Is The Sportsman’s Guide Visa card promo worth $100?

As a kid, The Sportman’s Guide catalog was what you could call regular reading material for me! Now that I live in a city, I don’t buy from them much anymore, but when I saw they now have a Visa card out, I had to see what it was all about…

The card’s issuer, WFNNB, doesn’t have the best reputation in town. They are a huge issuer/manager of retail-branded credit cards and are notorious for their not-so-good customer service. So that means the main reason you would apply for the The Sportsman’s Guide credit card is for its rewards program… is that worth it or not?

What you get…

  • No annual fee
  • Extra 2.5% discount thru the Buyer’s Club – As you probably know, the Buyer’s Club (which costs $29.99/year) gives you a 10% discount on orders (excluding ammo, which is only 5%). With the Sportman’s Guide Visa you get an extra 2.5% discount on top of those.
  • 1% cash back for purchases elsewhere – The card gives a straight 1% cash back everywhere else that Visa is accepted, without limits.
  • A high interest rate – Check out this nasty APR that was listed when I looked:
    interest rate on credit card

What you do NOT get…

  • No good signup offer – When I opened the application this was the promotion:
    signup offer for Guide Visa
    So is that worth $100? Obviously not… more like $15. Why do I ask that question? Because there are many credit card offers where you can get a $100 to $250 signup bonus. That’s why as a rule of thumb, every time you apply for a new credit card I advise asking yourself “is it worth $100?” Because that’s basically the amount you should come to expect nowadays.
  • No standout benefits – Many retail-branded cards toss in a few bells and whistles like free or discounted shipping and maybe even free alterations on clothes – the Banana Republic Visa is one such example. However with the Sportsman’s Guide Visa it’s disappointing to see that they’re not throwing in any other unique and worthwhile perks.

Is an extra 2.5% discount really worth it?

I know how easy it is to get carried away and order way too much from this catalog – they have a lot of good stuff! So on one hand, getting an extra 2.5% is nothing to sneeze at if you’re regularly placing orders with them. But let’s do the math here…

Almost any ol’ plain vanilla cash back card can earn you a 1% rebate, right? So for the purpose of these calculations, let’s subtract that from the rebate (2.5% – 1.0%) and that means you’re reaping an extra 1.5% above and beyond your standard card.

How much would you have to spend for that 1.5% to equal $100?

The answer is $6,666

Yes, the devil is in the details.

1.5% X $6,666 = $100

So you could apply for the Sportsmans Guide card and spend $6666 to earn an extra $100. Or instead, you could just apply for a $100 promotion on something like a Chase or American Express and probably get that bonus money a lot quicker. Which option makes more sense to do?

Of course as I write this, The Guide is offering the $10 rewards + $5 shipping coupon for opening a new account… combined that’s only a $15 value. If we re-do the calculations for earning $85 extra ($100 – $15 = $85) that still means you will have to spend $5,666 to earn what adds up to be $100 savings above and beyond a regular 1% credit card. What a joke!

Written or last updated for 2017.

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