stores.
Gift Cards vs. Credit Cards
Each of the two types has its own pros and cons. Needless to say, if you don’t have a good credit score, getting a gift card may be the best option. However, even if your credit is strong, some consumers may still prefer a gift card for various reasons.
A credit card, to begin with, constrains buyers because they can’t exceed their spending limit. In fact, if someone spends more than 30% of their available funds, their credit score will take a hit. In other words, this diminishes the benefits of getting a gas rewards discount.
Consumers that prefer a less restrictive program can utilize a gift card, which they can use more freely and without having to worry about any limits. After the money is all spent, you can easily top up your gift card by adding more funds to it.
Nevertheless, there is no right or wrong approach. Both gift cards and lines of credit will award you points and enable consumers to get discounts at gas stations. Yet, picking the wrong one or making a rushed decision can cause unexpected damage.
Making the Right Choice
How can you choose the best gas rewards card? All of that depends on your credit score, spending habits, location, and, above all else, how advantageous the discount program’s features are.
Either way, enrolling in these promotions is important for consumers that want to save money, especially in light of the increasing fuel costs.
You should take your time and study the different options. Picking the right card might even allow you to build your credit score, alongside benefiting from the gas discounts.