Reviews Macy’s American Express card review
Macy’s American Express card review

Macy’s American Express card review

Published: June 14, 2017
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Retail Rating:
3 rating
3 rating
3 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.8
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.1
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 4.0

In a nutshell:

Savvy shoppers who never miss a Macy’s One-Day Sale have the potential to win big with the department store’s co-branded American Express card, but an unsurprisingly high APR means less disciplined cardholders could find themselves in trouble when carrying a balance from month to month.

Rewards Rate

  • 2:1 gas stations and supermarkets
  • 1:1 other purchases

Sign-up Offer

20% discount for first two days account is activated (savings up to $100)

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Savings ($1,325 monthly spend)
$212

APR
25.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption

Pros

  • Link card to Plenti rewards to earn and use points at other retailers, including AT&T, Exxon, Mobil, Chili’s, Rite Aid and more
  • Redeem points as immediate discount at register once you collect 200
  • Can stack Plenti points with other offers

Cons

  • Points expire on Dec. 31 of the year they reach 2 years of age
  • No rewards options outside of Macy’s and other Plenti retailers
  • 20% sign-up discount only applies to immediate approval (applications requiring further processing do not qualify)

Other Notable Features: Macy’s star pass mailings 3-12 times per year depending on loyalty level, Thanks for Sharing access ($25 enrollment fee required), surprise savings at the register, birthday offers for Elite and Premier Elite members, free shipping 4 times/year for Premier Elite members, priority customer service for Premier Elite members, EMV chip technology

Though the Macy’s American Express credit card offers some flexibility when it comes to earning and redeeming rewards, its actual rewards rate leaves something to be desired compared to other cards in the retail category. However, the potential to earn additional points with Plenti rewards, stack those points with other offers and redeem them at Macy’s and other retailers makes the card a bit more enticing to both frequent and casual visitors of the chain.

But when you factor in a high APR and limited-time-only sign-up bonus, the overall appeal of the Macy’s American Express card is middling at best.

Plenti rewards
The free-to-join Plenti rewards program gives you the opportunity to earn and use additional points at Macy’s and elsewhere, including AT&T, Exxon, Mobil, Chili’s, Rite Aid and more. Here’s how it works: Plenti customers who link their Plenti account to their American Express card and then make a qualifying Macy’s purchase, pay with their Macy’s American Express card and show their Plenti rewards card at checkout will receive 1 Plenti point per dollar. (If you use another form of payment, you’ll only get 1 Plenti point per $10.)

You’ll also score 2 points for every dollar spent at supermarkets and gas stations and 1 Plenti point for every dollar spent at other locations outside Macy’s, and you can earn additional points on the same transaction from other participating Plenti partners. 

Tight window on sign-up bonus
While the Macy’s American Express card offers a generous sign-up bonus of 20 percent off, the discount is limited to the first two days after your account is activated, which means you’ll need to head straight to your local Macy’s store or online to save up to $100 on new purchases. Unfortunately, the discount only applies to immediate approval: If your application requires further processing (the issuer needs to verify your identity or income, for example) you won’t qualify for the sign-up offer.

No annual fee
Most store-branded cards offer no annual fee, but oftentimes cardholders don’t realize the card itself is tied to some type of membership program that comes at an added cost (see: Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card). That’s not the case for the Macy’s American Express card – the Plenti rewards program is free to join with or without the card, so you won’t have to worry about such fees decreasing the value of your hard-earned rewards.

American Express benefits
While the exact suite of benefits that come with American Express cards varies, basic perks usually include things such as purchase and return protection, extended warranty, dispute resolution services, roadside assistance, travel accident insurance, baggage insurance and more. Be sure to reference the Macy’s American Express card benefits guide for more specific details.

Why get it:

  • You frequently shop at Macy’s.
  • You’re already a member of the Plenti rewards program.
  • You prefer merchandise discounts over other types of rewards.
  • You want a store-branded card with added benefits such as purchase and return protection, extended warranty, roadside assistance, travel accident insurance and more.
  • You don’t plan to carry a balance from month to month. 

How to use it:

  • Use the card in the first two days after activation to take advantage of 20 percent savings.
  • Carry your Plenti rewards card wherever you go to earn points on all eligible purchases.
  • Any points at least two years old will expire on Dec. 31 of each year. Be sure to redeem them before then.
  • Avoid carrying a balance on this card – with an APR of 25.99 percent, interest charges could quickly add up depending on your spending habits.

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