Signing up with one of the best rewards programs can save you money – and combining a top store rewards program with one of the best rewards credit cards can save you even more.
There are a lot of store rewards programs out there, tempting shoppers with the possibility of earning coupons, discounts and more every time they shop. But which stores with rewards programs actually have rewards worth earning?
Many retail loyalty programs offer minimal value, but there are some diamonds in the rough – and if you want to get the most out of your memberships, you need to know which store rewards programs offer the biggest value.
That’s where we can help. Start with our list of the best loyalty programs from major retailers and keep reading to learn how to pair your store rewards program with a top retail credit card.
Best loyalty programs from major retailers
There are a lot of stores with rewards programs out there – but how do you find the stores with the best rewards programs? We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular retail loyalty programs out there and selected seven store rewards programs for you to consider.
If you’re one of the many people who goes into Target for a single item and comes out with a shopping cart full of purchases, it’s probably time for you to join Target Circle. All you have to do is create a Target.com account, and you can start earning 1% back on your Target shopping sprees.
Redeem your Target Circle rewards on future Target purchases, and use your access to exclusive deals and customized offers to save even more.
People who regularly shop at Kohl’s know the value of Kohl’s Cash promotions – but if you want to earn even more Kohl’s Cash, you need to sign up for Kohl’s Rewards. Members earn 5% on every Kohl’s purchase, every day (not just during a Kohl’s Cash earning period).
At the beginning of every month, your Kohl’s Rewards are converted into Kohl’s Cash – and you have 30 days to spend your cash on anything Kohl’s has to offer, with no brand exclusions.
Barnes & Noble
Avid readers who love to browse bookstores can save a lot of money with a Barnes & Noble Membership – not only will you get 10% off anything you purchase in a B&N store (including magazines and cafe items), but you’ll also earn 40% off hardcover bestsellers purchased in store. Prefer to shop online? Your membership comes with free shipping, plus exclusive sale offers that can be redeemed online or in-store.
Bed Bath & Beyond
Bed Bath & Beyond’s store loyalty program isn’t free – but for $29 per year, Beyond+ members can save 20% off their entire purchase every time they shop, plus free standard shipping.
This means that if you spend more than $145 at BB&B in a single year, your membership essentially pays for itself – and that’s before you add up all the free shipping. Beyond+ members can also take advantage of 50% off Decorist design services, plus other exclusive offers and member shopping events.
Want free shipping and rewards without an annual fee? Try a free My Best Buy membership. You’ll get free shipping on purchases of $35 and up, plus early access to sales, exclusive deals and more.
My Best Buy members also earn 0.5 rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible Best Buy purchases, and your rewards increase to 2.5 points per $1 when you pay with the My Best Buy® Credit Card. If you become an Elite or Elite Plus member, you can earn even more points per dollar and get even better shipping and delivery options. Once you’ve earned 250 rewards points, you’ll receive a $5 Best Buy reward certificate.
There are a lot of clothing stores with rewards programs, and many of them offer their biggest rewards to people who use their store credit card to make purchases. Nordstrom’s Nordy Club rewards is a prime example of this model. Regular Nordy Club members can earn 1 point per $1 spent at Nordstrom – but people who shop with the Nordstrom debit or credit card can earn 2 and 3 points per dollar, respectively.
Once you’ve earned 2,000 points, you’ll receive a $20 Nordstrom Note that can be redeemed at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, HauteLook or Nordstrom Trunk Club. As with all of the best rewards programs, Nordy Club members also get access to exclusive offers not available to the general public.
JCPenney is another clothing store with a rewards program that gives store card holders even more rewards. Regular JCPenney Rewards members earn 1 point for every $2 they spend at JCPenney, up to the point maximum ($2,000); members with a JCPenney credit card earn 1 point per $1. Once you’ve earned 200 points, you’ll receive a $10 reward certificate that can be redeemed in-store or online – and you can use JCPenney’s bonus earning events to get your rewards certificates even faster.
Best cards to pair with store rewards programs
Signing up with one of the best rewards programs can save you money, and combining a top store rewards program with one of the best rewards credit cards can save you even more.
If you combine a Target Circle membership with a Target REDCard™, for example, you can save 5% on your Target shopping instead of earning 1% in Target Circle rewards (though it’s worth noting that you can save 5% on Target purchases with your Target REDCard even if you don’t have a Target Circle membership).
If you have an Amazon Prime membership, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card* can get you 5% cash back on both Amazon and Whole Foods Market purchases.
That said, signing up for a store credit card isn’t always a good idea. Not only do store cards typically only reward purchases made at a single retailer, but they often have APRs that are significantly higher than the national average. A recent CreditCards.com retail store card survey revealed that the average APR for a retail credit card hovers around 24.43%, while the average APR for a non-retail card is only 19.69%.
This is why you might want to consider a credit card that rewards retail spending rather than a card that rewards a specific retailer. Here are three of our favorites:
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express earns 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then it’s 1%), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Plus, you can earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
This makes the Blue Cash Everyday Card an excellent choice for people who do a lot of shopping at supermarkets, gas stations, and department stores.
Discover it® Cash Back
The Discover it® Cash Back card earns 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories (for up to $1,500 in combined category purchases per quarter, after activation, then 1%) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
In 2021, Discover’s 5% cash back calendar includes Walgreens, CVS, Walmart.com, Amazon.com and Target.com, making the Discover it Cash Back card an excellent choice if you’re looking for a credit card that rewards retail spending.
Plus, new cardholders get the benefit of Discover’s Cashback Match: At the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover will match all of the cash back you’ve earned.
Citi® Double Cash Card
The Citi® Double Cash Card doesn’t reward any specific retailers, but it does give cardholders an unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases – plus the opportunity to earn an additional 1% cash back as you pay those purchases off.
This makes the Citi Double Cash Card a smart choice for people who want to earn cash back rewards and have an incentive to pay off their balances as quickly as possible. If you’re trying to get your shopping done while sticking to a budget, the Citi Double Cash Card can motivate you to only spend what you can afford. After all, you won’t earn that extra 1% cash back until you pay off your credit card bills!
Should you join a retail rewards program ahead of the holiday season?
The holiday season often prompts us to do a little more retail spending than usual. Can a retail rewards program help you save money over the holidays? Sure – as long as you don’t use those rewards as an excuse to spend more money than you can afford.
While the best rewards programs can help you earn points, store credits and more, you shouldn’t let the lure of future discounts convince you to spend more money in the present, especially if the presents you want to purchase would put you over your holiday shopping budget.
The same goes for retail credit cards. There are both pros and cons to using a store credit card for your holiday shopping, and one of the biggest cons is finding yourself in credit card debt at the end of the holiday season.
As long as you don’t use retail rewards as an excuse to overspend, signing up for one of the best rewards programs could be a smart holiday shopping move.
*Information about the Amazon Prime Visa has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the card issuer.