If you live in the Midwest, you know about Meijer grocery stores and the great deals they have. But if you think their credit card rewards fall under the “deal” category, think again! You need to see this review…
First of all I’d like to point out I’m actually a huge fan of this company. I grew up in Michigan and that is where they were founded. Unlike Wal-Mart and others one-stop-shops, I like the fact that Meijers has remained a private company (the 19th largest in the country).
The Meijer credit cards have now been around for years and they are usually heavily promoted at their stores. It seems like they are always peddling some promotion to get you to fill out their credit card application.
There are currently two offers for 2013…
Meijer Credit Card: This is their store-only card which is not associated with any major network (such as Visa or MasterCard) and it can only be used for purchases at their stores/gas stations. At the time of this review, the APR on this one starts at a whopping 26.99%! If you don’t have the best credit you will most likely receive this one instead of the Meijer Mastercard which I’ll talk about next…
Meijer MasterCard: This card operates on the MasterCard network so it can be used anywhere they are accepted. It’s a so called “Platinum” but this appears to be just a marketing gimmick because it doesn’t add any benefits which I would consider special. The interest rate is extremely high on this too, starting at either 19.99% or 23.99% depending on your credit at the time of this review.
The rewards program…
Of course this is probably the main thing that sparked your interest in the first place, but once you run the numbers, you will be surprised to see just how un-rewarding these cards actually is…
- 5 Cents/Gallon Rebate: At first glance, this may sound like a good deal. But remember that is 5 cents, not 5 percent. If gas was $4.00/gallon, that equals out to be a pitiful 1.25% rebate and keep in mind that’s only at Meijer gas stations. Not too impressive, is it?
- Points on Purchases (MasterCard version only): Admittedly they improved this from the 2011 program, but it’s still nothing to write home about. You only earn 1 point per dollar at Meijer and elsewhere. For every 2,000 points (so $2,000 spent) a coupon is given for 20% off groceries/health & beauty. If used strategically, this can be a good deal if used towards a very large grocery purchases. But still the big let down here is that you are only earning 1 point per dollar on spending to earn this coupon.
- “Savings events”: As is the case with most store cards, they will be incentives for credit card holders.
Verdict for 2013?
Well for starters, the store-only (non MasterCard) version doesn’t offer the points program for earning coupons. So that version I would advise against. However if you have bad credit and are trying to rebuild, then it might be worth a shot. I can’t imagine the credit score requirements are very tough for it.
When it comes to the Meijer platinum MasterCard, the points program is better than that past, but it’s far from perfect. The main drawbacks are:
- Only 1 point per dollar on spending
- 5 cents off per gallon is of little value with gas prices in the $3-4 range
- Signup bonus is dismal. It’s only 10% off first purchase. Think about it… even if you spent $1,000 that only equals a $100 discount. Many card offers give you signup bonuses of up to double that amount or more.
Is it better than in the past? Definitely. But as you see, Meijer’s still has some work to do to improve this card and make it more competitive.