Fuel expense is one of the major spends for most of us. Thus, its important to know the best fuel credit cards that can save us money on our monthly spends. While I did write on this topic, some time back, here, the shortlisted credit cards haven’t changed.
However, the thought behind this article is to highlight the best fuel credit cards along with a few non-fuel credit cards that give you nearly the reward rate if not more. Thus, if you own the right credit card, you not only save on fuel spends but also have one less card to manage.
Best Fuel Credit Cards
In the below dynamic table, I have captured a few popular fuel credit cards and their reward rate. You can change the data and check the reward rate based on your spending pattern.
Below are the best fuel credit cards based on a broad monthly spending range:
Monthly spends for 5000-6000: If your fuel spends, are in the range of 5-6k per month. Then any of the above-listed 7 credit cards would work for you. Just that the reward rate of Citi Indian Oil credit card is on the lower side.
Monthly spend of around 10k: For monthly fuel expenses of around 10K, SBI BPCL Octane and SBI BPCL credit cards give you the best reward rate. At this spending level, you will find that the Citi Indian Oil credit card offers a 2.7% reward rate, better than other Indian Oil co-branded credit cards.
Monthly spend of 10K and above: Once your fuel spends inch upwards of 10K; you will notice that the reward rate on these fuel credit cards starts declining. The reason is that all these co-branded fuel credit cards have a capping of accelerated reward points. Beyond a specific spend level; most of these cards don’t give any reward points on fuel spends. Thus in a way rendering them useless. In addition, do keep in mind that nearly all fuel credit cards as such have very poor reward rates on other spend categories.
Thus, this is the scenario where probably other non-fuel credit cards come into play where you get a good reward rate and probably don’t have to worry about these monthly capping on fuel spending.
Best Non-fuel credit cards for fuel spends
The idea behind shortlisting these credit cards is that you can use them as your primary credit card for all spends including fuel spends. You may not earn any points on fuel spends, but the reward points on milestone spends are more than enough to compensate for that.
In addition, the dynamic table below shows the reward rate on overall spending including fuel spends. This gives you a fair idea of the overall reward rate on these cards.
Axis Magnus Credit Card
I have done a detailed analysis of Axis Magnus credit cards here. The USP of this credit card is 25000 reward points (equivalent to INR 5000) that you get on monthly spends of over 1lakh. Magnus as such gives only a 1.2% reward rate on fuel spends, but in case you run a monthly bill of 1lakh+ then you effectively get 6.2% on your fuel spends every month.
I have argued earlier also that not everyone can manage such high monthly spends. Nevertheless, there is a segment that spends that much and Magnus can be a very rewarding credit card for that segment.
Amex MRCC Credit Card
Amex MRCC is a great credit card and I suggest that you should have one in your wallet, even though Amex doesn’t give reward points for fuel spends. However, thanks to MRCC’s 4×1500 transaction offer and monthly spend milestone offer you can get a 4%+ reward rate on fuel spends of up to 20k per month. Which is not possible on any fuel-specific credit card.
However, assuming that your fuel spends are much lower say only 5000 and your monthly credit card spend is at 20K, then the reward can be even higher at 4.6%. This is assuming the value of 1 reward point at 40paise. In case, you redeem your points for Taj vouchers (60p redemption value) then you get a whopping 7% reward rate. Not to forget that you can transfer your Amex reward points to multiple airline partners, where in a few specific cases, the redemption value can be as high as 1INR. Sadly, Amex cannot issue credit cards in India currently. I hope that RBI revokes the ban soon.
Amex Plat Travel Credit Card
Amex Plat Travel credit card is another great card from American Express. I have written multiple posts on Amex Plat Travel, here, here and here. In fact, one of my best redemptions was on the Amex Plat Travel card. Recently, I stayed at 2 Taj properties for 4 nights (including one night in a suite) and paid only INR500 out of my pocket. Yes, that’s only INR500 and it’s not a typo. 🙂
On the fuel spends front, similar to Amex MRCC you don’t get any reward points for fuel transactions. However, these fuel spends are counted towards milestone spends. Thus if you can spend a total of INR190,000 in a year, in any segment including fuel you get 15000 reward points worth at least INR7500 (~4% reward rate). Similarly, if you spend INR400,000 in a year you get a total of 40000 reward points worth at least INR20k (5% reward rate).
Pro-Tip: For Amex cards get your vehicle filled at HPCL pumps. Here, you don’t have to pay a 1% fuel surcharge.
Starting 2nd April 2023, Stanchart Ultimate credit card wont give reward points for fuel spends.
Stanchart Ultimate is one hidden gem that many are probably not aware of. Partially since StanC cards are not easily available outside the top metros. The best part of this credit card is you get a 3.3% reward rate on all spends without exception. The base reward rate is 5 points for every 150 spent, but the good thing is you get 1 point for every INR30 spent. So effectively, you get reward points for those fractional spends too. (HDFC please make a note.) On fuel spends, StanC Ultimate gives you a 2.3% reward rate irrespective of the monthly spends. Thus making it a great card for people who want to keep their life simple. The reason, for the 1% reduction is that for StanC cards, a 1% surcharge is applicable, but adjusted for that too; you get a 2.3% reward rate, which is very good.
Combining Fuel Credit cards with non-fuel cards
You can obviously do a mix and match with your credit cards to maximise your savings on fuel spends. One example can be for fuel spends of around 15-17k per month; you can use a combination of SBI BPCL Octane (for 10K) and Amex MRCC for the rest to earn a reward rate of ~4.5%. There will be more such combinations possible with the above cards, but I have just highlighted one of them.
There may be a few more credit cards where the milestone reward points make them lucrative enough to be used for fuel spends. Do let me know if I have missed any such cards?Also, do share in the comment section what strategy you follow to earn reward points on fuel spending and how are you maximizing it?
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