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Credit Card Tips and Strategies, Issue #004 -- How to choose the best gas reward credit card?
October 27, 2005
Credit Card Tips and Strategies Newsletter 004
Date : 27th October 2005

Table of Contents

1. How to choose the best gas reward credit card?
2. New Credit Card - HSBC Platinum Mastercard
3. New Credit Card - HSBC Mastercard with Cash Back Rewards
4. New Credit Card - HSBC Mastercard with Cash Back or Fly Rewards

How to choose the best gas reward credit card?

Gasoline prices have risen this year to levels where people consider putting their planned SUV purchase on hold and opt for a smaller, more fuel efficient car. For those who are concerned about rising gasoline prices, getting the right credit card that gives you rebate on gasoline purchases can help you save some money.

However, to get the best deal, you must first understand the various options available. There are many different types of gas rebate credit cards.

We shall call the first type of gas rewards credit cards the "station specific" gas credit card. These cards pay you a rebate when you make gasoline purchases at a particular "brand" of gas station. Examples are the Marathon credit card, BP credit card. With these cards, you earn rebates (typically 3-5%) which is credited towards your next credit card purchase at the station.

There are also gas credit cards that let you earn rebates from gasoline purchases at any station. These cards are targeted at those who use more than one particular "brand" of stations.

Recently, cash rebate credit cards have given these dedicated gas credit cards some stiff competition by offering as high as 5% rebates on so-called "everyday purchase" items. "Everyday purchases" includes purchases at standalone supermarkets, gas stations and drugstores. These cash rebate credit cards are becoming very popular.

Finally, reward credit cards are now offering to pay "extra" points when you spend on a variety of products, including gasoline purchase. If you are one that likes reward credit cards, look for one that pays more than one point for every dollar you spend on gasoline purchases.

But which is the best gas reward credit card for you?

It really depends on whether

1. you use one or many different gas stations.

2. How you would like to earn the rebates - in the form of credits, cash rebates or reward points?

3. Whether you like to carry just one card or a dedicated gas credit card?

To help our readers choose the best gas reward credit card, we have written an article on our website explaining the different types of gas reward credit cards (as explained above), highlighting their pros and cons. We have also compiled a list of gas credit cards in easy to understand tables for you to compare their features, and we also recommend the gas reward credit cards with the highest rebate payouts. We hope you will find this helpful.

You can read this article here :

============================================================ New Credit Cards : 3 New HSBC credit cards ============================================================

We are now offering 3 new HSBC credit cards on our website.

HSBC Platinum Mastercard

The first one is the HSBC Platinum Mastercard. This is a very basic platinum credit card with typical platinum features. There is no annual fee. Your apr will vary depending on your credit history. The best feature of this card is that you get a 0% introductory apr for balance transfers for 12 months from date of account opening. It is also good to know that HSBC uses the average daily balance method (including new purchases) to calculate monthly balances (unlike an increasing number of major credit cards that use the 2-cycle method). This card will appeal to those looking for a basic no-frills platinum credit card or those looking for a 0% intro apr credit card to transfer a balance from another higher interest card.

You can read our review of the HSBC Platinum Mastercard here:

HSBC Mastercard with Cash Back Rewards

For those looking for a cash back credit card, HSBC has come up with the HSBC Mastercard with Cash Back Rewards. This card pays a 1% cash rebate for every dollar you spend on the card. However, unlike most cash back credit cards, you can earn unlimited rebates. Though there may be other credit cards that allow you to earn more than 1% on "everyday purchases", these cards tend to limit the amount of cash rebates you can earn in one calender year. Those who just looking for a simple cash rebate card and who spend quite a bit on their card each year may want to take a look at this.

You can read our review of the HSBC Mastercard with Cash Back Rewards here :

HSBC Mastercard with Cash or Fly Rewards

The next card from HSBC is more interesting. It is the HSBC Mastercard with Cash or Fly Rewards. As the name suggests, with this card, you earn points (one point for every dollar), which can be redeemed for either cash rebates or a free airline ticket. You can earn unlimited points and rebates.

One of the most interesting credit card dilemma is whether to get an airline reward credit card or a cash rebate credit card if all you want is to get free airline tickets. Most reward programs require about 25,000 miles or points to get a roundtrip ticket within the continental USA. If your ticket cost $250 or more, than it pays to exhange 25,000 points for the free ticket because you actually earn 1% or more in rebate terms. But what if you occasionally take shorter flights that would normally cost just $120 or $150, then using up those 25,000 points would be a waste. In this case, having a cash rebate credit card and using 15,000 points to redeem $150 makes more sense.

But with the HSBC Mastercard with Cash Back or Fly Rewards, this dilemma is resolved bacause you can either choose to redeem your reward points in cash or for a free airline ticket.

Though this is not the only card that offers both rewards and cash back, it is defintely one of the better one because you earn 1% cash rebates if you choose cash rewards. The Chase Flexible Rewards is one card that offers the same option. But you need to get the signature version to earn 1% cash rebates. The platinum version only allows you to earn slightly less than 1% in cash rebates. Both the American Express Membership Rewards and the Citi ThankYou Redemptions Network reward programs also have cash rebate features. But the cash rebates are also less than 1%.

If you are looking for a no annual fee airline credit card but want the flexibility to redeem your points for cash rebate, or if you occasionally need to get to free airline ticket for a cheaper short haul flight, then you may want to have a closer look at this HSBC card.

You can read our review here :

Other stuff

I mentioned in the last newsletter that we will be putting up a page with the coolest credit card design. We are still going through lots of cards, but will keep you informed once we get that page up.

We are putting the finishing touches to a couple of reviews we are doing on credit card reward programs. We will highlight one in our next newsletter.

Nick Lian
Credit Card Reviews and Tips

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