Gas rewards credit cards can take the edge off high gas prices
Very recently, the British media marked a new record high in that countrys gas (sorry, old chap: petrol) pump prices: £1.40 a liter. That translates into $8.40 a U.S. gallon for regular. Does that make you feel any better about paying roughly half that to refill your car? Probably not. The fact that, as a result of tensions in the Middle East, the whole world is suffering but that doesnt really reduce your pain.
Rewards credit cards ease sting
On March 23, The Palm Beach Post suggested something that might just take the edge off: using your rewards credit cards at the pump. However, this blogger adds a word of caution: only do so strategically. And it may take a little work to be sure that youre getting the best possible deal. Here are four things to look out for:
- Dont assume that gas credit cards are better at the pump than general rewards credit cards check whats currently on offer on all your plastic.
- If you have a choice, dont use rewards credit cards unless you can zero your balance at the end of the billing cycle. As with all purchases, if youre planning to roll forward balances over a long period, its usually better to use low interest credit cards.
- If you have one of those cards that offer bonus points or cash back on particular categories of purchase that change regularly, keep an eye on your credit card companies websites. If gas is currently earning bonus rewards, that card may be a good pick.
- If your gas station is offering a discount for cash, be prepared to calculate whether youre better off taking advantage of that or using your plastic. As a rule of thumb, if the discounts 5 percent or more, pay cash.
Rewards and gas cards: shop around online
On March 25, the Los Angeles Times money advice column ran an article under the headline Use a credit card comparison site to pick the right rewards card. Quite right and a testimony to your good sense in currently visiting one.
Columnist Liz Weston responded to a question from a reader who was currently spending $6,000 a month on debit card purchases and automatic checking-account drafts. Would she be better off, the reader wanted to know, if she instead used rewards credit cards? Weston replied Yes by at least $720 a year, and more for those with great credit scores who are likely to qualify for the best deals.
Right now, IndexCreditCards.com is recommending a number of cash back credit cards (which Weston described as the simplest rewards cards), including the Discover More Card and the Chase Freedom Visa.
Apply now for rewards credit cards and gas cards, says Wall Street Journal
Okay, that heading isnt a direct quote. But it seems to be the message of a Journal article that appeared on March 23. It began:
Banks and credit-card companies are giving out record rewards to people who sign up for their cards as competition for well-heeled customers reaches a fevered pitch. For people with good credit and money to spend, now is a good time to take the leap, experts say.
Yes, its not just ultra-generous continuing rewards that credit card companies are currently using to lure new customers. Theyre also offering exceptional signup bonuses. If youre in the market for a new rewards credit card, take the L.A. Times advice, and do some comparison shopping right here.