There are some great ways out there to save money on your gas purchases. You can sign up for the Fuel Rewards program and save on each gallon of gas you purchase at a Shell station. You can also check your AMEX Offers to see if there any deals for gas purchases, which there occasionally are. Of course, you want to make sure you’re paying for your gas using a credit card that gives you the best return on your spending.
I received an offer by email which, at first glance, seemed appealing.
They had my attention. When I clicked through to the details, I saw an offer that you should Never, EVER, EVER sign up for.
The Exxon Mobil Smart Card
Apparently, the gas station credit card is trying to make a comeback. Back in the day, many people had a gas station credit card. It was only good, well, at the gas station. We had a card for Exxon and one for Amoco. This was also a time where you paid a lower price for cash purchases than for credit card transactions, another practice I’ve seen creeping back to life at some stations. That is unless you used the gas station card, then you got the cash price.
Eventually, these cards fell out of favor. Well, it’s more like they morphed into co-branded gas station credit cards that still exist to this day. There’s a card for BP, one for Shell. Even Fuel Rewards has its own co-brand card, which you also should not get.
For the first month after the account open date, you’ll get 50 cents off per gallon of gas. Since it takes about a week to get a card in the mail, figure you’ll have 3 weeks or so to take advantage of this part of the offer.
If you drive a lot or use gas for your job, I figure 50 gallons of gas a week is a large amount to purchase. If so, for the three weeks you’ll get $75 in credits. So the card has a $75-$100 MAX sign up bonus but will probably be much less for regular drivers.
After that, you get 6 cents off per gallon of gas you purchase with the card.
Why You Shouldn’t Get This Card
In case you didn’t notice, banks are cracking down on credit card sign up bonuses. Most banks have a rule about how many cards you can sign up for in a period of time, either months or years. So why would you EVER consider signing up for a card that gives you at most a $100 sign up bonus and you can only use to buy gas at Exxon or Mobil stations to save 6 cents per gallon? This card will take up a valuable spot in your credit history. One which could have gone to a card capable of giving you an $800 sign up bonus and ongoing benefits you’ll enjoy for years to come. But you got the Exxon Mobil Smart card instead. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also giving you a horrible rebate. Think about it. You’ll save six cents per gallon.
If gas costs $2.50 per gallon, here’s the math. I know what you’re thinking.
Sorry, here we go.
- Gas costs $2.50 per gallon and you have a 20-gallon tank that’s empty
- Filling up the tank would cost $50
- With the Exxon Mobil Smart card, you’ll save 6 cents per gallon
- Now your cost will be $48.80. A savings of $1.20.
- If you have a Costco Anywhere card, you’ll get 4% back on gas purchases
- If you pay $50 for the gas, you’ll get $2 back for a net cost of $48.
Which one would you rather use? With the Costco card, you can purchase gas at the station where it’s cheapest, not just at Exxon or Mobil stations. Even with any of the other cards which give a good return for fuel purchases, you’ll end up ahead of the Exxon Mobil Smart card savings.
Personally, I’d rather sign up for the TDECU Buc-ees Mastercard.
At least that card gives 10 cents off per gallon of gas purchased at Buc-ees stations. It’s also a Mastercard, so you can use it anywhere, not just gas stations. Problem is, we have to drive to Texas to use it and I’m not eligible for it anyway.
Just in case you might click on it by mistake, I’m not even going to give you the link to sign up for the Exxon Mobil Smart card. If you’re still thinking it’s a good card for you, go ahead and bookmark this page. Set an alert on your calendar for five years from now. If then you come back and decide it still looks like a wonderful card for you, then you have my blessing to go ahead and sign up for it.
Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love if you decided to hang around and clicked the button on the top (if you’re on your computer) or the bottom (if you’re on your phone/tablet) of this page to follow our blog and get emailed notifications of when we post (it’s usually just two or three times a day). Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group, where we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!
This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
Featured image by Mike Mozart on Flickr