Valero Gas Credit Card: A Rewards Program To Avoid?
Are you a fan of Valero? Maybe you are, or maybe they just have a load of gas stations in your area and you don’t feel like driving 10 miles out of your way to get gas from somewhere else. Whatever the case may be, a Valero gas card is an option for those who frequent the chain.
Just Another Mediocre Rewards Program?
If you’ve read the recent posts regarding the Conoco and Shell gas cards on this site, you’re probably ready for a big nothing-burger to land on your plate. Those cards offer no upfront rewards at all, making signing up not all that enticing. Despite the lack of upfront rewards offered by Conoco and Shell in this regard, Valero actually offers decent upfront rewards. For the first 3 months, you’ll earn a rebate of 30 cents per gallon on up to 100 gallons per month. If you purchase 50 gallons of gas per month, that comes out to $45 in rewards. That’s the best deal that I know of on any gas card. It is important to note that you must sign up by March 31st, 2012 to take advantage of this offer. After 3 months, you may still earn rewards on your fuel purchases. However, they’ll dwindle substantially. There are multiple versions of this card out there. Only the “Preferred Gold” version offers rebates after 3 months – and they’re nothing to cheer about after that. You’ll earn the following rebates with this card:
Rebate Per Gallon
Total Rebate for 50 Gallons
I factored in how much you’d get back after purchasing 50 gallons per month to show you how low the rewards are with this card. After 3 months have expired, you’ll get a maximum of $1 back per month when purchasing this much fuel. Note that this is only if you have the Preferred Gold version of this card, as well, meaning that you’ll get no rewards at all with any other version.
The Restrictions That Break The Program
With it’s lackluster rewards, you probably expect Valero to fill your tank for you, wash your windshield and give your battery a jump on a cold morning to get you to sign up. Instead, you’ll be hit with a list of restrictions.
1. Only Preferred Gold Earns Rewards After three Months
This is important to repeat, as your rewards will go down to nothing after three months if you don’t get the Preferred Gold version. Even if you do, you’ll have to pay a $10 annual fee.
2. Limited Station Selection
To earn rewards with this card, you’ll have to purchase fuel from Valero, Diamond Shamrock, Beacon and/or Shamrock stations. So, if you can’t find one of these stations, you won’t earn anything by using this card.
If your financial life takes a nosedive and you cannot pay your bill, the terms of this card indicate that you’ll have to pay the legal fees that are incurred by the issuer to collect the debt.
4. Privacy Concerns
By signing up for this card, you agree to accept collection and/or marketing calls, text messages and/or emails.
The Lowdown and Better Alternatives
If you regularly purchase fuel from Valero, Diamond Shamrock, Beacon and/or Shamrock stations, then consider getting this card. A rebate of 30 cents per gallon for the first 3 months is a great deal. After that, I recommend moving on to a better card. The fees, APRs, restrictions and other pitfalls of this card far outweigh the few potential benefits that you could get with it. In fact, I believe that this is the worst rewards card I have ever seen after the initial three months is over. After the initial three month period is over, I recommend going with either the Blue Cash Everyday from American Express or Costco Anywhere Visa. Each offers at least 2 percent cash back on gasoline purchases (4% back in the case of the Costco Visa card!) and rewards on all other purchases. This gives you a much more complete package than the Valero card or just about any other station-specific card offers. Also, each can be used at any station, not just the mentioned stations, giving you much more flexibility. While both of the mentioned cards would work fine, I recommend going with this Blue Cash Everyday card. It offers an easy-to-understand rewards system that offers high-quality rewards on gas and other purchases. If and when a station-specific card comes out that blows you away with a great offer, go with that – but this card will do just fine until that happens.
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