Unless you can get one that operates over a major payment network like Visa or MasterCard, most store cards are a terrible deal.
Why? Because you can only use them one place.
However if they have a good enough of a rewards program –AND– you spend a lot on a regular basis at that retailer, then they might be worth it.So how does the card from Eddie Bauer stack up? Does this one belong in the “apply” or the “avoid” category?
How the rewards program REALLY works
When you see the application for the Eddie Bauer credit card, it sounds enticing…
“Earn 5% in Rewards for every $1 you spend”
And the Eddie Bauer Gold Card sounds even more lucrative…
“Spend $750 in a calendar year, and earn 8% in Rewards”
But before you sign on the dotted line, you need to realize it’s probably not what you think.
Eddie Bauer Friends is the name of their rewards program and you do NOT need their credit card to participate. It’s a store loyalty program, like a CVS ExtraCare and or Best Buy Rewards Zone. Anyone can signup for it and start earning points.
Those who participate in the Friends program without their credit card earn 3% on purchases. If you have their store card, you only get 2% additional (so 5% total). You’re not getting 5% additional like the marketing seems to infer.
And even if you spend $750+ per year to qualify for the “Gold” tier, you’re still only getting 2% from their credit card. The other 6% (for 8% total) comes from the Friends program, regardless of whether or not you have their card.
Is this misleading? I would say so.
In fact, I dissected the fine print from the online application and FAQs on their website and still didn’t find this explained anywhere.
It wasn’t until I called their credit card customer support phone number (at 1-800-426-8020) and waited on hold for 12 friggin’ minutes to speak to someone. Then I found out the truth. When I said it was misleading, the rep also said she “agrees” with me.
So even Eddie Bauer’s customer service agrees it’s misleading? Wow. That says a lot!
Translation: The card only earns 2% at their store
Basically what it comes down to is this: If you apply for their card to earn rewards, you’re only earning 2% extra.
That’s hardly worth it, considering these caveats:
- The Eddie Bauer store card can only be used for shopping with them. It’s good for nothing else.
- Regular credit cards from banks earn you rewards on the total purchase price. However with EB, they exclude what you pay for sales tax and shipping. Question #24 on their FAQs says this…
- The interest rate is excessive. As I write this review, it charged a ridiculous 26.99% APR. Being that it’s from Comenity Bank, I can’t say that I’m surprised.
A better idea? Get a major credit card that earns rewards worth 2% on every purchase you make, everywhere. I’m talking about the new Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard. You just can’t beat it for rewards.
This review was written or last updated February 2016