Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard Review

overall rating
2.5

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The Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard gives cardholders 10 cents off per gallon on up to 20 gallons per purchase on Shell fuel purchases. You earn rebates of 10% on non-fuel purchases from Shell to a $1,200 annual spending limit and of 2% on up to $10,000 in dining and groceries purchases. The card has no annual fee.

Shell Fuel Rewards® Mastercard

overall rating
2.5
Shell Fuel Rewards® Mastercard
On Citi's Secured Site.

Current Offer:

Get 5¢ off per gallon with Fuel Rewards Gold Status and 25¢/gal with the Shell Fuel Rewards Credit Card for a total of 30¢/gal (up to 20 gallons) on your first 5 Shell fuel purchases.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 26.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Save on each gallon of Shell gas, up to 20 gallons per fill-up: 5 cents from the card and 5 cents from automatic enrollment in the fuel rewards program. Also earn 10% back in rebates on your first $1,200 in non-fuel Shell purchases per year. Plus 2% Shell rebates on your first $10,000 dining and grocery purchases per year, and 1% Shell rebates on other qualifying purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee This card does not offer balance transfers.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all rewards cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

Full Review of Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard

Pros
  • Strong rewards on gas

  • Respectable rewards on groceries and dining

  • Automatic rebate redemption

Cons
  • Rebates have some restrictions

  • Application process could result in receiving a less-appealing card

  • Very small value to the one-time offer

  • Half of the Shell fuel savings do not require the card

Pros Explained

  • Strong Rewards on Gas: The 10-cents-a-gallon rebate on Shell purchases, on up to 20 gallons per fill-up, could save you up to $2 per refueling, assuming your car has a large tank and is empty when refilled. There’s no spending limit on purchases eligible for these rewards. Further, the 10% in Shell rebates on non-fuel purchases at Shell stations adds extra savings if you sometimes pick up snacks, drinks, or other miscellany after filling up.
  • Respectable Rewards on Groceries and Dining: With its 2% Shell rebates on your first $10,000 of dining and grocery purchases, this card rewards in those categories comparably to cards that offer a universal 1.5% or 2% on all purchases.
  • Automatic Rebate Redemption: With many credit cards, you need to sign on to your account and take action to redeem your rewards, whether as cash, travel purchases, or more. With this card, Shell rebates are automatically redeemed against qualifying Shell purchases as you make those. No special steps are needed.

Cons Explained

  • Rebates Have Some Restrictions: The rebates you earn with this card are redeemed only against Shell purchases; there’s no provision to use them for other purchases or to receive them as cash. There are also spending limits on rewards for non-fuel purchases. Shell purchases other than fuel earn the 10% discount only up to $1,200 in annual spending—which admittedly should buy all the sodas and snacks most people need. Similarly, since the average U.S. household spent about $7,200 on food inside and outside the home in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the combined $10,000 limit on groceries and dining eligible for 2% rebates shouldn’t be a problem for most people. But bigger households or frequent diners might exceed them.
  • Application Process Could Result in Receiving a Less Appealing Card: Your application for the Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard could result in your receiving a different credit card. If you’re rejected for the Mastercard version, you'll then be considered for the Shell Fuel Rewards card. It’s a lesser option, since it’s what’s known as a closed-loop card that can be used only for purchases at Shell locations and nowhere else. You won’t be able to take advantage of the 2% Shell rebates on dining and grocery purchases or 1% Shell rebates on other qualifying purchases. 
  • Very Small Value to the One-Time Offer: Credit card one-time offers are frequently valued at $100, $200, $500, or more if you meet certain purchase requirements. This card’s bonus—an additional 20 cents a gallon in rebates on your first five Shell purchases—has no purchase requirement. But at a maximum benefit of $4 per fill-up, the bonus is worth no more than $20.
  • Half of the Shell Fuel Savings Don’t Require the Card: While the card advertises savings of 10 cents per gallon on Shell fuel purchases, half of that savings is from membership in the free Fuel Rewards program at the Gold status level. You don’t have to have a credit card to use the Fuel Rewards program or to earn Gold status. You receive the status for six months when you join, during which you must buy at least 5 gallons 6 times or more to remain at the Gold level. 

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Cash Back Strategist Persona
    Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
    Cash Back Strategist
  • Avatar for Annual Fee Averse Persona
    Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
    Annual Fee Averse
  • Avatar for Brand Loyalist Persona
    Affinity creates desire for rewards and perks with particular brand
    Brand Loyalist

The Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard is best suited to loyal Shell customers who visit the refiner’s stations often, both to fill up and to make purchases in station stores. The 10-cents-a-gallon rebate on Shell gas could really add up over a year, and the 10% discount on non-fuel purchases could contribute extra savings. 

It’s also a decent option if you have no other card that rewards food purchases, for both groceries and dining. Its 2% rebates compare favorably with those you might earn from a better cash back card. However, since the rewards you earn can only be used for Shell fuel purchases, those who purchase gasoline elsewhere will not likely find enough benefits to consider this card.

Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard One-Time Offer

The Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard offers a one-time offer worth up to $20 if you fully maximize it. The bonus is advertised as a 30 cents savings per gallon on Shell fuel purchases, but the card already offers a 10 cents savings per gallon on Shell fuel purchases. That makes the real benefit only 20 cents per gallon. 

You receive those savings on your first five purchases at Shell stations, each of up to 20 gallons of fuel. If you buy less than 20 gallons on any of your first 5 Shell fuel purchases, your bonus won’t reach the maximum $20 value. There is usually a time limit by which you must complete the five purchases. For example, at the time of writing, you needed to apply for the card by June 30, 2020, and make the purchases by Oct. 31, 2020, to qualify for this offer.

The one-time offer is for new accounts only. The savings should be applied at the time of purchase. If they aren’t, you will receive the savings in the form of a statement credit automatically posted to your monthly billing statement.

Rewards Earning Details

This card offers two benefits that could be considered rewards. The first is the ongoing 10 cents per gallon discount on up to 20 gallons of Shell fuel bought at a time. You receive the reward in two distinct halves. First, you save 5 cents per gallon at the point of sale, as a benefit of having Gold status in Shell’s Fuel Rewards program, which the card automatically confers. If these savings can’t be awarded at point of sale, a statement credit will be issued to your account. The average price per gas as per the U.S. Department of Energy will be used if data on how many gallons you purchased is not available.

A further 5 cents per gallon is then issued as a rebate on your monthly card statements. 

A note on Fuel Rewards: It’s a free program for which anyone can register. Gold Status is automatically given to new Fuel Rewards members for the first six months of their membership and is maintained provided you fill up at Shell with at least five gallons six times in the prior three month period. 

In addition to savings on fuel purchases, you also earn rebates of 10% of the amount you spend on anything else at Shell stations, up to a maximum “spend” of $1,200 a year.

Further, the card allows you to earn 2% in Shell rebates on your first $10,000 of dining and grocery purchases each year. Any Shell non-fuel purchases, dining or grocery purchases made in excess of the limits do not earn rebates. The annual rebate year starts the first day of your billing cycle in the calendar month of December and ends on the last day of your billing cycle in the following December.

You also earn 1% Shell rebates on all other qualified purchases. These do not include purchases made at locations selling non-Shell branded fuel, or on purchases for business or commercial purposes. 

Rebates not redeemed within 12 billing cycles after they are earned expire, which shouldn’t pose an issue for frequent Shell fuel customers. Your account must be open and current to get savings on fuel purchases as well as to earn and redeem rebates.

Rewards Redemption Details

The Shell rebates you earn are automatically redeemed against Shell purchases made when using your card. The Shell rebates are applied as a credit to your account in subsequent billing cycles after they are earned.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

Making the most of the Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard primarily involves filling up at Shell stations whenever you can. Since it’s unlikely that competing stations will beat the Shell price by more than the discounted amount, you should save on fuel costs by doing this. That’s especially the case for your first five fill-ups using the card, when the savings increases to 30 cents per gallon from the customary 10 cents. 

The rebate on non-fuel purchases at Shell stations is more of a convenience than a cost-savings measure. You could probably buy items like snacks elsewhere at a savings of at least 10% over what they cost from Shell, but that fact hardly matters when you’ve stopped for gas and are hungry. Making grocery and dining purchases with this card may also suit you if you carry no other card that provides rewards of 2% or better on those purchases. Just keep in mind that it’s not hard to find cards that offer better returns on dining or grocery spending, if you’re willing to manage yet another payment option. 

Cardholder Experience

The Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard is issued by Citi, which ranked in the middle of the pack in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. It received a score of 799 out of 1,000, which is a little below the 906 average for national issuers.

You can reach customer service for this card (at 800-331-3703) only between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm Eastern, from Monday through Friday. This is an extremely limited timeframe compared to most cards, which typically offer 24/7 customer service access. 

Security Features

The security features for this credit card are standard for the industry.

Our Verdict

Given that it provides a 10 cents-a-gallon discount on Shell fuel, the Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard may make sense for drivers whose regular gas stop is a Shell station. However, since the card’s one-time offer and other rewards are unremarkable, even Shell regulars might consider another strategy that might save them as much or more. Joining Shell’s Fuel Rewards program, which is free, will allow you to save 5 cents a gallon on Shell fuel. And the savings should be instant, applied at the pump, and earned regardless of the card you use. You could choose to use a card whose rewards on gas purchases would fill in much or all of the additional 5 cents in rewards on gas provided by the Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard. Carefully chosen, that card might also provide better rewards on other categories than the modest returns of this card, and to offer more redemption options than the Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard, which allows its rebates only to be applied to Shell purchases. For example, using a flat-rate cash back credit card, such as the Citi Double Cash, or a card targeted toward gas, dining or grocery purchases, in conjunction with Shell Rewards program might yield greater rewards value overall.

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For Shell Fuel Rewards® Mastercard
on Citi's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
Shell Fuel Rewards® Mastercard
overall rating
2.5
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 26.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Save on each gallon of Shell gas, up to 20 gallons per fill-up: 5 cents from the card and 5 cents from automatic enrollment in the fuel rewards program. Also earn 10% back in rebates on your first $1,200 in non-fuel Shell purchases per year. Plus 2% Shell rebates on your first $10,000 dining and grocery purchases per year, and 1% Shell rebates on other qualifying purchases.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.