6 Credit Cards for College Commuters

A long commute to college isn't fun, unless you have a credit card that rewards you for driving and spending money on gas.

[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Waking up early to rush to class is never fun, and having to commute to school doesn’t make mornings any easier. Whether you live 15 minutes from campus or more than an hour away, every minute and mile counts. Being a few minutes late can ruin your performance on an exam, and having to drive a few extra miles can wreck your wallet.

While the first rings of an alarm clock might never get less jarring, having a credit card made for commuters can ease your mind during your morning commute. All of these cards offer great perks as well as gas-focused rewards that’ll turn every commute into an opportunity to rack up cash. (It’s a good idea to check your credit before applying for a new card. You can check two of your scores for free on Credit.com.)

1. Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Rewards: 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in annual spending at supermarkets, 3% cash back at gas stations and select department stores and 1% cash back on everything else.
Signup Bonus: $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 on your new card within the first 3 months.
Annual Fee: $0 intro annual fee for the first year of Card Membership, then a $95 annual fee.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): Variable 13.99% to 24.99%.
Why We Picked It: The rewards are focused on gas and groceries, plus the APR can be low depending on your credit.
For College Commuters: You’ll save on gas in the long run, and buying snacks for your afternoon commute is more appetizing when you realize how much cash back you earn.
Drawbacks: If you constantly frequent gas stations, you may prefer a card with slightly better rewards on gas.

2. PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card

Rewards: 5% cash back on gas purchases, 3% cash back on groceries and 1% cash back on everything else.
Signup Bonus: $100 Statement Credit when you spend $1,500 in first 90 days.
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% intro APR on balance transfers for a year, and then variable 9.74% to 17.99%.
Why We Picked It: This card features unlimited rewards and a solid APR, alongside 1% cash back on everything.
For College Commuters: If you have a long commute that requires a lot of gas, this is a great card for racking up gas rewards.
Drawbacks: You have to become a member of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union.

3. BankAmericard Cash Rewards

Rewards: 3% cash back on gas, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on everything else. These rewards are capped at $2,500.
Signup Bonus: $150 cash rewards bonus online after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening.
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% APR for a year on purchases, and on balance transfers made within 60 days of opening your account. After that, variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99% will apply.
Why We Picked It: Your rewards never expire and they’re capped at a decent level if you’re not a large spender.
For College Commuters: If you have a shorter commute or very fuel efficient car, this card is for you because it has decent rewards up to a certain point.
Drawbacks: If you drive very often you might use up your rewards quickly.

4. Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

Rewards: 3% cash back on gas, 2% on groceries and 1% back on everything else.
Signup Bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points if you use your card to make $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, variable APR will be 13.99% to 25.99%.
Why We Picked It: Your points last five years and there’s no annual fee.
For College Commuters: You can trade your points for cash, which is perfect for buying snacks, car chargers and more for your commute. Or, if your car breaks down during a drive, you can use your points for a rental car.
Drawbacks: The points eventually expire and the APR is on the higher side.

5. Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

Rewards: 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases up to $7,000 per year. Earn 3% cash back on restaurants and travel, 2% back on Costco purchases and 1% cash back on everything else.
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0 (you will need a paid Costco membership)
APR: 0% APR on purchases for seven months, after that, variable 16.24% APR
Why We Picked It: The rewards are excellent and heavily focus on gas. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
For College Commuters: This card is great for those who are near a Costco during their commute and often get their gas there.
Drawbacks: This card is only available to those with an active Costco membership.

6. Marathon Credit Card by Visa

Rewards: Receive $0.25 rebate per each gallon of gas you purchase when you charge at least $1,000 that month, $0.15 rebate per gallon if you spend at least $500 that month and $0.05 rebate per gallon if you spend less than $500.
Signup Bonus: Receive up to $0.50 per gallon for the first 90 days.
Annual Fee: None
APR: For purchases, 25.99%, 21.99%, or 17.99% when you open your account, based on your creditworthiness. For, balance transfers and cash advances, 26.99%.
Why We Picked It: This credit card focuses on gas and features great rewards.
For College Commuters: Living in the Midwest or Southeast has its perks if you have Marathon gas stations nearby. Whether you’re buying gas frequently for a long commute or only buying it occasionally, you’re still earning rewards.
Drawbacks: The APR for this card is really high. The rebates can only be redeemed as $25 Marathon cash cards that expire after 24 months. This card is only worth it if you frequently go to Marathon for gas.

Image: Georgijevic

At publishing time, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card, Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card and Costco Anywhere Visa® Card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

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