Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, updated with new information and offers.
With the holidays fast approaching, many Americans are gearing up for an annual road trip to visit family both near and far.
With gas prices still higher than usual, this can be an expensive feat. However, if you have Shell, Marathon or Arco in your area or along your route, you can diminish the agony by earning bonus airline miles — in addition to the rewards you already earn with your credit card.
Every time you swipe at the pump, you can effectively contribute to a “savings account” for your upcoming vacation in the form of travel rewards. You’re going to need to fill up anyway, so you might as well earn bonus miles. Plus, your fill-ups can help you earn elite status with at least one major U.S. airline.
Let’s look at two popular programs that let you earn bonus airline miles for each gallon of gas you buy.
Double dip your airline mile earnings at the pump for little effort
American Airlines Fuel Rewards (Shell)
American Airlines participates in the Fuel Rewards program by Shell. When filling up at a Shell location, you’ll receive 2 miles per gallon of fuel. Plus, new members will earn 100 miles just for joining and completing their first fill-up at Shell.
Just note that when you opt to earn Fuel Rewards, you’ll be forfeiting your opportunity to earn cash back (between 3 and 5 cents per gallon) via Fuel Rewards. TPG estimates that American Airlines miles are worth 1.77 cents each. That means earning 2 miles per gallon is like earning 3.54 cents in value for each gallon (though it’s possible to get significantly more value from your rewards if you know how to maximize American Airlines miles). On the flip side, the miles you earn will also count toward Loyalty Points, making this even more attractive for those chasing American elite status.
Related: Here’s how I save $1,000 per year on gas fill-ups
You can sign up here to enroll your AAdvantage number in the Fuel Rewards program.
Both the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® and the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® earn 2 miles per dollar at gas stations. Use these cards to make your purchase and you’ll earn American Airlines miles even faster.
Alternatively, you can earn 3 Citi ThankYou points per dollar spent when you use the Citi Premier® Card to pay for gas. The card currently offers 80,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on the card in the first three months of account opening. You’ll also earn 3 points per dollar on air travel, hotels, supermarket spending and at restaurants.
The information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related: How to earn miles in the American Airlines AAdvantage program
Southwest MakeItCount Rewards (Marathon and Arco)
Southwest participates in the MakeItCount Rewards program by Marathon. Filling up at Marathon or Arco will net you 1 Southwest point per gallon.
TPG estimates that Southwest points are worth 1.5 cents each. That’s not an earth-shattering return for your gas spending — though every point helps to get you closer to your next (nearly) free vacation. You can sign up for MakeItCount Rewards here and start earning Southwest points for purchases you’d make anyway.
Related: How to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points
Pro tip: The MakeItCount program is also a partner of Wyndham Rewards if you prefer to earn hotel points. Wyndham points can be valuable if you know the best way to use them.
Gas prices are at all-time highs and will only continue to rise for the foreseeable future. Luckily, there are several ways to maximize your earnings on gas purchases.
The best part about the rewards discussed here is that they come in addition to any points or miles you earn with your credit card. So, make sure you have a card that offers gas spending as a bonus category. You may also be able to stack them with other gas rewards programs like Pay with GasBuddy. To learn more about other gas rewards programs, read this guide.
Additional reporting by Benji Stawski.