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Popular department store chain Macy’s offers two credit cards for cardholders to earn rewards when they spend. We’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each card, as well as determine whether alternative cards offer better deals for qualified applicants.
As a mainstay of shopping malls, Macy’s department stores offers the best in stylish apparel, household wares, appliances, and household wares all under one room. And like many department stores and big-box retailers, Macy’s offers its loyal customers a way to earn rewards and perks with its line of retail credit cards, the Macy’s Credit Card and the Macy’s American Express Card. In this overview, we’ll cover the benefits of Macy’s line of credit cards, discuss some of the drawbacks, and consider some alternatives that may offer better rewards for savvy shoppers.
Overview | Macy’s Credit Cards
To begin, apply for Macy’s line of store-branded credit cards in-store on by filling out the online application. As you’re aware, there are the basic store-branded Macy’s card and the American Express version, both issued by Citibank. Depending on your creditworthiness and other factors, you will be issued either one. Approval can be instantaneous or the process may take 7 – 10 business days to receive your Macy’s Credit Card or Macy’s Amex card.
Macy’s Credit Card
The basic store-branded credit card from Macy’s can only be used for purchases made at Macy’s, Macys.com, and at Macy’s Backstage. Once you’ve been issued the store-branded card, you are also automatically enrolled in Macy’s “Star Rewards” program, beginning at the base level where all cardholders begin, Silver Status.
The Macy’s Card (and the Amex version) receive benefits based on the status level you’ve achieved; therefore, we’ll discuss that separately in the “Macy’s Star Rewards Program” section below. For now, just understand that the Macy’s Credit Card is limited in its usage and points-earning potential.
(Note: Macy’s allows cardholders enrolled for the basic Macy’s Credit Card to upgrade to the American Express version of the card, depending on improved creditworthiness and other factors.)
Macy’s American Express Credit Card
The Macy’s American Express credit card enables cardholders to use this card anywhere Amex is accepted and it comes with a wealth of additional benefits, which makes it a better option that just the plain store-branded credit card. Like the store-branded credit card, those who qualify for the Macy’s Amex card are also automatically enrolled in the rewards program at Silver Status.
The main distinction between the Amex Card, however, is that percentage-based rewards benefits that can be earned outside of Macy’s stores, which are then available to be used for purchases at Macy’s stores. These benefits include:
- earn 3% rewards back at restaurants
- earn 2% at gas stations and supermarkets
- earn 1% everywhere else outside of Macy’s stores
Bear in mind that restrictions do apply, so be sure to read the fine print about Macy’s credit cards to ensure that you’re earning what you deserve. And just to reiterate, even though this card can be used for purchases outside of Macy’s stores and online, your rewards are limited to the Star Rewards program, which can only be redeemed at Macy’s.
Despite that limitation, the Amex distinction comes with a number of travel benefits and access to entertainment opportunities just by using the card regularly. Some of these benefits include air travel, advance access to tickets to events before they go on sale, hotel perks, rental cars, and other vacation benefits.
Macy’s Star Rewards Program
As long as your Macy’s credit card (the basic and Amex) account remains in good standing and you’ve made regular payments, you can use your Macy’s Star Money for nearly any merchandise that Macy’s offers (with very few exceptions).
As stated before, both versions of Macy’s credit cards start at the Silver status within the Macy’s Star Rewards program. As you spend more, you progress through the rankings.
These rankings include:
- Bronze (no credit card necessary)
- Silver (where you start, up to $499 in spending
- Gold ($500-$1,199 in spending)
- Platinum ($1,200+ in spending)
Once a cardmember spends $500 and more using either Macy’s card, they will be upgraded to Gold status within 30 days.Then, once a cardholder spends more than $1,999, they will attain Platinum status within 30 days.
Macy’s has recently changed their policy regarding how their status program works (as of January 2019)–now, your purchases made in previous years (defined as “Net Qualifying Purchases”) in the previous full calendar year will be used to determine your status for the next year. This means that accounts that were previously upgraded will remain at that level for the remainder of that current calendar year, as well as carrying over to the next full calendar year. This is an important distinction among store-branded credit cards, as many retailers require constant spending to remain at their current status levels.
Ok, now that you understand what’s involved with earning status, what are the perks of each? Essentially, every time you earn a new status level, more benefits are available for cardholders:
Basic benefits for Silver, Gold, & Platinum status:
- Star Money Days (earn points towards Star Money)
- 25% OFF (any one day you choose)
- Perks & offers, including member-only event invites, extra savings, promotions, and more
- Birthday surprise gift
- New account discount
Attaining Gold Status adds the above benefits, plus:
- Free shipping (no minimum purchase required)
Attaining Platinum Status adds the Silver and Gold benefits, plus:
- 5% back EVERY DAY (no merchandise exclusions)
At certain times throughout the year, Macy’s will host Star Money Days in addition of storewide sales, enabling cardholders to stack discounts and increase their ability to earn even more rewards.
However, there is a significant limitations to these status levels. The most important thing to bear in mind is that Silver and Gold status cardholders earn points (referred to as Star Money) on everyday Macy’s purchases. Instead, they can only earn points on Star Money Days, which are special events throughout the years were you can earn points. Shop on non-Star Money Days, and you don’t earn any points to use towards Macy’s purchase.
However, what makes the Platinum status so rewarding is how cardholders can earn points every day, including Star Money Days and non-Star Money days. This is an important distinction, as you have to plan your shopping accordingly until you reach Platinum status. Furthermore, Platinum members earn earn extra bonus points on top of their 5% everyday benefit, which can quickly lead to enhanced savings on Macy’s purchases.
As with every retailer-based rewards program, exceptions apply. Therefore, to really be aware of certain restrictions, the Star Money Days calendar, and more, visit Macy’s resource for Star Money details.
How Star Rewards Work
As you can see, the Star Rewards program can be a bit complicated to navigate. However, the points you earn on eligible purchase earns you Star Money points. Essentially, earning 1,000 points = $10 Star Money. Rewards are earned in $10 increments…so if you’ve collected multiple rewards, you could certainly have more than $10 to spend!
Whether you are making a purchase at Macy’s locations or online, the process of using your Star Rewards is simple: after entering your payment information, you can apply any available Star Money funds from the payment screen, which makes redeeming Star Money like a gift card.
Once you’ve earned enough points to get a reward, you will be notified by email. If you reach the 1,000-point threshold while shopping at Macy’s in store, your receipt will provide you with a notice for that purchase. For online shopper, your reward points will not be awarded until your item(s) are shipped.
Be very aware of your points, however, as they may expire. As stated in the fine print, your Star Money is valid for 30 days from the date of issue. For those that want to actively monitor their rewards, you can view them on you account’s wallet at Macys.com.
Note: Because of the low points-earning potential of Silver or Gold members, if you don’t earn enough points (or only earn enough for one award but don’t reach the next rewards tier), don’t worry about losing your rewards: the remaining points you’ve earned from the current Star Money Day event will carry over to the next Star Money Day event.
|Macy’s Credit Card||Macy’s American Express Credit Card|
|Cash Back Benefits||Earn points during Star Money days (for Silver and Gold status members)|
5x points every day (for Platinum members only)
|Earn points during Star Money days (for Silver and Gold Status members)|
Earn 5x points every day (for Platinum members only)
3x points at restaurants
2x points at gas stations and supermarkets
1x points everywhere else outside of Macy’s stores
|Average FICO Score to Qualify||620 and above||700 and above|
The Drawbacks of Macy’s Credit Cards
While both the Macy’s Credit Card and the Macy’s American Express Card come with some great ways to earn rewards, there are some notable drawbacks:
- The first significant drawback to Macy’s credit cards is that they come with a high APR. This means that cardholders that regularly carry a balance can rack up fees and penalties until the balance is paid in full.
- Another drawback that affects those that regularly travel is that the Macy’s American Express Card comes with a 3% foreign transaction fees. Considering that most credit cards don’t charge foreign transaction fees, you may want to look elsewhere for credit cards that add this perk as a freebie.
- Last, the rewards program has a few limitations that may make you consider it. First, with you haven’t attained Platinum status in the Star Rewards program, you won’t be able to earn points outside of Star Money Days. Also, once you accumulate points, you should know that they can only be used at Macy’s–which limits where you can spend (unless you’re Macy’s devotee), even in the case of the 3-2-1 earnings program for the Macy’s American Express Card.
How Macy’s Credit Card Compare to Alternative Programs
Before applying for Macy’s’s credit cards you should explore all-purpose cards that will offer more spending flexibility and favorable rewards programs. Three we recommend are:
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards
Quicksilver Cash Rewards card from Capital One is very appealing as it offers 1.5% cashback on all purchases. You do not have category restrictions or limits on the points you can accumulate. If you have a good credit score then you could qualify for this card and receive a one-time welcome bonus of $150 once you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account.
Macy’s credit cards do not offer any bonus or introductory APR, whereas with Quicksilver you can apply for the introductory APR offer. Presently, the card offers a 0% APR for 15 months after which variable APR rates are applied on purchases and balance transfers.
The AMEX version of Macy’s credit card can be used outside of Macy’s but when used abroad there is a foreign transaction fee. Quicksilver does not have a foreign transaction fee for purchases made outside of the US.
You can get tickets to concerts, events, sports games and premier culinary experience using your Capital One Quicksilver card. Here is a link to view the upcoming events schedules
You don’t miss out on travel benefits either as you can avail concierge service, 24 hours travel assistance service, and you have travel accident insurance coverage too.
HSBC Cash Rewards MasterCard
If you’re looking for a card that can earn you lots of cashback irrespective of the category you are spending then HSBC Cash Rewards may be worth your time. All your purchases will earn 1.5% cash back. You can encash your points as credits or gift card or book a trip using them. In addition, there are no tiered benefits that require monitoring.
Not only do you receive rewards on spending but you can earn cash back at a higher value as part of the welcome offer. You can get a 3% cash back on all your purchases within the first 12 months of account opening, up to the first $10,000 in purchases. On your card anniversary, you get a 10% bonus on all cash rewards that are earned that year.
There is no annual fee for this card, no foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad and no fee for an additional cardholder. Availability of 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers is an added bonus. There are conditions applicable to receive these terms which we suggest reviewing before enrolling.
If you love shopping then Macy’s card may seem inviting however you would also find the shopping benefits that come with HSBC Cash Rewards card attractive as they offer 60 days of price protection, 120 days of purchase protection and one additional year of extended warranty.
The option to plan a trip through Master Assist is available on this card, you also have lost luggage, travel accident insurance and roadside assistance travel benefits.
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa card
Wells Fargo Cash Wise is a card that would be convenient to use in case of varied spending. It offers a flat cash back of 1.5% and there is no annual fee charge. On applying for this card you may get $150 in cash rewards when you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months.
If you are using certain mobile wallets such as Google Pay or Apple Pay to make purchases then you could earn cash back at 1.8% in the first 12 months.
Most of us have our cell phones with us at all times so cell phone protection offered by this card is desirable as the phone is protected against damage or theft. If you pay your monthly phone bill using Wells Fargo Cash Wise card then you can get up to $600 in cell phone coverage(less $25 deductible). As part of travel benefits, you receive travel and emergency assistance services, auto rental collision damage waiver ,and travel accident insurance. To apply for this card a good credit score is required.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are some strong perks to using both the Macy’s Credit card and Macy’s American Express Credit card once you understand how the program works. The best rewards are given for Macy’s shoppers if you can reach Platinum Star Rewards Status. However, considering the drawbacks–high APR, foreign transaction fees, and the limited spending in Macy’s location for the rewards program–qualified applicant should shop around and invest in stronger alternatives available to have the widest options and better rewards perks overall.