I’ve written about the Marathon Visa credit card before, first identifying it as the card that earns 7% rewards and later pointing out that falling gas prices are good news for Marathon cardholders.
Gas prices have fallen a lot lately and that continues to be good news to anybody who’s interested in this card. Because of the unusual way in which rewards are calculated (see here for my full explanation), your rewards increase as the price of gas decreases. In a nutshell, you can figure out your rewards by dividing your per gallon reward by the price of gas as given here.
There are three different rewards: 5 cents, 15 cents, and 25 cents per gallon. 5 cents is the default, 15 cents kicks in after $500 of Marathon spending, and 25 cents kicks in after you top $1,000 of Marathon purchases in a single billing cycle.
As of this writing, rewards are 11.7% if you spend over $1,000 at Marathon. Sounds great! And it is, although it isn’t as good as you might think. I’ll tell you why and then you can decide whether or not this card would work for you.
Marathon Credit Card Drawbacks
The first issue many of you will face is that Marathon is not a national chain. If you look here you’ll see they are primarily located in the Midwest and Southeast. So right off the bat almost everybody west of the Mississippi is excluded, as is everybody in the northeast.
The second issue is Marathon’s brands. Most Marathon stations here are branded as Kangaroo gas, and apparently there’s a Clark’s gas chain that’s part of Marathon as well. When I initially got the card, I called customer service to ask if Kangaroo purchases counted as Marathon purchases, and they told me no. But in my experience, Marathon purchases did count, so I chalked the response up to typical Comenity customer service.
But after I wrote about it, somebody emailed me to say that their purchases at Kangaroo didn’t count toward their reward calculations. And not too long ago I had an incident where a Kangaroo purchase didn’t count as a Marathon purchase… but that’s the only time it’s happened to me. So I don’t what to tell you about this other than Comenity’s gonna Comenity.
The third issue is that Comenity’s pretty good about not letting you buy prepaid Visas with a credit card, although they don’t seem to have an issue with buying, say, an Ebay gift card with a credit card.
And the final issue is that the rewards are paid out in the form of $25 Marathon gift cards. With the price of gas so low, a few of those things go a long way, and there doesn’t seem to be much resale demand for them.
So there you have it: 12% rewards on gas purchases with the Marathon credit card… if you want it.