Real Estate Investors: Get (Almost) Free Gas Using This Little-Known Program

by | BiggerPockets.com

I’m a man.

I have a raging beard, wear a lot of flannel, and would rather spend time with Ron Swanson than Michael Scott.

I also drive a truck — a big, black, Super Cab Ford F-150… and I love it. Because it’s a man’s truck.

Now, I’m not saying only true men can drive trucks, but my truck is an especially manly truck. (Unlike Ben Leybovich‘s Tesla, which cost more than most of my rental properties!)

And like many guys, especially those of the “real estate investor persuasion,”  I’m exceptionally cheap.

I pinch pennies wherever I can. I work hard to negotiate the best deals on real estate, and I scour the web for coupons before buying anything online.

And now, I get almost free gas to fill up that beast of a truck.

That’s right, I can fill that truck with 20 gallons of gasoline and it costs me just…

Wait for it…

$2.17. 

OK, maybe its not entirely free, but getting 20 gallons of premium gas for less than the cost of my extra hot peppermint hot chocolate (with no mocha drizzle) from Starbucks is a win in my book.

And this was not a one-time occurrence. In fact, I haven’t paid more than $3 total for gas in that truck in months — and I’ve even filled my car up several times as well.

No, the pumps weren’t broken.

No, I didn’t strong-arm the gas station attendant.

No, my dashing good looks, beard, and charm didn’t win me any favors.

I simply used this simple but little-known gas rewards program offered at everyone’s favorite home supply store.

Related: How to Travel Hack Your Way Through a Flip (& See the World For Free!)

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How I Get Almost Free Gas

Now, before I reveal the exact program I’m using to get almost free gas, understand this: This program works because I’m an active real estate investor.

It’s perfect for us!

And as you might know, I specialize in buying fixer-upper properties. Sometimes I hold them (using the BRRRR method), and sometimes I flip them (to make mad money!).

In fact, this year I rehabbed 11 different properties (and am about to purchase #12 next week).

So, naturally, I buy a lot of materials from Home Depot.

Enter: the Fuel Rewards Program.

This little-known program, in partnership with Shell gas stations, is offered when you have a Home Depot’s Commercial Credit Account and use it to buy materials.

(Just FYI, those are not affiliate links. Neither BiggerPockets nor I make any money if you join this thing. It’s just a cool program — a tip from one investor to another!)

Simply buy your materials at The Home Depot using your registered Home Depot Commercial Credit Card(s), and you’ll automatically earn at least 10¢/gallon in Fuel Rewards savings for every $100 of qualifying purchases.

With gas running around $2.50 per gallon, it basically means I get to fill up my gas tank (up to 20 gallons at a time) every time we spend $2,500.00, which is almost weekly right now.

And if you are an active rehabber, chances are you spend a lot of cash at Home Depot as well.

So why not make it count?

More Details About the Program

So – how much does this Fuel Rewards Program cost?

Nothing. 

Zilch.

Nada. 

Of course, if you get the Home Depot Commercial Card, you’ll need to pass the credit requirements, which involve having a decent credit score and business income, but you’ll likely be surprised to find yourself approved even if you don’t have a ton of business income.

Credit today is looser than a gossiping church lady’s lips.

Additionally, understand that Home Depot offers two different commercial credit products:

  • The Revolving Charge Card operates like any normal credit card, with low monthly payments.
  • The Commercial Account is an account you pay in full each month.

While I use the second option, the Commercial Account (because I’m not a huge fan of normal revolving credit cards — been there, done that), either option can work with the Fuel Rewards Program. Just make sure you are getting the commercial card, not the personal Home Depot Credit Card.

But it’s not just about (almost) free gas. The Home Depot Commercial Account has another amazing benefit.

It’s More Than Just Free Gas

For years, I bought materials using just a debit card connected to my bank account.

Sure, it worked. But it was confusing.

With multiple projects going on at the same time, it can be hard to keep track of what Home Depot receipt is for which project.

But when I put everything on my Home Depot Commercial Account, I get a monthly bill that has each purchased itemized by job name.

Now, I don’t have to try and guess which property this $91.84 faucet went with when my contractor forgets to write on the receipt. In fact, with the Home Depot Commercial Account, my team doesn’t even need to keep receipts because every receipt is emailed to me the moment the purchase is made.

Related: 6 Clever Ways for House Flippers to Save Big on Remodeling Supplies

So now I filter all my projects through the Home Depot Commercial Credit Card and simply write one check each month from the operating account that funds each individual project. The information fits nicely into my bookkeeping system (I’m currently using Buildium), helping keep my books in order as well.

Wrapping It Up

Last week, I took a five-hour drive to visit the Bavarian Christmas town of Leavenworth, Washington.

Sure, I could have taken my Prius — but the truck is just so much more comfortable.

(Besides, if I drove to a Bavarian Christmas town in my Prius, I might just lose my man card permanently.)

So I made the five-hour (each way) trip over the mountains in my truck and it cost me…

Yep, almost nothing.

So give it a try.

Of course, you won’t always be in the middle of a rehab project, but when you are, this program can save you big money on the gas you put in your vehicle — even if it’s not a manly truck like mine.

Here’s one more link to more information about the Fuel Rewards Program.

So what do you think?

Do me a favor and leave a comment below, and be sure to share this post on your social media if you found it helpful! 

About Author

Brandon Turner

Brandon Turner (G+ | Twitter) spends a lot of time on BiggerPockets.com. Like... seriously... a lot. Oh, and he is also an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, traveler, third-person speaker, husband, and author of "The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down", and "The Book on Rental Property Investing" which you should probably read if you want to do more deals.

50 Comments

  1. Tom Keith

    Brandon, I was pulling out my billfold to see which Home Depot card I have. Gonna have to use them a little more now that I know more. I have had a really good relationship with contractor managers at Lowes. I wonder if they do this? Thanks for a good read and great information.

  2. Or you could use a credit card that gives you 2% back at any store. $2500 x 2% = $50. About the same amount of rewards, but you can earn it at any store, and spend it any way you want, even if you don’t drive a thirsty truck with a big tank.

  3. Alex Craig

    Brandon, do you get this gas reward on top of the 7.5% rebate Home Depot offer?

    What I do is through the Kroger Grocery Store. Basically buy as $500 Home Depot GC and that gets you the max benefit of $1.00 of on gas. I use my AMEX to buy that GC, which is 2% off. Then when I use my $500 GC to buy materials at HD, I am getting my 7.5% rebate. The free gas would be nice instead of going the route I am going as I to have a gus guzzler in the GMC Denali Pick Up.

  4. tim boehm

    Hi Brandon, the guy from tillamook here! wow 11 going at the same time!! It takes me about a year to do a single one. The one I working on now is in Rainier Or. virtually a complete rebuild. Of course 45 years doing this type work means I do it all even the granite counter tops. wish I was young like you with what I know now! love your posts!

  5. Thomas Stackpole

    Thanks for the tip Brandon. I’ve actually been carrying the HD CC application for a couple of weeks in my briefcase. I’ve currently been using Lowes commercial account since they give a 5% discount on all purchases here in NY. HD used to do the same but discontinued.

    PS – love my Prius too!

  6. Kathleen Leary

    Great! Except out here in the flatlands, the closest Shell station is about 85-90 miles away. Kinda puts a kibosh on the whole endeavour . . . .
    I already hit up HD for a 5% discount. Good to know about other ways to twist that dollar, though.

  7. Eli Freedman

    Brandon- I use my bank debit card for everything and HD still seems me detailed itemized receipts by job name and I can look up my account online tool to see every single purchase broken down by job name etc. which is awesome for accounting. Is there anything different with using their card?

  8. Andrew K.

    I love this tip Brandon! I’m going to stack this hack with my 10% military discount. I’m rocking a Jeep these days, and sometimes it feels like there’s a hole in my gas tank! This tip will make a huge difference!

    Also remembering to couple this tip with tracking your mileage to/from investment properties and supply stores, and you’re really maximizing the savings.

    Keep the content coming, you’re a machine!

    Happy New Year!

    -Andrew

  9. Christopher Persaud

    Nice to see a post on this!
    I’ve been doing this since they discontinued the 5% off at HD. My rewards sometime go over the price per gallon, and since they cannot give free gas, the minimum allowed is $0.019/gal. Yes, less than 2 cents!
    I use the Shell Fuel Rewards app, which gives me the fuel price at nearby gas stations, and pay cash (some stations charge more for credit), so I do my best to pay the lowest.
    I wish the 5% off was still going on, but hey, less than 50 cents for a full tank of gas, it’ll do.

  10. Page Huyette

    This happened to me recently when I was on a road trip, and got a tank of gas without paying anything. It was through my Plenti card which is associated with Exxon and a few other gas companies.

    I also use a frequent buyer card through Smith’s grocery which often knocks off well over 10 cents/gallon.

    Easy peasy, thanks for the Home Depot tip!

  11. Shawn Channell

    Yep, I signed up for the Fuel Rewards program this year through Home Depot also, and I’ve paid as little as $.01 per gallon – that’s right, a penny a gallon! I think that’s basically the tax on the gasoline. I too drive a full size pickup truck, which averages about 13 mpg, so the fuel program has saved me probably thousands of dollars this year!

  12. Nathan G.

    I have a Wells Fargo Home Rebate Card that earns 5% of monthly charges on all purchases and applies it towards my mortgage. It can be used anywhere and is not tied to a particular store or item (e.g. gas or grocery). We spent over $42,000 on the card this year and earned a full mortgage payment on our house. It can be tempting to have a card for a particular store but there are better deals out there.

    The key – and this can’t be stressed enough – is to ensure your bill is paid every month. The vast majority of Americans have no discipline and carry a balance, which negates any points earned. Pay it all, every time, or do not use a credit card.

  13. Larry Tanner

    Last night, I paid…wait for it….$0.45/gal for my gas. Gas is $2.55/gal where I am and I had $2.10 off/gal using my local grocery store’s Gas Rewards program. Ive been driving since 1989 and I have NEVER paid $0.45/gal…EVER!

    My only regret is that I didn’t hold off filling up all my gas containers 4 weeks ago when I got gas for $1.20/gal. lol. Oh well.

  14. Chris Field

    I use the Lowes Amex for the gas cards currently have about $600 worth in my trucks console. They work for my boat as well which burns a lot more than my truck.

    The HD card is actually very weak rewards wise.

    If your spending a lot of money get a Chase Ink for your business. I run about 500k a year threw mine to get the points. I have not bought an airline ticket in years by using points. Chase offers a bonus when booking threw them so those points are worth about $7k. Im flying to FL, Bahamas x2 and France for free next year.

  15. Syed Hussain

    Nice hack. This is a convenient one that doesn’t require many steps at all. The proverbial “low hanging fruit”. There are hacks like this all around if you have any major purchases like a big trip, medical expense and/or a home renovation. Just gotta look!

  16. Josh Polston

    I use a card (Capital 1) with a 2% cash back as well so I can use the $50 any way I see fit. Even without the use of the HD CC, you still have access to all your costs and tracking through the use of a Pro account and entering job numbers for every purchase.

    Keep the hacks coming!

  17. David Huddleston

    If you use a citi cards 2% cash back card you get the same benefit as what your talking about and then you can use a Bank of America 321 card to get 3% cash back back in gas which would give you an additional $1.50 per 20 gal fill up and if you live by a grocery store gas station most of them give you 10 cents/gal off by buying groceries which you could purchase using american express’ Blue card which would give you 3% cash back for groceries this would add an additional $3 on top of the 10cents/gal off.
    The method you describe equates to $2500 spent for $50 back a 2% benefit
    This method $2650 spent for $56.50 back a 2.13% benefit

  18. Chris Paulus

    I have been using the Giant Eagle Fuel Perks card for years. Gift cards to HD (or about anywhere) can get you 10 to 20 cents per $50 spent for up to 30 gallons. I fill my machine and three 5 gallon containers every time. I have paid ZERO dollars for 30 gallons 3 times in 2016. Recently, I have been using Mom’s card because 1) she only drives 6 miles a month and 2) apparently pharmaceuticals redeem at 20 cents per $50.

  19. Michael Braatz

    This is certainly a good start for those who don’t generally think a lot about credit card rewards, but there are tons of very good sites out there that have great tips and strategies about how to churn out amazing points through introductory deals.

  20. Roger Keyes

    I’m not trying to set the prairie on fire but $50 for spending $2500 is weak. That’s 2%. Get the chase Ink business plus and get 5% back on gift cards from office supply stores. This includes gas gift cards, HD gift cards, etc. I pay for expensive travel every year with the chase points. Your welcome ?

  21. Brian Garrett

    I also have another way to do this. Here in CO (and I suspect most states) Kroger (King Soopers here) has fuel discounts when you use their Rewards account when making any purchases (and I mean any). The rewards card costs nothing and you use whatever card you want to buy what you need at Kroger. This also includes gift cards. So here’s how it goes:

    We use our miles card for any grocery purchases.
    We use our miles card to buy gift cards for places we shop at regularly (this includes Lowes, HD, Amazon, restaurants, airfare etc.).
    We get the miles on the credit card.
    When we go to the gas pump I regularly get a $1.00 off per gallon.

    It may take a teeny amount of additional work, but in the long run if I put in 15 gallons of gas in the car – I just saved $15.00. Pretty soon you’re talking real money.

  22. Sounded great. Until I thought of something. Home depots prices are higher. You can get the same material or better material for less at other stores. Not talking about lowes. You can grt material a lot cheaper. I have an example. There is a store here in dallas that sell cedar and stain for fences. The stain at home depot costs $160 for a bucket. The stain at the store cost $95 a bucket. Thats a $65 difference. I can take those $65 and pump gas twice with one purchase less than $100 instead of having to spend $2500. The thing I do like is the part where you can keep up with the receipts. But you can also do that at other stores. Personally I would do it but I would use other stores other than home depot to save more money

      • Steven Hale

        It’s 10 cents per gallon. Up to 20gal at a time. No one is saying spend all your money at home depot. But if you are going to spend the money at HD, why not take advantage of some of the perks. Plus if you do get to a point where you have a managed account, you will be surprised at what prices you will get on things you buy. I have had them match prices on a lot of stuff. They will deliver sheetrock on a second floor with a boom if you need it. If you don’t have a good relationship with the Prodesk you may be missing out. Again, if you are going to spend the money there why not take advantage of whatever you can? I also get an additional 20% off all paint and stains by being a prorewards customer at depot through my local Reia.

  23. Ray Slack

    I used to do this too but got frustrated as I need could buy enough gas and the rewards expire 30 days after you earn them. I spend $130k last year at Home Depot. I just converted to Lowes and got their AMEX lowes card.. Now I get 2% back in lowes gift cards for all my purchases with no expiration. So I would rather have $4,000 per year in lowes gift cards per year than all the free gas I can use up.. Go Lowes!!

  24. Steven Hale

    On top of the free gas and creative ways of getting discounts using credit cards and gift cards you can still get another 2% rebate on top of it all. If you are a member of your local National Reia Affiliate you can use a special code and register all your cards and even gift cards, and get 2% back 2x each year. Over $1000 you get a check, under $1000 you get a gift card. Be sure to register the gift card they send you!

  25. sri ram

    Go Lowes. I think the deal is still better with lowes. I spent about 52k and I got 7% back. 5 % regular discount and 2 % customer sign up my lowes account.
    The GAS calculation what Brandon is talking does not add up right. I am not sure what I am missing but it comes down to 1% and moreover most of the time Shell prices are 15c higher then other gas stations. I am not really sure where is the saving.

    • Steven Hale

      I know that they are talking about changing the gas program and it will be exclusive to card holders. But I have been getting 10 cents per $100 spent. It had been a pilot program in Atlanta and we actually had one of the very few HD owned gas stations. But don’t forget on top of the gas program, the 2% rebate program you also have the ability to run purchases over $2500 ($1000 for managed accounts) through their bid-room. You can also get not advertised bulk discounts on many items ie. Hot water heaters etc. I usually see any where from 5-15% discount on my purchase just run through the bid room.

  26. Chris Field

    If your spending 130k at Home Depot I hope it’s on stuff they sell cheap like windows and appliances.

    The big box stores are horrible overpriced on just about everything.

    I just buy small misc items from them the rest is dropped at the job sites by supply houses. I use my CC to pay my accounts instead of mailing in checks to get the points.

  27. Ben Leybovich

    Brandon – it is commonplace folklore on BiggerPockets that we, you and I, have manly love between us. I love the talent in you. I’ve learned to live with the flannel shirt on you. I’ve even made peace, though barely, with that dead animal on your face…the things we do for love…

    But – the truck-driving you is just toooooooo much. You broke my heart. What about the refinement? And what about the environment? And did you know I can rhyme…?! HAHA

  28. Aaron Dionne

    Some interesting ideas, but some of them pretty complicated – and my life is complicated enough to be buying gift cards with credit cards to buy gas or spending $2500.00 a month at one store.

    I have always preferred Lowe’s – mostly because they’re not afraid to discount damaged/returned items, and they have contractor packs that offer significant discounts for ‘bulk’ – like a package of 10 plumbing fittings, for example. In fact, last week I bought two water heaters that were priced at $405.00. I only needed one, but noticed a sticker that offered a discount of $59.00 each if I bought two. For that, I’ll store the second one until I need it.

    Lowe’s American Express Open – 5% off instantly at Lowes AND 3x rewards at restaurants/office, 2x rewards at Lowe’s, and 1x rewards anywhere else. This is the card I use at HD and Menards. Rewards are redeemed for gift cards. This card also entitles the owner to reduced material delivery fee from Lowe’s.

    Menards rebates – Sometimes they give great rebates on things you were going to buy, anyway. I save them up, print out several certificates online, and send them in – about 5 at a time. But I guess it’s nice to have Menards nearby 🙂

    Home Depot matches the 11% rebate when Menards offers their “11% off everything” sales. Go to https://www.homedepotrebates.com/11percentmatch/ to find the form to use. HD updates it each time Menards has a sale. Just copy your receipts for the appropriate week(s), and fill out the form. Then wait for your gift cards in the mail. I assume this will work for people that don’t have a Menards anywhere near them…

    Aaron Dionne
    Flint, MI Rentals

  29. Laura O.

    I was able to fill up my car for 24 cents using the Home Depot fuel rewards program! And my boyfriend filled his for 25 cents! We spend thousands of dollars at Home Depot per month for our flips so it certainly does come in handy!

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