The Best Credit Card Strategies for Commuters

Get more out of the time and money you put into commuting with credit card rewards.

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Many people spend more than one hour in their car on a roundtrip commute. While most people can’t avoid a commute completely, you can use your credit card for gas rewards, cash back, travel perks and more to make your commute work harder for you. Find out how with the following credit card strategies for commuters.

Pump Up Your Gas Rewards

For the commuter who drives long distances to work each day, a card with great gas rewards could alleviate some of the pressures of the commute. The best credit card rewards for gas are simple: cash back, rewards or points each time you fill up your tank. These cards range from great all-around cards with 3% gas rewards to affiliated gas cards that offer up to 5% gas bonuses and membership requirements. Look for the card with the lowest APR, best sign-on bonus and no annual fee that offers the top rewards at the pump. Credit cards like the Discover card offer rotating categories on gas, so you can earn up to 5% Cashback on your gas purchases during those particular months.

Look Into Commuter Benefit Cards

Some banks offer commuter check cards, which allow for the convenience of purchasing monthly commuter benefits at ticket vending machines and the ability to use the card at multiple transit providers, depending on your individual commuting needs. These cards are usually prepaid and used specifically for purchasing transit products. Check with your employer to see if they provide programs or benefits for employee commuter check cards. Some employers also offer options to have commuting expenses taken out of your paycheck pre-tax. This isn’t technically a reward, but can save you money on income taxes over the course of a year. Even if you pay full price for public transit you can make those dollars work harder for you by using a rewards credit card to cover this expense.

Cash In on Your Commute

For commuters, getting cash back on things like gas, online and in-store purchases and restaurants on the route from work might alleviate some of the hassle of long travel times. Knowing that everyday purchases like an early morning coffee or evening meal during your commute made on your credit card could help you cash in on travel rewards could brighten your days a bit.

Reinvest in Your Commute

When you’ve accumulated enough points or cash back from commuting expenses you can “re-invest” in your commute by purchasing items that make it more comfortable. A GPS system could help you find a route away from rush-hour traffic. Books on tape, CDs or MP3s can make your commute a little more entertaining. A heated cushion for your seat can alleviate the backaches and neck pains that come with long drives or make an icy drive cozier during the winter. Check out your credit issuer’s rewards options to see if you can redeem the rewards you’ve earned toward gift cards to a favorite coffee shop. Or, when purchasing these types of items, your credit card issuer may offer a deals portal to save more money. For example, Discover Deals includes discounts and deals at top retailers.

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Get Away with Travel Rewards

Earn a break from your commute with travel rewards. Commuters spend a lot of time in their cars, so why not opt for a card that also has good travel benefits on other modes of transportation? A free round-trip flight for a weekend getaway after a long year of high gas prices, jammed highways and unpredictable weather may be just what you need.

No matter which of these benefits is most important to you, know that with a little help from your credit card rewards your commute doesn’t have to be a constant burden. By making the most of your drive or ride with credit card perks and rewards, you can ease some of the stress of unavoidable daily travel.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.

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