Review: Alon Credit Card

alon-credit-cardGas station & convenience store operator Alon, in partnership with Comenity Bank, offers a credit card that allows you to earn points that can be used toward future Alon purchases. Our overview / review of the Alon credit card is below:

The first thing to understand about the Alon credit card is that it is only good at Alon; it is not accepted anywhere else. We are not fans of credit cards with such limited acceptance; it is not a great thing to open a credit line for a card that can’t used widely, because it can hurt your credit score, especially if you have shaky credit.

However, a compelling retail credit card can make sense for some people. Does the Alon credit card have a compelling offer?

Meh. The Alon card offers you a 5-cent “reward” for every gallon of gas you buy. When you have earned at least $5 in such rewards, you will get a rewards coupon that you can use toward future Alon gas or in-store purchases. Reward coupons are issued monthly, and only in exact $5 increments, so if you are over $5 but under $10, for example, you’d get the $5 coupon and have the remainder still in your account until you reach $5 in rewards again.

To be fair, this is a slightly better deal than you’d get from many general market cash back credit cards. The price of gas fluctuates, so it’s hard to make a direct comparison, but if we use $2.50 per gallon as a standard, the 5 cents in rewards would be equivalent to a 2% reward per gallon. We know of only one cash back card giving 2 percent, so the Alon card stacks up well.

However, the downside is you only get the rebate when you hit $5, it only comes once per month, and it only pertains to Alon purchases. Unless you are really buying a lot of Alon gas, the reward isn’t so great as to make it worth the trouble. (The card would be better if it simply knocked 5 cents off the price of each gallon directly at the pump so you’d get an immediate discount.)

And let’s not forget the interest rate on this card: 25.24%!!! There is no reason to pay that high of an interest rate in today’s market.

We don’t have much enthusiasm for the Alon credit card unless you are a very frequent gas buyer. However, we can’t stop you from going for it — there is an online application here if you absolutely must.

See also: Instant Approval Credit Cards, Which is the best credit card?, 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards