- The Washington Times - Monday, May 8, 2006

Cash-back credit cardsrelieve pressure at the pump

ou’ve garaged the SUV, cut out the extra trips to the grocery store and even stuck to the speed limit, yet every time you fill up, those digits on the gas pump set your head spinning — $30, $50, $100 to top off the tank?

Here is a way to take some of the sting out of that trip to the gas station without paying an annual fee: cash-back credit cards. You have to read the fine print, but it may be worth your while. Here are a few of the recent offers and how they work.

Discover Platinum Gas Card

Pitch: Earn cash rewards on every purchase made with your card.

How it works: Five percent back on the first $1,200 spent on gas; 0.25 percent to 1 percent on additional gas and non-gas purchases.

Potential annual savings: $105.75 (35.3 gallons).

Fine print: Purchases at warehouse clubs and discount stores earn only 0.25 percent. Rewards are paid in $20 increments.

For information: www.discovercard.com or call 877/587-1605.

Shell MasterCard from CitiCard

Pitch: Earn Shell gasoline rebates.

How it works: Five percent cash rebate on all Shell gas purchases and on the first $100 spent at Jiffy Lube; 1 percent back on other purchases.

Potential annual savings: $177.50 (59.2 gallons)

Fine print: Rebates only credited to Shell gasoline purchases.

For information: www.shellcreditcard.com or 888/987-4355

Blue Cash from American Express

Pitch: Up to 5 percent cash back.

How it works: From 0.5 percent to 1 percent back on the first $6,500 spent; 1.5 percent to 5 percent back for purchases over $6,500.

Potential annual savings: $70 (23.3 gallons)

Fine print: Maximum 1 percent on first $6,500 only on charges at supermarkets, gas stations and drugstores. Rebate is paid annually.

For information: www.americanexpress.com or 800/528-4800

Chase Free Cash Rewards Platinum Visa

Pitch: One percent full cash back on every $2,500 in purchases.

How it works: Earn one point for every dollar spent. Get a $25 check or gift certificate for every $2,500 accrued.

Potential annual savings: $75 (25 gallons)

Fine print: Cash only redeemable in 2,500-point ($25) increments. Maximum of 60,000 points ($600) per calendar year.

For information: www.chase.com or 866/422-6566

Note: Calculations are based on driving 15,000 miles a year at 20 mpg with gas priced at $3 a gallon plus $500 a month in other credit-card purchases. All cards listed are no-fee credit cards.

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