Canada’s best credit cards for gas 2020 - MoneySense

Canada’s best credit cards for gas 2020

Whether you’re looking for points or cash back, these cards will help turn filling your car with fuel from an expense into a benefit.

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Best gas credit cards in Canada

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Gas costs can be a hefty line item, especially for Canadians with a daily commute—and, even worse, it’s an expense largely out of our individual control. Using the right credit card when you fill up will earn you a return on your fuel expenses. But which card should you pick? The options can be boggling.

The best credit cards for gas in Canada

Best no-fee cards 

Best cash back cards 

Cash back honourable mention

Best travel credit card


Best no-fee cards for gas purchases

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card*

Tangerine Money-Back Credit CardThe Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card has no annual fee and offers straight cash rewards, which gives it strong appeal to a large number of Canadians. Unlike many no-fee cards, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card offers cash rather than points, which gives it strong appeal to a large number of Canadians). Cardholders are rewarded with 2% cash back on unlimited purchases made in two categories that include gas, as well as groceries, restaurants and drug stores. Opt to have your cash automatically deposited into a Tangerine savings account and receive 2% cash back in a third category. (You’ll earn 0.5% on everything else.) The current welcome bonus will put $250 into your account if you spend at least $5,000 in your first three months; plus, your can transfer balances from higher-interest cards at a low promotional interest rate of 1.95% for six months.

For those who want to monetize their fuel purchases without paying for the privilege, this no-frills card is a winner.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate on gas: 2% cash back
  • Rewards on other purchases: 2% in up to two other spending categories of your choice and 0.5% cash back on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: New cardholders who spend at least $5,000 in the first three months will receive a $250 credit on their account (must apply by March 31, 2020)
  • Additional benefits: Purchase assurance and extended warranty
  • Income required: $12,000

Get more details about the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card*

MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus*

If you’re a no-fee card sort of person looking to collect travel rewards, the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus is an excellent choice. This Mastercard returns a regular rate of 2 points per dollar on gas spends, an already generous rate that’s doubled for 90 days during their current welcome bonus. As this is a travel rewards card, rather than cash back, its appeal is less universal than the Tangerine option above. But the MBNA card’s additional gift of up to 10,000 points (worth $100 in travel) to get new members started really sweetens the pot.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate on gas: 2 MBNA Rewards Points per dollar (up to $5,000 annual spend)
  • Rewards on other purchases: 2 MBNA Rewards Points per dollar spent on grocery and restaurant purchases (up to $5,000 annual spend each); 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 4 points per $1 on eligible purchases, including gas, in the first 90 days; plus up to 10,000 bonus points (5,000 with $500 spent in the first 90 days, and another 5,000 on signing up for paperless statements)
  • Additional benefits: Savings with Avis and Budget Rent A Car; purchase assurance and extended warranty
  • Income required: None specified

Get more details MBNA Reward Platinum Plus*

PC Financial World Elite*

Though more widely known for as a grocery card, this no-fee World Elite card also offers a return of at least 30 PC Optimum points per litre (3%) at Esso and Mobil stations. One of the reasons why the PC Optimum program is so popular is that the points can be redeemed for everyday products and services at Loblaws-affiliated stores, Shoppers Drug Mart and others, starting at 10,000 points (worth $10). Consider, though, that if you don’t frequent Esso and Mobil for gas, or Lobaws-banner stores for groceries and drug store purchases, you won’t be able to maximize this card’s benefits.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate on gas: 30 points per litre at Esso and Mobil
  • Rewards on other purchases: 30 points per dollar in Loblaws stores and at PC Travel; 45 points at Shoppers Drug Mart; and 10 points per dollar everywhere else
  • Welcome bonus: None
  • Additional benefits: Travel emergency medical insurance; car rental collision and loss damage protection
  • Income required: $80,000 or $150,000 as a household

Get more details PC Financial World Elite*


Best cash back cards for gas purchases

CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite

With the Dividend Visa Infinite, CIBC has a strong contender in the cash back category, especially for drivers. New cardholders get an annual fee waiver and an outstanding welcome bonus of 10% cash back on the first four statements (or to $2,000 in spends, whichever comes first). And the regular rate is nothing sneeze at, either. With a return of 4% on gas and groceries, 2% back at Telus and Tim Hortons (up to $20,000 spent; you’ll earn 1.0% cash back after that); and 1% on everything else (with no limit at this bottom rate), this card is designed to put money back in your pocket.

  • Annual fee: $99 (waived for first year)
  • Earn rate on gas: 4%
  • Rewards on other purchases: 4% cash back on groceries, 2% at Tim Hortons and Telus, and 1% back on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: 10% cash back on your first four statements on purchases of up to $2,000; first year’s annual fee waived
  • Additional benefits: Emergency travel medical and common carrier accident insurance, trip interruption coverage, flight delay and baggage protection; car rental collision and loss damage insurance; purchase protection and extended warranty
  • Income required: $60,000 or $100,000 as a household

Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back

This Meridian product shows up on a lot of best-of lists—and for good reason. When it comes to rewards you can’t get more flexible than cash, and this card tops most cash back credit cards in Canada with an extremely competitive 4% back on grocery and gas purchases. Let’s say you spend around $450 on gas every month. At the regular 4% cash back rate, you’ll earn $18 per month, or $216 per year. That’s a pretty decent return, and it doesn’t even include your other non-fuel purchases.

  • Annual fee: $99 (free for first year)
  • Earn rate on gas: 4%
  • Rewards on other purchases: 4% cash back on groceries, 2% on pharmacy and utility bills, and 1% back on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: None
  • Additional benefits: Travel accident, emergency and medical insurance, trip interruption and delay protection, lost baggage insurance, rental car collision and damage protection, purchase protection, extended warranty
  • Income required: $60,000 or $100,000 as a household

Cash back honourable mention

TD Cash Back Visa Infinite*

On its face, the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite is a strong money-back card offering a 3% return on gas, grocery and recurring bill payments (and 1% back on everything else). The return rate on gas would be enough to place the card onto our list, but there’s actually a suite of other incredibly valuable perks that makes it a standout for drivers. Card holders have auto rental loss and collision insurance, discounts at Avis and Budget Rent A Car, and complimentary emergency road services through an included Deluxe membership with TD Auto Club. This package includes 24-hour emergency assistance calls, towing, lockout and winching services, traffic accident emergency transportation, meals, accommodations and necessities, and even reimbursement options for costs of issues TD Auto Club was unable to assist with. For frequent commuters or road-trippers, these perks can easily cover the card’s annual fee.

  • Annual fee: $120 (free for first year)
  • Earn rate on gas: 3% cash back (up to $15,000 annual spend)
  • Rewards on other purchases: 3% cash back on groceries and recurring bill payments (up to $15,000 annual spend each); 1% back on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: 10% cash back for the first 3 months (up to a total spend of $2,000; must apply by March 2, 2020)
  • Additional benefits: Automotive benefits like rental insurance, discounts on car rentals and a Deluxe membership with TD Auto Club; travel insurance, including travel medical and delayed or lost baggage; access to Visa Infinite perks, such as concierge services and complimentary room upgrades when you travel
  • Income required: $60,000 or $100,000 as a household

Get more details about the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite*


Best travel credit card for gas purchases 

Scotiabank Gold American Express*

If you’re looking to turn your fuel purchases into points, look no further than the Scotiabank Gold American Express. This product operates within the Scotia Rewards program, which allows collectors to redeem their points for travel rewards, merchandise, gift cards, or even against your credit card balance.

Cardholders earn 3 Scotia Rewards points on every $1 spent at eligible purchases including gas, public transit and streaming services, and 5 points per dollar on groceries, restaurants and entertainment. Double-dip with the gas points program of your choice and earn even more.

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Earn rate on gas: 3 Scotia Rewards points per $1
  • Rewards on other purchases: 5 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on groceries, dining and entertainment, 3 points per dollar on public transit, rideshares, taxis, and online streaming services, 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: 20,000 points with your first $1,000 in purchases in the first three months
  • Additional benefits: No foreign transaction fees, travel emergency medical, trip cancellation, flight delay, lost baggage, and accident insurance; rental car collision protection; hotel or motel burglary insurance; purchase protection and extended warranty; complimentary concierge service; VIP airport lounge access with Priority Pass
  • Income required: $12,000

Get more details about the Scotiabank Gold American Express*


Overview: Canada’s best credit cards for gas


Credit card Annual fee Rewards on gas
CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite $99 4% cash back
Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back $99 4% cash back
TD Cash Back Visa Infinite $120 3% cash back
Scotiabank Gold American Express $120 3 Scotia Rewards points per $1
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card $0 2% cash back
MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus $0 2 MBNA points per $1 (up to $5,000 annual spend)
PC Financial World Elite $0 30 PC points per litre at Esso/Mobil

Credit cards vs. gas cards vs. rewards or points programs

You’ll be excused if your eyes cross just reading this subtitle. In fact, this is the most confusing aspect of choosing a gas card option, so let’s clear it up now.

Everyone knows what a credit card is. Chances are you have at least one in your wallet now. A gas card is a type of credit card that’s branded directly to one company, like Petro-Canada or Shell, and allows you to collect points or rewards only at their pumps. Then there are credit cards associated with points programs, like Scotia Rewards, Air Miles and PC Optimum, which allow you to collect and redeem for a wide variety of rewards beyond just gas.

Although there are endless variations for how you can use these products in tandem, what you need to understand is that, in general, you can save and/or redeem more rewards by using “regular” credit cards in tandem with points programs than you can using a gas credit card.


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