From my experience, almost every time I buy something at Bloomingdales they ask if I would like to apply for their credit card. I quickly say “no” but once in a while an employee will persist with the sales pitch anyway (so annoying).
I know they’re just doing their job, but what they might not realize is how the nuts and bolts of the card program works. Because if they knew how it works, I’m sure they would be more understanding of my adamant “no” answers.
They claim it’s “a beautiful deal”
Those are their words, not mine. If you pull up the Bloomingdales credit card application you will see this bullet point for the “Loyallist” rewards:
Double points sounds pretty good, right? Who doesn’t want to earn 2x the points?
Well this is kind of deceptive, because the credit card’s points are worth less than you’re probably accustomed to. The next bullet point on the list demonstrates that:
With most credit cards, redeeming 5,000 points would score you a $50 gift card. However with the Bloomingdales American Express and their store card, you only get half that… which means each point is only worth a 1/2 cent.
This means the easiest way to understand the rewards program is to ignore the number of points and instead, review how much they’re really worth:
- Purchases at Bloomingdales: 3 points per dollar = 1.5% rebate
- Cosmetics/Fragrances at Bloomingdales: 6 points per dollar = 3.0% rebate
- Purchases Elsewhere: 2 points per dollar = 1.0% rebate
In summary, most purchases at their store only earn you 1.5%. Only cosmetics and fragrances will earn you decent rewards.
Is that “a beautiful deal” like they claim? Hardly. Especially when you consider the fact that American Express has another credit card (which is not affiliated with Bloomingdales) and it gives you an impressive 3% cash back at select major department stores in the US (such as Bloomingdales).
Spending $3,500 per year at Bloomies
There are higher rewards available but they come with a catch: in order to qualify you need to spend $3,500 per year at their stores (purchases elsewhere won’t count). When you do this, then your account will upgrade to the Bloomingdales American Express Reserve card which comes with:
Of course given that the points are only worth a 1/2 each, that translates to being…
- 2% rebate at their store
- 4% rebate on their cosmetics and fragrances
- 1% elsewhere
If you truly spend a lot on cosmetics/fragrances, then I could see this being worthwhile. But the 2% at their store is still a total joke. Keep in mind there are other credit cards on the market that can earn 2% on all purchases, everywhere!
And if that $3,500 yearly spending requirement was a one-time thing, it would be a bit more intriguing. But the problem is that you have to keep spending $3,500 per year at their stores in order to keep the Bloomingdales Reserve card. If you don’t, you will be downgraded to the regular version.
Are the card’s benefits its saving grace?
For the aforementioned reasons, I can’t see why anyone would apply for a Bloomingdales card to earn those lousy rewards. So what about the benefits? Are those reason enough to apply?
Here are the benefits that come with the regular Bloomingdales Loyalist card:
- After you buy 5 pairs of women’s shoes, get the 6th pair for 25% off (on a regular priced pair)
- After you spend $100+ at any of the in-store Bloomingdale’s restaurants, you get a free entrée and non-alcoholic beverage.
- Occasional promotions for earning “Power Points” which are double and triple points.
With the Reserve card there are couple additional benefits:
- Free shipping online and in-store
- Free gift wrap
- There are more “coveted invitations, special perks and chances for bonus points”
If you ask me, these benefits are quite lacking when you compare them to their competitors. For example, Nordstrom now gives free shipping in-store and online for all purchases, even without their credit card! Yet to get that perk at Bloomies, you have to spend $3,500 per year with their card???
And what about alterations? Even the Banana Republic card comes with free alterations if you spend $800+ per year at their stores. Nordstrom does the same, without a spending requirement. So why are none of the Bloomingdal’s credit cards offering this???
Review Verdict: Much improvement is needed
Don’t get me wrong, I frequently shop at their stores so I hold nothing against them in that regard. However when it comes to their credit card, I see no good reason to apply. Simply put, they’re not being competitive at all.
You know they’re lagging when even lower end stores (like Banana Republic) and comparable department stores (like Nordstrom) give beefier benefits and rewards. Until the Bloomingdales card catches up to the competition, I will keep saying “no” to the application when they try to shove it down my throat.
So is the card a ripoff? No, it’s not. However, it’s certainly far from being a bargain.
Best alternative cards in 2016?
- AmEx Blue Cash Everyday
- Blue Cash Preferred