The Best Credit Cards for Commuters of All Kinds

CREDIT CARDS - CREDIT CARD REWARDS
If you spend on tolls, public transportation, rideshares, or gasoline, consider these cards to earn valuable credit card rewards.
Updated May 16, 2024
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The Best Credit Cards for Commuters of All Kinds

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For many American workers, commuting is a decent chunk of their budget. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017 report on consumer expenditures, the average American spends roughly 13% of their monthly budget on commuting costs. Of course, this expense is dependent on where you live and if you work from home or not. But regardless of whether you drive, take public transportation, pay for tolls, use a rideshare service, or call a taxi, there’s potential for you to earn valuable credit card rewards that can offset the cost of your commute.

In this article

How to choose the best credit card for your commute

The perfect card for one commuter may not be perfect for the next. The best card for you will depend on a few factors:

  • What costs you’re incurring for transportation
  • If you want to earn cash back versus travel rewards
  • If you’re willing to pay an annual fee
  • If you have other expenses you’ll be putting on the same credit card

Also, you may consider changing up your mode of transportation if you live in a city or suburb. I recently went from owning a car to a carless lifestyle. This lifestyle change has saved me thousands of dollars. This is in part because I always pay for my public transportation and rideshares with a rewards-earning credit card to help bring down my costs even further.

So, with all that in mind, let’s dive into the best credit cards for commuters of all varieties to ensure your transportation costs are also being maximized to their fullest potential.

Best credit cards if you commute by public transportation

Card Rewards rate Annual fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve® 5X points on flights and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining & 1X points per dollar on all other purchases $550
U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card 5% cash back on two categories you choose (up to $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter) and on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Center; 2% cash back on one everyday category, like gas stations/EV charging stations, grocery stores, or restaurants; and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases $0
Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card 10X points on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked on CitiTravel.com; 3X points on air travel and other hotel purchases, at restaurants, supermarkets, gas and EV charging stations; and 1X points on all other purchases $95

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

As one of the best travel credit cards on the market, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is perfect for anyone who travels at least a few times per year. You can earn 3X points per dollar on other travel and dining. It’s a great card for commuters since the earning category of “travel” includes public transportation like passenger trains, buses, and ferries.

However, keep in mind Chase’s 5/24 rule, which will exclude any card applicants who have applied for more than five credit cards in the past 24 months. So, if you’ve been on an application spree over the past two years, skipping over this card would be best for now. Or if you’re starting to cut it close, make sure you apply for this card first.

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card offers flexibility with your earning potential. With this card, you can earn 5% cash back on two categories you choose (up to $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter) and on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Center; 2% cash back on one everyday category, like gas stations/EV charging stations, grocery stores, or restaurants; and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

You get to choose the 5% categories each quarter and one of the available categories is "ground transportation." That means you’ll earn cash back for every dollar you spend on bus, subway, train, and rideshare services along with many other of your expenses.

Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card

The Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card is a great choice if you drive for your commute. You can earn 10X points on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked on CitiTravel.com; 3X points on air travel and other hotel purchases, at restaurants, supermarkets, gas and EV charging stations; and 1X points on all other purchases.

If you’re a fan of Citi ThankYou points, this card can boost your ThankYou points balance quickly to get you on the road to your travel destination of choice.

Best credit cards if you commute by car

Card Earning rate (points/miles) Annual fee
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 per year thereafter (Terms apply)
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter; 3% on restaurants and eligible travel purchases; 2% on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com; and 1% on all other purchases 

$0

Citi Double Cash® Card2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases; plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24 $0

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is an outstanding card for those looking to save money on their commuting expenses. And if you’re able to utilize a variety of options for commuting, this card is a slam-dunk. You’ll earn cash back on transit expenses, including spending at gas stations as well as on taxis, rideshares, parking, tolls, trains, and buses.

Along with saving on transportation costs, you’ll earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases.

Learn more at our Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Review.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is perfect for anyone who has a Costco membership and is relatively close to a Costco location. Costco has some of the best gas prices in the country, and if you use the Costco Anywhere Visa Card, you’ll also get 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter; 3% on restaurants and eligible travel purchases; 2% on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com; and 1% on all other purchases.

I wouldn’t recommend getting a Costco membership only for gas unless you’re spending thousands of dollars per year on gas, as the membership fee for the wholesale store will defeat the savings. But if you’re already considering shopping at Costco to save by buying in bulk, then adding on the Costco Anywhere Visa could multiply all your savings.

Citi Double Cash® Card

The Citi Double Cash® Card is a great option for someone looking for easy earnings without the fuss of staying on top of rotating categories. You can earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases; plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the citi travel℠ portal through 12/31/24. And all of this straightforward, reward-earning potential comes with no annual fee.

Best credit cards for rideshares

It’s becoming more and more popular for people to completely ditch their car. For many, using rideshare services has become more convenient, simpler, and more cost-efficient than owning or renting a car. With that in mind, here are the best credit cards for rideshares.

Card Earning rate (points/miles) Annual fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve® 5X points on flights and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining & 1X points per dollar on all other purchases

Two free years of Lyft Pink All Access (if you activate by Dec. 31, 2024)

$550
The Platinum Card® from American Express 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases

Up to $200 yearly credit for Uber (requires enrollment; terms apply)
$695 (Terms apply)
U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card 5% cash back on two categories you choose (up to $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter) and on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Center; 2% cash back on one everyday category, like gas stations/EV charging stations, grocery stores, or restaurants; and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases $0

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is an excellent option for rideshare commuters. You can earn 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025. In addition, you can take advantage of two free years of the Lyft Pink All Access membership if you activate by Dec. 31, 2024. That gets you 10% off Lux rides, free priority pickup upgrades, a free year of Grubhub+, and more.

The Sapphire Reserve also earns 10X points for every dollar you spend on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel℠ (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually). 

If you are a frequent traveler who is also a rideshare commuter, the robust travel benefits, coverages, and perks of the Chase Sapphire Reserve might be a great option for you, and easily balance out the annual fee of $550.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

With The Platinum Card® from American Express — a luxury travel rewards card — you’ll receive a wide array of travel benefits, including up to $200 per year in Uber credits (terms apply). You’ll get $15 per month from January to November, and in December, you’ll enjoy $35 ($15 plus a $20 bonus) to round out the $200 annual credit. Be aware that the credits are “use it or lose it” each month, though. Select benefits require enrollment.

While the American Express Platinum Card does have a $695 annual fee, these credits (if used) reduce the cost of the card considerably.

Check out The Platinum Card® from American Express Review.

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

With the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card, you can earn 5% cash back on two categories you choose (up to $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter). These categories can include ground transportation, such as Lyft and Uber.

Best credit cards if your commute is a business expense

If you’re a business owner, you have the ability to select from some of the best business credit cards for your costs when traveling for work. Here are three of the best business cards for commuters, while also keeping in mind that you may be traveling farther for work as well.

Card Earning rate (points/miles) Travel insurance policies Annual fee
American Express® Business Gold Card 4X Membership Rewards Points on purchases in the two categories with the most spend each billing cycle from 6 eligible categories (up to $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year, after that 1X), 3X Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels booked at amextravel.com, and 1 point per $1 spent on other eligible purchases Car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary coverage) $375  (Terms apply)
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card 3X points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year; and 1X points per $1 on all other purchases Trip cancellation/interruption insurance, roadside dispatch, and auto rental collision damage waiver (primary coverage) $95

American Express® Business Gold Card

The American Express® Business Gold Card is a flexible business card with zero hassle. You’ll benefit from a valuable welcome offer, along with extensive options to earn American Express Membership Rewards points. You can earn 4X Membership Rewards Points on purchases in the two categories with the most spend each billing cycle from 6 eligible categories (up to $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year, after that 1X), 3X Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels booked at amextravel.com, and 1 point per $1 spent on other eligible purchases.

The select categories (as of October 2023) include the following:

  • U.S. purchases made from electronic goods retailers and software and cloud system providers

  • Transit purchases, including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways

  • U.S. purchases at gas stations

  • U.S. purchases at restaurants, including takeout and delivery

  • Purchases at U.S. media providers for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)

  • Monthly wireless telephone service charges made directly from a wireless telephone service provider in the U.S.

If you’re driving consistently for work, being able to earn generous points per dollar at gas stations can create major points earnings. This card also offers protection if your work “commute” may occasionally involve flying or renting a vehicle. For more information on how to maximize cash back on gas, check out our list of the best gas credit cards.

Read our American Express® Business Gold Card Review for more details.

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is great if you're a business owner who wants rewards on a wide variety of commuting expenses and the opportunity to earn a lucrative welcome offer. This card's travel benefits can also help protect you when you travel to other cities for work. 

The travel category for this card is defined as car rental agencies, buses, taxis, passenger trains, parking lots, garages, limousines, ferries, toll bridges, highways, airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, cruise lines, travel agencies, and discount travel sites.

This card also offers 5X points per dollar spent on qualifying Lyft rides, which can be great for frequent business-related travel.

Why we chose these cards (methodology)

When picking these cards, we looked at the bonus available when signing up and the continuing earning potential of the card after the bonus. All of the cards mentioned above have a large welcome offer, great spending rewards, or both. Many of these cards also have other benefits, such as travel insurance, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee reimbursement, or other travel-related credits.

When selecting a card for yourself, be sure to look into the card beyond just the welcome bonus and spending categories. If you’re frequently traveling either for work or pleasure, a card with more insurance coverages might be more worth pursuing over another.

Bottom line

You don’t have to limit yourself to just one of these picks for the best rewards credit cards for commuters. In fact, you may need multiple credit cards if you think you’ll max out the rewards potential on one card. Strategizing with more than one card is a great way to earn even more points or cash back.

And if you’re a business owner, consider applying for both a personal card and a business card to easily separate your personal and business expenses.

Regardless of which card (or cards) you choose, you can now see that being intentional with your credit card use when it comes to your commute can be a valuable strategy.

Lucrative, Flat-Rate Cash Rewards

5.0

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Current Offer

$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Brett Holzhauer Brett Holzhauer is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. He writes about using points & miles for travel, travel industry news, utilizing credit cards as financial leverage, and investing for the future. He has been featured in publications such as The Points Guy, Million Mile Secrets, The Money Manual, Recruiter, Travel Pulse, and Bald Thoughts. He is a full-time digital nomad with his wife, Kiersten.

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