The BP Visa credit card was once a great card with a popular rewards program, but that's all changed as of March 1, 2012. The old BP card gave a 5% rebate at BP stations and up to 2% back on other spending and that's, perhaps, why you're still thinking this card might be a good choice for you.
Here's the truth about the BP card today and why you're better off skipping it over.
The "Revamped" BP Rewards Program
The old BP card was actually one of the best gas cards on the market with 5% back on spending at BP stations -- or $0.20 off $4 gas -- as well as 2% back on eligible travel and dining and unlimited 1% back on everything else. There was also a 10% cash back promotion during the first 60 days -- all for no annual fee.
So, what's different about the new program? The new program is convoluted and now known as Pump Rewards. For every $100 you spend at BP, you get a $0.15/gallon rebate. You get a $0.05/gallon rebate for every $100 you spend everywhere else. If you get the standard BP card, you'll earn a flat rebate of $0.05/gal for all spending.
During the first 60 days with the BP Visa or BP Visa Signature (not the standard BP card) you'll also earn enhanced rewards and receive a $0.25/gal rebate for every $100 in eligible spending, although the problems outlined below will still apply.
The Pump Rewards program is filled with plenty of tricks to further water down the rewards.
Rebates only apply to one fill-up: Here's the first trick to watch out for and where you're really not getting much bang for your buck if you have a small or mid-sized car.
When you're ready to use your rewards, they can only be applied to a single fill-up. If you have earned 1 rebate for $0.15/gal and 3 $0.05/gal rebates (earned through $400 in spending) you may be lucky to get 10 gallons in your tank if you're driving a small car. Redeeming your rewards would only save you about $3, which comes out to a rebate of 0.0075% back.
Max fill-up is 20 gallons with rewards: As you can see, the rebates won't get you much if your tank doesn't hold much. So, how does it fare if you drive an SUV or truck? Unfortunately, your rebate only applies to your first 20 gallons, so you probably won't be able to take advantage of your full discount in any scenario.
Rebates must be used all at once: BP's new program doesn't even let you choose to use only some of your rebates at once. When you swipe your card at the BP pump, you'll get a prompt asking you if you want to use your rebate. Once you select "yes," it'll apply all of your available rebates at once. There's almost no way for your rebate balance to carry over, either.
Rebates expire after 12 months and can't be used everywhere: Along with being incredibly restrictive, your rebates will also expire 12 months after they're earned. You're also restricted from using rebates at any BP pumps in Alabama and New Jersey and, of course, you can only redeem your rebates for gasoline at BP stations.
Want To Earn REAL Gas Rewards?
While the BP Visa card used to be highly recommended, it's not worth your time now.
The Blue Cash Everyday card is a good option with 2% cash back at gas stations. It's definitely more flexible than the BP card as you can use it anywhere and you won't need to worry about buying 20 gallons of gas at the same time to take advantage of rebates. You'll also earn 3% back at supermarkets, 2% back at most department stores and 1% back everywhere else.
If you're looking for a premium credit card, consider the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card to get 25,000 bonus points, 2x points at gas stations, 3x points on airfare, 2x points at supermarkets and 1x points on everything else, along with yearly points bonuses and other cardholder benefits.