[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]
Gas rewards credit cards, by nature, may not be as flashy as those premium travel credit cards you’re reading about all the time — you know, the ones with those $500-plus signup bonuses — but that doesn’t mean they can’t really help a person save. In fact, many gas credit cards offer pretty competitive rewards returns.
Gas chain BP actually offers two credit cards intended to help their loyal customers stay on budget at the pump. Of course, whether you should add one of these fuel cards to your wallet ultimately depends on how often you’re filling up at your local BP station. Here’s what you need to know about the BP Credit Card and BP Visa Credit Card.
BP Credit Card vs. BP Visa Credit Card: What’s the Difference?
There are a few key similarities between BP’s credit cards. Each carries a variable 27.24% purchase APR (more on that in a minute), no annual fee and a $20 signup bonus that’s redeemable as a statement credit when you make a BP purchase within 60 days of account opening. But there are a few big differences as well.
For starters, cardholders can only use the BP Credit Card at BP stations, while the BP Visa Credit Card can be used anywhere Visa is accepted (natch). And the BP Visa touts better rewards. As of publication time, both cards allow you to earn 25 cents off per gallon for every $100 you spend with your BP Visa Credit Card or BP Credit Card (excluding non-BP stations) for the first 90 days as an introductory bonus. After that, BP Credit Card users get 10 cents off per gallon at BP locations. BP Visa Credit Card users earn 25 cents off per gallon at BP locations, 15 cents off per gallon for eligible groceries, dining and travel purchases and 5 cents off per gallon everywhere else (excluding non-BP branded gas stations). Here’s a quick recap of the main terms just to be clear.
BP Credit Card
Rewards Details: After the introductory offer expires, cardholders earn 10 cents off per gallon at BP locations. The card can only be used at BP stations, will not be accepted by other retailers.
Annual Fee: $0
APR: Variable 27.24%
BP Visa Credit Card
Rewards Details: After the introductory offer expires, cardholders earn 25 cents off per gallon at BP locations, 15 cents off per gallon for eligible groceries, dining and travel, and 5 cents off per gallon everywhere else Visa credit cards are accepted (excluding non-BP branded gas stations).
Annual Fee: $0
APR: Variable 27.24%
Looking at the cards side by side, it may seem like a no-brainer regarding which you should opt for if you’re in the market for a BP card. The BP Visa clearly offers more flexibility and extra rewards. But, remember, cards with better terms and conditions generally require good credit to qualify, so if your credit is not so hot, you may only be able to qualify for the BP Credit Card. (You can see where your credit currently stands by viewing two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)
The Pros & Cons of BP Credit Cards
Big spenders can easily rack up rewards with the BP Visa Credit Card, and even 10 cents back per gallon can be useful for people who fill up often at BP — particularly when gas prices are low. BP Visa credit cardholders have some options when it comes to redeeming rewards, since in addition to doing so at the pump, they can cash them in for statement credits. (The total amount of your rewards gets multiplied by 15 and then applied to your bill. That means if you have a 10-cent discount available, you’ll get a $1.50 statement credit.)
However, there are some important limitations to note when it come to rewards. For starters, you can only use rewards accrued on up to 20 gallons each time you fill up your tank. Plus, your rewards have an expiration date: 365 days after the end of the month they are earned, with any unused rewards being forfeited.
Beyond that, cardholders do have that 27.24% variable APR to contend with, which is pretty high as far as credit card APRs go. These are definitely not cards for someone prone to carrying a balance. Of course, rewards credit cards in general aren’t the best option for people who don’t pay their purchases off in full each month, since any points you earn become, well, pointless when you start accruing interest.
Should You Get the Card?
People who fill up frequently at BP could certainly benefit from earning gas rewards there — particularly if they can qualify for the BP Visa. Gas, after all, is not exactly an expense those on the road a lot can skip. Plus, the cards don’t carry an annual fee, so you won’t have to do a cost-benefit analysis to figure out if you’re going to come out ahead, like you would with general purpose rewards credit cards that carry an annual fee. (Note: This assumes, of course, you’re not carrying a balance.)
3 BP Credit Card Alternatives to Consider
Keep in mind, though, if you don’t live near any BP stations or fill up at a variety of places, there are credit cards that generally let you earn points on gas purchases. These include:
Rewards Details: Cardholders earn five points per dollar on gas purchases at the pump, three points per dollar at the supermarket and one point per dollar everywhere else. Note: PenFed is a military credit union, but you can become a member by joining a military support organization for a small one-time fee.
Annual Fee: $0
Standard Purchase APR: Variable 9.49% to 17.99%
BankAmericard Cash Rewards
Rewards Details: Cardholders earn 3% cash back on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery, wholesale club and gas purchases each quarter. They also earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% back everywhere else.
Annual Fee: $0
Standard Purchase APR: Variable 13.24% to 24.24%
Rewards Details: Cardholders earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and U.S. department stores. They can also earn 6% cash back on their first $6,000 of qualified spending per year at U.S. supermarkets and 1% cash back everywhere else.
Annual Fee: $95
Standard Purchase APR: Variable 13.74% to 24.74%
Remember, no matter what product or type of product you’re considering, it’s important to read the terms and conditions to make sure you’re choosing the right credit card for you. (One person’s gold card is another man’s plastic, after all.) Plus, be sure your credit can handle an inquiry before applying since each credit card application will likely ding your score by a few points.
At publishing time, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature and the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.