Why a Gulf Oil credit card account is bad for rewards

old gulf oil signWith the price of oil at such stratospheric levels lately, even people that hate credit cards are considering them, merely for the gas rewards. So how does the iconic Gulf Oil stack up to the competition? These are the different accounts they offer:

Gulf Card – This is a no frill standard-issue gas station card. It can be used at Gulf stations and that’s it. There are no rewards offered. On the website they advertise this one as “a great way to build your credit” and I would agree – when you have bad credit, you have to take what you can get! But anyone else would be foolish to apply for it since it doesn’t offer any perks. Here is something I would recommend instead:

Gulf Fleet Card – These are for businesses that buy a LOT of fuel! The basic version is free but the “commercial” and “universal” versions charge a monthly fee of $1 or $2 per card. Now you can get a gas discount with the paid accounts but only if you buy a ton; no discount for under 500 gallons per month, but above that amount the discount is a sliding scale and tops out at 5 cents off per gallon when buying 10,000+ gallons a month (so unless you are a business owner with a massive fleet of vehicles, I wouldn’t bother with this).

Gulf Oil MasterCard – This one is for regular individuals and yes, you do get a gas discount with it. Here’s what they offer:

  • 3% rebate for gas purchases at Gulf stations
  • 1% rebate for purchases made elsewhere

After checking over the fine print I don’t see anything about the credit card rewards being capped, which is a big plus. Another benefit is that there is no annual fee. Aside from those two things, you don’t really get much for having an account. Compared to the competition, the Gulf Oil credit card is sub-par and here’s why:

Reason #1: Restricted Rewards
Getting 3% is nice, but you only get that at Gulf Oil and nowhere else. I don’t understand why someone would choose to be restricted to one station, when it’s possible to get a card like the American Express Blue Cash Preferred that gives an unlimited 3% on gas at every station.

Reason #2: Lacking Benefits
As mentioned this card doesn’t really offer you much in terms of benefits. Obviously I don’t expect the world from a gas card, but combined with the low rebates, it’s just another reason to cross this one off your list.

Reason #3: Limited Locations
You will only find Gulf Oil stations on the eastern side of the country and even there, you will find many areas that don’t have them.

Conclusion? Yes, prices at the pump are out of control, which is even all the more reason to pass on the limited benefits you get with the Gulf gas credit card. In order to be competitive they really need to offer more.

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I am new to Austin and the additional savings per gallon at Gulf caught my eye. For one, the brand went away as I began driving in the US and two the station close to my house is currently selling gas for .20/gallon cheaper than everyone if I had this card…without the card they meet their competitors. So whomever wrote this article really hasn’t gotten out to do complete research on markets across the country. Reminds me when I discovered the .10/gallon savings at Speedway in the midwest that others said was a gimmick…Speedways were everywhere, always cheaper than competition by a penny or more AND I could get gas for .10/gallon cheaper with one of their programs.

Here on long island they are charging you 1 buck more to pay with a credit card forcing to pay cash.

What am I missing here? Isn’t the first reason to get a Gulf card the fact that membership gets you the members-only “Gulf Card” price posted at the pump? Before I became a member, I saw no “Cash Price” discount posted or indicated on transactions at any of the 4 Gulf stations here in Austin, TX.

I don’t know about other cities but here the savings throughout 2011-2012 amounted to a full 10 CENTS off the regular cash/credit price posted on the signs. I’m a delivery driver and shop gas prices here in metro area in case I cannot fill up at a Gulf station. Even the Gulf stations’ off-the-street prices posted atop their signs are always the same or lower within the entire city by 1-2 CENTS/GAL. That includes lowest price competitors like Murphy USA, Sam’s Club, Costco, and our regional HEB. With a membership, I get an ADDITIONAL 10 CENT/GAL discount.

Aren’t the discounts and rebates you refer to in this article in ADDITION to the membership discounts? In my opinion, 1-3% is just gravy. If one doesn’t have a Gulf card to begin with the base price for gas starts 10 cents higher regardless how good the other bank card rebate rates are… or not?

I have noticed that quite a few gas stations – at least in New York – charge from 3 to 10 cents more for credit card purchases. Put another way, they offer a discount for cash. Although most Gulf stations don’t advertise it, Gulf credit card purchases go through at the CASH price. I have only seen one station post a sign saying Gulf Cards same as Cash. It is possible that some may charge the same for all credit card purchases.

One way to check, is to either ask or, at self service pumps, simply swipe the card to see what the machine states is the price. If it is the same as the cash price proceed. If it registers the credit price, cancel the purchase and start over paying cash. Or, you can bite the bullet and pay the up charge.

Great article. It has been a struggle to find the right fleet card plan. I finally came across a site that compares many different fuel cards and identifies that best option for your based on your business size, type of gas, and location.