Earn Miles & Points at the Gas Station – The Ultimate Guide [2022]

Transportation, Travel Tips
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Stopping at the gas station is never fun. Most of the time it means you have to lighten your bank account by quite a few dollars. Why not make the best out of this necessary evil and recoup as much as possible of the cost. Triple dip and more while paying for fuel. Did I wake your interest?

The techniques below might not be useful for everyone. You have to have certain accounts with apps and loyalty programs. If you don’t have them yet, you still can sign up and follow the steps. 

Let’s start simple and work our way up to the more complex setup to earn multiple miles, points and cash(back).

1. Credit Card

First of all, use a credit card when purchasing fuel. Which one to use is hard to say. Some credit cards give bonus points for using the card at fuel stations. However, these offers are mostly temporary and limited either by time or a fixed amount of how many points you can earn. The best way is to use a card which earns flexible currency like the American Express Platinum Card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred. If you are more interested in cashback, look at the Chase Freedom cards. They can earn you cash back or if you have another card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can transfer the cashback points to this card and use it for other redemptions. 

You can also use a co-branded credit card from your favorite hotel or airline if your goal is to earn enough miles or points for a free flight or night. It is totally up to you, but use a credit card instead of a debit card.

2. Get Upside – Cashback for Fuel Purchases

Second, you should sign up for Upside. It’s an app that lets you earn cents/gallon purchased at participating gas stations. Be aware that not every gas station is participating and the amount of how many cents per gallon you earn can carry from the station as well as fuel grade. It even varies by time. Sometimes a specific station has a pretty good earning rate and if you check the next morning, it could have been dropped. Just keep checking back, they always fluctuate.

Pro Tip

Don’t just rely on the amount you see on the map. Browse through the different gas stations and open the detail view. The map shows you how much you get for midgrade fuel. Sometimes premium or even regular fuel earns you more than mid-grade fuel. Always double-check.

How does it work?

Once you sign up for the app, you have to add a credit card. You would want to add your favorite card on which you decided on in Section 1. 

Now open the map and browse between the gas stations in your area. Select the gas station you want to use and click on “Claim Offer”. It’s time to head to the gas station if you aren’t there yet. At most gas stations you can just “check-in” before swiping your card at the pump. Some stations don’t have that option and you will have to upload your receipt by taking a picture in the app after you finished fuelling. 

Remember, not every gas station participates. In Wisconsin, I wasn’t able to find a single gas station that participates. In California, I have a ton of stations I can choose from. You also will be out of luck in very rural areas, even in California. But just check the app.

Extra Earnings

Besides earning at the gas station with Upside, you can also earn at participating restaurants. You will find them as well on the map. You will earn a certain percentage of your purchase. Most of the restaurants have a limit on how much you can earn during one transaction, e.g. 7% back with a maximum of $10 back. 

These offers are only valid on-site. You can’t use delivery services or buy gift cards.

Cashing Out

Your money will accumulate inside your wallet in the app. For cashing out you have many choices. 

  • Bank Transfer
  • PayPal
  • Giftcards: You have a large selection on gift cards you can choose from. These gift cards include Starbucks and Amazon.

3. Earning Frequent Flyer Miles or Hotel Points at the gas station

If you followed above steps, you already double dipped on every fuel purchase. Now let’s take it to the next level. Tripple dip! 

By purchasing fuel you can also earn frequent flier miles or hotel loyalty points. This is a little bit more tricky and you have to sign up for more rewards programs and accounts. This next step requires filling up at certain gas stations and depending on that, you will earn miles or points.

Marathon/ARCO Gas Station – Earn Southwest & Wyndham Points and more

Marathon Gas Stations are more prominent on the East Coast of the United States. Even though they have a refinery near the Port of Los Angeles, there is no Marathon gas station in California (yet). MakeItCount is the rewards program of Marathon Gas Stations. You can now also earn MakeItCount points at participating ARCO gas stations as well. I think this is the longest running promotion/parntership which lets you earn miles for an airline rewards program.

Marathon Gas Station Miami
Marathon Gas Station Miami

MakeItCount has partnered with multiple partners. You can earn reward for the following networks

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • Wyndham Rewards
  • Target eGiftCards
  • My CentsOff® Fuel Savings Program (Marathon Gas Station)
  • Petco eGift Cards
  • Domino’s eGift Cards
  • Sustain Tree Planting Program

For me, Southwest Rapid Rewards and Wyndham Rewards are the best choices but it is up to you. First, you have to sign up for a MakeItCount account, Then decide which partner program you want to use to earn. I use Wyndham Rewards as these points can be also transferred to even more partner programs of Wyndham Rewards. These partners include airlines like Lufthansa.

After you have your MakeItCount award, you have to link the partner you want to use and that’s it. Now you can start earning at the pump by entering your Alt-ID, which is 11+Your Phone Number. You can also request a physical card and scan that card at the pump and in-store. However, I try to avoid adding more plastic to my wallet. You will receive an email shortly after that confirming your earnings. That’s pretty good.

Detailed Guide

I have written a detailed guide on how to use the MakeItCount rewards program. That post has more in-depth information and is worth a read if you planning on visiting Marathon or ARCO gas stations.

Shell Fuel Rewards – Earn American Airlines Miles & Loyalty Points

Shell and American Airlines partnered and they let you now earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles with every fuel purchase. You get 2 miles/gallon of fuel. It doesn’t matter what grade of fuel, it is always 2 miles/gallon. This promotion/partnership is running until December 31, 2022 as of right now. I hope this gets extended.

Remember, all the miles you earn at Shell will also count towards your Loyalty Points to qualify for status with American Airlines.

Shell Travel Center and Gas Station in Tooele, Utah
Shell Tooele Travel Center

All you have to do for this, sign up for a Shell Fuel Rewards Account and link your American Airlines account. Once you get to a participating gas station, which you can find in their mobile app, enter your Loyalty-ID, which is just your 10-digit phone number. Fill up your tank and that’s it. It will take a few business days until they show up in your account. Make sure you keep a record of your transactions and a copy of your receipts (which you will also receive via e-mail if selected in your account) so you can call if your miles don’t post. 

Remember: Make sure that the Shell station is also participating in the Get Upside network. Otherwise, you won’t earn anything with them. Sometimes you can only double-dip. It depends on your location and also the availability of participating stations that are part of all these networks.

Detailed Guide

I have written a detailed guide on how to use the Shell FuelRewards Network. That post has more in-depth information and is worth a read if you planning on visiting Shell gas stations.

Important

Make sure the gas station you choose is also participating in the Upside network (Section 2). To get your points/miles and cashback, the gas station has to participate in its reward program and it must be participating with Upside as well. Only then you can triple dip. I know that’s a lot of going back and forward but once you know how it works, it’s actually fairly easy and quick. After that, you can just remember the gas stations in your home area and you don’t even have to look anymore. If you have multiple in your area, I would check which one has the better offer at Upside as you have to use the app anyway to activate the offer.

Pro Tip

You can also sign up for reward programs of other gas stations. Most of the time you only earn a rebate on your fuel purchase but that’s better than nothing, right?

4. Don’t stop dipping – Scan your gas station receipts

That’s by far not the end of what you can do. Another way many people use to get some return on their purchases are apps who let you scan your receipts and award you for that. 

Fetch Rewards

An app I can recommend is Fetch Rewards. You will earn for all the receipts you scan which can be redeemed for gift cards including Amazon. By scanning I mean taking a receipt and uploading and sharing it with Fetch Rewards. Besides snapping photos of your receipts, you can also link your email accounts and purchase confirmation emails will be automatically imported. However, this went a step to far for me in regards to privacy. You give them access to scan your emails. To minimize the impact, you could set up an email address for just your online shopping and import these receipts automatically. No other emails could become compromised that way.

There are a bunch of apps like Fetch rewards out there. Make sure you do your research before you use any of them.

Warning

Do not use CoinOut. They changed how the operate and even violate their own Terms and Conditions. When you email them about that, they just completely ingore you. I yet have to receive my payout. Besides being horrible in service and breaking there terms, the user interface is also horrible and gives you more trouble than it’s worth. 

Amazon Shopper Panel

This is probably one of the most lucrative apps if it comes to earn money for your receipts. Earn $10 in Amazon gift card value at the end of the month when you scan 10 receipts. This equals to an earning of $1/receipt. That is indeed pretty amazing. Besides scanning receipts, you can also participate in surveys. The most surveys I have seen in a month where two, which gave me an additional $0.50 for that month. This is still pretty good, considering how little effort it takes to earn that. 

Pro Tip

You can scan your receipts in multiple apps. For example you can scan the same receipt in Fetch as well as the Amazon Shopper Panel. 

Conclusion

I have tested all these options myself and it worked! Unfortunately, I can’t predict when programs change their rules or terms and conditions. If you experience issues or if something doesn’t work anymore as described here, please let me know in the comments and I will research and update the guide accordingly. 

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