We have a few tricks up our sleeve to help Canadians save a bundle at the pump. Don’t look to Shell, Petro or Esso credit cards to relieve pressure from ever increasing gas prices. You can save far more by combining certain general rewards and cash back credit cards with a gas station’s points program. We’ve crunched the numbers and we’ll show you how to get cheap gas prices at the pump with little effort.
How To Get Cheap Gas Prices
First, find a credit card that offers the rewards rate at the pump. Many Canadian credit cards offer 4% cash back at the pump, or 2X points at a gas station. The surprising fact is, these offers are oftentimes better than the value offered by gas station credit cards themselves.
Second, combine the savings from your credit cards with a gas station’s loyalty program i.e. Esso Extra, Petro Points, or Shell Air Miles. This allows you to double dip into two rewards programs at the same time, the credit card rewards program and the gas station loyalty program.
Third, find a gas station in your area that offers the cheapest gas prices for the type of fuel you use. Use an app like GasBuddy.com, to help you find the cheapest gas prices in your area at any given time.
Strategies To Get Cheap Gas Prices
In order to determine how to get cheap gas prices, we took a look at the three largest gas retailers in Canada: Esso, Shell and Petro Canada. We then calculated the amount of value each gas station’s loyalty program would provide when filling up $50 worth of gas, first by taking a look at how many points you earn, and then by determining how much gas one could redeem with those points. The answer would give us the cash value of the gas stations loyalty program per dollar spent. This is what we found:
1. Esso =.58% : Each Esso Extra point is worth $.0058. You get 1 Esso Extra Point per dollar spent. Therefore, for each dollar spent, Esso provides a reward of $.0058 / 1 = .58%.
2. Shell =.52%: Shell offers Air Miles points. Each Air Mile point is worth $.13. You earn 1 AIR MILES® reward mile on your first $20 purchase including fuel and 1 reward mile on each additional $30 spent in the same transaction. On a $50 fill-up you get 2 Air Miles. Therefore, for each dollar spent Shell provides a reward of $.26 / $50 = .52% .
3. Petro-Canada =.42% : Each Petro Point is worth $.00112. You get 5 Petro Points per litre of regular gas. Using Gas Buddy, we calculated the average cost of a litre of gas across Canada at $1.339. Therefore, for each dollar spent, Petro-Canada provides a reward of ($.00112*5) /$1.339 = .42%. As the cost of a litre goes down, the value per point goes up.
We then took a look at the rewards rate of various credit cards when filling up at the pump. This is what we found:
|Credit Cards||Gas Rewards||Gas Rewards Rate Per $1 Spent|
|American Express No Fee Simply Cash Card||5% cash back 1st 6 months, 1.25% cash back thereafter||5% 1st 6 months, 1.25% thereafter|
|Scotia Momentum Visa||4 % cash back||4%|
|Scotia Amex Gold||4% cash back||4%|
|Shell BMO Mastercard World||3% cash back||3%|
|American Express Gold Rewards||2 points per dollar spent||2.5%|
|TD Aeroplan Infinite||1.5 points per dollar spent||1.9%|
|Shell BMO Mastercard||1.5% cash back||1.5%|
|Petro Canada CIBC||2 cents per litre||1.5%|
|Esso Visa RBC||1 point per $1 spent||1.2%|
Based on the above, the best credit cards and loyalty programs to get cheap gas at the pump are:
1. No-Fee: Using the Amex no-fee Simply Cash card in the first 6 months to get 5% cash back at the pump. Thereafter, you’ll get 1.25% cash back at the pump and everywhere else! Still the best no fee cash back rate out there when you compare to the values offered by other cards.
2. With Fee: The Scotia Momentum Infinite Visa card, which gives 4% cash back at the pump at all times.
Combine either of those offers with the Esso Extra Points card and you’re likely to get 4.5% to 5.5% cash back at the pump, the best deal out there.